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Old 05-01-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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Two rather different cars really. The IS is more of a competitor against the 3-series, ATS, Infiniti G and Audi A4. On the other hand the TSX is more of a competitor with the Buick Regal, Volvo S40, Honda's own Accord and on the upper end of the TSX range, the Acura TL.

Which I would recommend really comes down to what you want out of the car. If you're looking for something for regular transportation, but want something a little more premium than mainstream, then the TSX. If you want something a little more interesting to occasionally push around while driving, then the IS.

Personally, I think the TSX is a better car in its class than the IS is in its. The TSX is a compelling package for many reasons and I think it's the best car Acura makes, especially with the V6, though the I4 is still a nice engine. I think the base TSX is "best in class" when looking at the other base models it competes with. On the upperend with the V6, I think it is once again, "best in class", but in the middle of the price range, I think the Regal is a better option and the Regal GS is a better all around performer if you are so inclined.

The IS is just not a compelling total package when placed next to its main competitors. The new 2014, which you will have to wait a few more months for, is a better overall car than the current model, but still just not as good as the competition. The BMW 3-series, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti G and Audi A4 do everything the IS does better and more. From the base model through the totally optioned out 350 AWD, there are simply better options from the other manufacturers.

So, between the two, I would take the TSX. If you are after a regular, but slightly more premium driving experience, than the TSX is still a great option. If you were considering the IS because you wanted something a little more fun and engaging, there are simply better options out there. If looking for a RWD model, check out the 3-series and ATS. If going AWD, look at the Audi A4.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:52 AM
 
Location: White House, TN
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The TSX and 3 series compete quite well in my opinion, especially the smaller engine 3 series variants. I've been in both. The current TSX is more modern, but both cars feel very refined. The IS seems old and clunky compared to the TSX (and even the E90 3 series for that matter). Heck, other than in speed, my old 2008 Honda Accord EX-L with a 4 cylinder had it beat on nearly everything. (My next car is likely to be a 2011 Accord V6, loaded - the IS would run, hide in a corner, and cry upon the sight of that). The IS range is largely priced to compete with the Acura TL, where it absolutely gets clobbered.

In my opinion, the IS never was a very competitive car. It debuted against the (2004-2008) Acura TL, a better car. The BMW 3 series E90, a design even better than said TL, debuted months before this IS. Audi's A4 was dated, but still edged out the IS. The 2007 Infiniti G and the 2008 Cadillac CTS, which were out within two years of this IS launching, also blew the IS out of the water.

But yet the IS holds its resale value so well. I feel like the "L" on the front helps it.

Oh, and on safety:

IS - IIHS-HLDI: Lexus IS 250/350

TL - IIHS-HLDI: Acura TL

TSX - IIHS-HLDI: Acura TSX

The TSX is safer than the IS by quite a shot. The TL... you'd walk away. Oh, and the TSX puts you behind a MUCH nicer driver airbag:



is vs tsx airbag | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

(Keep in mind that the dummy in the TSX is about four inches closer to where the airbag deploys from)
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:22 PM
 
Location: SoCal
1,528 posts, read 4,237,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Two rather different cars really. The IS is more of a competitor against the 3-series, ATS, Infiniti G and Audi A4. On the other hand the TSX is more of a competitor with the Buick Regal, Volvo S40, Honda's own Accord and on the upper end of the TSX range, the Acura TL.

Which I would recommend really comes down to what you want out of the car. If you're looking for something for regular transportation, but want something a little more premium than mainstream, then the TSX. If you want something a little more interesting to occasionally push around while driving, then the IS.

Personally, I think the TSX is a better car in its class than the IS is in its. The TSX is a compelling package for many reasons and I think it's the best car Acura makes, especially with the V6, though the I4 is still a nice engine. I think the base TSX is "best in class" when looking at the other base models it competes with. On the upperend with the V6, I think it is once again, "best in class", but in the middle of the price range, I think the Regal is a better option and the Regal GS is a better all around performer if you are so inclined.

The IS is just not a compelling total package when placed next to its main competitors. The new 2014, which you will have to wait a few more months for, is a better overall car than the current model, but still just not as good as the competition. The BMW 3-series, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti G and Audi A4 do everything the IS does better and more. From the base model through the totally optioned out 350 AWD, there are simply better options from the other manufacturers.

