Comparison Review: BMW 528i xDrive vs. Lexus GS 350 AWD

Posted on 06. May, 2012 by in Auto News

With every revision since 1990 BMWs become more like Lexus. Meanwhile, Lexus (some of them, anyway) are more like BMWs. With the latest iterations have the 5-Series and GS met somewhere in a confused, or not each retain their own identity?

With the latest, "F10" 5-Series, BMW softened the car lines that return at least halfway to the clean look of the E39. There is nothing for people off, but not much to turn it on, either. I personally prefer the streamlined, sporty appearance of the E60, despite its aesthetic excesses.

The first Lexus GS was designed by Giugiaro to be a Jaguar. But Jaguar did not want it, and Lexus. The second of the more aggressive appearance was clearly an in-house effort. Both the third and latest generation of the car Lexus has a new, distinctive design language ("L-finesse" and "Waku Doki") claims, but everyone has it, like the second, appeared vaguely German. Viewed from the side trim in luxury, the 2013 GS 350 looks like a pudgier F10 5-Series, himself a pudgier E39. Medium red flatters not the car.

Opt for the F-Sport (with a more aggressive fascia and gray 19-inch wheels), in silver, and the new GS looks much better.

Inside me, the cars differently. Although BMW interiors have become artistically over the years, her mood is more businesslike, even severe. The GS inside looks and feels softer and more conventional luxury. An odd touch: a partially upholstered (in insufficiently convincing vinyl) dashboard has padding in the areas furthest from the passengers on. Done right, a padded dashboard is an interior up a notch or two. This is not done properly.

Made much more important and true: the highly adjustable seats are included in both the F-sport and luxury packages far better than the smaller, oddly shaped front buckets in the previous GS. They are also both more comfort and support than in the BMW. The four-step approach Lexus lumbar adjusters, with independent upper and lower adjustment, produces a better condition than a single protrusion, which can be moved vertically. No longer offered in the BMW, but the delivery of these seats in the Lexus: electrically adjustable side bolsters. They sit a little higher in terms of the instrument and door panels in the Lexus than BMW. Both have a spacious and comfortable rear than their predecessors, making the LS and 7-Series less necessary. Not as comfortable in the Lexus: a large bulge under the driver's seat right calf (the AWD transfer case system to accommodate). A folding rear seat to expand around the trunk is in the BMW, but not in the Lexus.

BMW has to refine its iDrive control system and the latest iteration easier navigation provides little challenge. The Lexus' Remote Touch "system, with a mouse-like force feedback controller, while niftier has a steeper learning curve. Theoretically, with more flexibility should you where you want faster, but in practice this is too often not the case. Specify shortens firmer feedback, but not eliminated, the number of selections induced by unintentional road bumps. Even then, navigating in two dimensions (in comparison to the one-dimensional lists in BMW) requires more conscious thought and manual precision. Both systems employ a large screen can display two screens at once, but that in the Lexus is a few inches taller. Unfortunately, BMW also felt the need to reinvent the shifter again. The Lexus conventional lever feels better and is easier to use.

For 2013, Lexus has only one non-hybrid engine in the GS, a normally aspirated 306-hp 3.5-liter V6. The 2012 BMW offers three turbo engines with four, six and eight cylinders and 240, 300 and 400 hp, respectively. During the six might seem the best match with the Lexus, may be a case for the tested four-banger made. At low speeds, it is about as strong as the 3.5 and the 528i's price is much closer to the Japanese automaker.

Before proceeding with the 528i, I wondered whether a four-cylinder up to the task, a two-ton sedan motivate in a way worthy of the "Ultimate Driving Machine" label was. Now, that power is not a problem if you need to push an especially energetic in the lower back. The four stands up to any legal speed almost as fast as the previous six. Character might be more of a stumbling block. The 2.0-liter engine is not nearly as smooth idle sounds than six and at low speeds, surprisingly like a diesel. The effect of the automatic start / stop system sends a mild shudder through the car. Add to make it worse, tends the eight-speed automatic engine unless in sport mode haul. But select Sport mode and the transmission holds a lower gear, even when cruising, greatly affect fuel consumption. At higher speeds, and with a heavy foot, the four sounds a lot better, but not quite in character for a luxury car.

The Lexus engine delivers its power differently. While I would not call it "torqueless", it's not a head-snapper on the line. But cross 4,000 rpm and power jumps dramatically (in a style reminiscent of Honda's high-VTEC engines). At the same point, the motor acoustic output even louder and fuller, with a complementary character deliberately similar to that of the IS-F. Credit (or blame) a "sound symposer", a tube, that the channels. Intake sound of the engine to the cabin Some may find this sound overly massaged, but I personally enjoy the lively sound and feel of the Lexus motor more than the increase of the German mills.

While Lexus has an eight-speed automatic on some models, the 2013 retains the old six-speed. Between this and the larger engine, not the GS 350 AWD EPA ratings (19 city, 26 highway) does not approach those of the 528i xDrive (22/32). S in casual driving with the engine warmed up, the onboard computer about 22 in the Lexus and reported about 25 in the BMW. Take even more aggressive, and the difference between the two narrowed slightly, falling with the Lexus in the high teens and the BMW fell to just under 20 Expanded use all possibilities "Eco Pro" mode in the BMW, which results in a Prius-like throttle response, and the gap. I watched an average as high as 30 in the BMW (compared to a high of 25 in the Lexus). But I have also observed an actual Prius hatchback then pass me. The GS also has an "Eco" setting, but its effect is much less dramatic.

Even with the optional Sport Package, the flaps to "sport" of the new 528i feels a little soft and sloppy. There are some swimmers for dips and bumps, and a surprising (if still modest) amount of lean alternately. Mild understeer