So, between the two, I would take the TSX. If you are after a regular, but slightly more premium driving experience, than the TSX is still a great option. If you were considering the IS because you wanted something a little more fun and engaging, there are simply better options out there. If looking for a RWD model, check out the 3-series and ATS. If going AWD, look at the Audi A4.
That's funny you say that. According to the most recent comparison the IS350 took out the rivals.

Forget about the A4 as that's an ancient dinosaur.

Car & Driver Comparison: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT vs. BMW 335i M SPORT vs Cadillac ATS 3.6 | Lexus Enthusiast
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:31 AM
 
Location: White House, TN
6,486 posts, read 6,197,147 times
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This would be a no brainer even if the TSX and IS of similar vintage were the same price. The TSX is just that much better. The IS 250 routinely sells for more on the used market, therefore, consider the money saved on the TSX to be an added bonus. Or you could use it to step up to a TL, another awesome car.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:21 AM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,735,454 times
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Originally Posted by yowps3 View Post
That's funny you say that. According to the most recent comparison the IS350 took out the rivals.

Forget about the A4 as that's an ancient dinosaur.

Car & Driver Comparison: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT vs. BMW 335i M SPORT vs Cadillac ATS 3.6 | Lexus Enthusiast
Well, let's put a couple things in perspective with that comparo...

1. You can't buy a 2014 IS for another couple months at least.

2. The 2014 is a vastly improved car over the current IS, which is what the OP is looking at buying.

3. The comparo was looking at ranking the absolute top trim of each car. All that tells us is that the IS350 F-sport is competitive with the top end 335i and ATS. On that note, which is "better" largely comes down to preference. The ATS took third because it had a 6-speed auto and the editors hate CUE; in the same breath they also say it has the best chassis and driving dynamics and is the one where the driver feels "most connected to the driving experience" (we are comparing sport sedans aren't we?). The BMW had the best engine, but was panned for having poor steering feel and what they view as a "sloppy" suspension. The best praise they offer for the Lexus is that it has really comfortable seats, heck they dedicate two paragraphs to them. What ultimately won them over is that the Lexus was best at having a split personality. It was typical Lexus when cruising, but was actually fun to drive when you pushed it. Just look at the scoring and you will see where the Lexus "won". Actual drivers, especially those who like real sport sedans will probably rank these differently, take a look at the actual stats and not just what they wrote.

4. What if we aren't buying the $50k copies of each of these though, then what is the ranking like. The OP is talking about an IS250 AWD. So, let's take C&D at their word that the full-on IS350 F-sport is as good as the other two, what about the lower trim models where most people shop?

I'll still standby my statement that the 3-series, ATS, Infiniti G and yes, the A4 are better options than the IS depending on what trim level you are looking at and what you want out of the car.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: SoCal
1,528 posts, read 4,237,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Well, let's put a couple things in perspective with that comparo...

1. You can't buy a 2014 IS for another couple months at least.

2. The 2014 is a vastly improved car over the current IS, which is what the OP is looking at buying.

3. The comparo was looking at ranking the absolute top trim of each car. All that tells us is that the IS350 F-sport is competitive with the top end 335i and ATS. On that note, which is "better" largely comes down to preference. The ATS took third because it had a 6-speed auto and the editors hate CUE; in the same breath they also say it has the best chassis and driving dynamics and is the one where the driver feels "most connected to the driving experience" (we are comparing sport sedans aren't we?). The BMW had the best engine, but was panned for having poor steering feel and what they view as a "sloppy" suspension. The best praise they offer for the Lexus is that it has really comfortable seats, heck they dedicate two paragraphs to them. What ultimately won them over is that the Lexus was best at having a split personality. It was typical Lexus when cruising, but was actually fun to drive when you pushed it. Just look at the scoring and you will see where the Lexus "won". Actual drivers, especially those who like real sport sedans will probably rank these differently, take a look at the actual stats and not just what they wrote.

4. What if we aren't buying the $50k copies of each of these though, then what is the ranking like. The OP is talking about an IS250 AWD. So, let's take C&D at their word that the full-on IS350 F-sport is as good as the other two, what about the lower trim models where most people shop?

I'll still standby my statement that the 3-series, ATS, Infiniti G and yes, the A4 are better options than the IS depending on what trim level you are looking at and what you want out of the car.
Drive the IS350 then talk

What's so special about the ATS? The interior is ugly, exterior ugly, engine isn't as good, its slower and guzzles more gas. And it's a stiff ride. Look at the IS350 it scored first at the slalom. That just shows how good and balanced it is.

The only reason for its crappy lateral accelerations results was due to the rubbish tyres!
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:23 AM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,735,454 times
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Originally Posted by yowps3 View Post
Drive the IS350 then talk

What's so special about the ATS? The interior is ugly, exterior ugly, engine isn't as good, its slower and guzzles more gas. And it's a stiff ride. Look at the IS350 it scored first at the slalom. That just shows how good and balanced it is.

The only reason for its crappy lateral accelerations results was due to the rubbish tyres!
I'm going to guess you have driven a 2014 IS350? I've driven the current 3-series, ATS and IS in multiple trims and the current car is frankly crap compared to the others in the class. Good job Lexus if they improved it that much, but looking at other reviews and articles, it's not a "razor sharp" sport sedan in the traditional mold of a sport sedan. Whether I would recommend one comes down to what the person wants to accomplish. Me, I like my sport sedans to be sporty. If the "good things" about the Lexus are that it has comfy seats and is more composed on the highway, then that's not saying much.

If you think the ATS sucks, then you obviously have never driven one. It's one of the most connected sports sedans on the road. Let's see, among your various critiques and those of C&D we have opinion on the interior and exterior being "ugly". Frankly, I find it appealing and my only complaint on the interior, is that some of the control layouts could be better. There is nothing wrong at all with the engine and it outgunned the Lexus in several "real world" scenarios and was a tick slower in the quarter mile. The issue is more with the 6-speed transmission versus the 8-speeds in the other cars. Give the ATS an 8-speed (which it will be getting) and it would outgun the Lexus owing to its better power to weight ratio. Same story on the "gas guzzling", though when looking for a sport sedan, MPG is generally not high on my list.

As for the "stiff ride", maybe that's why it has hands down the best handling and most dynamic chassis in the class. The Lexus did as good as it did in the slalom, do to better steering turn-in as they overboost initial steering turn. I personally prefer more weighted and linear steering. The ATS does that well, not so much in the BMW. Even then it beat the ATS by .6 mph, while being down a full .6g's on the lateral. I notice how you left braking performance off the list, funny they didn't mention that at all in the article, when that is a hallmark trait of sports sedans. The ATS out-braked the IS by 14 feet from 70mph. The IS brakes worse than a Camry. Sure we could blame that all on the tire selection, but what does it say when you don't even get a decent set of all-season performance tires on the top gun IS 350 F-sport?

There were only two sports sedans in the comparo, the ATS and the 3-series. The IS is a luxury car with a sport suspension. Let's see what happens when you take off the F-sport package or opt for the IS 250 against the midrange BMW or ATS...it's not going to be pretty for Lexus.

ETA...

Not every car in that class is the same because buyers look for different things. The best way to describe the comparisons are like this...

Sports sedan with "luxury features" - ATS, G-class and 3-series.

Somewhere in the middle...A4

Luxury sedan with "sports suspension" - IS and C-class.

It all comes down to what one prefers and what they are trying to accomplish. When I hear "sports sedan" I don't think of the IS and C-class, because I am looking more for "sport" then I am "highway composure" and heavily padded seats.

Last edited by NJGOAT; 05-03-2013 at 10:08 AM..
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:46 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,359 posts, read 7,540,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
There were only two sports sedans in the comparo, the ATS and the 3-series. The IS is a luxury car with a sport suspension. Let's see what happens when you take off the F-sport package or opt for the IS 250 against the midrange BMW or ATS...it's not going to be pretty for Lexus.
A couple of quick points. The IS 250, at least the current one, is an entry level model so the accurate comparison would be to the base ATS, which has gotten lousy reviews, right? The BMW comparison is tough since the new 320i is cheaper by a couple thousand and the 328i is more expensive by about 4. That is based on rough selling prices of base models.

There are a lot of BMW drivers who will not be happy with anything but a BMW. Cadillac will love for BMW buyers to cross shop Cadillac but I am not sure if this is going to happen in spite of generally positive reviews for the ATS. Some people just want a relatively sporty Lexus due to their reliability and resale and aren't interested in a 3 series even if that is the model that they are supposed to cross shop.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:03 AM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,735,454 times
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Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
A couple of quick points. The IS 250, at least the current one, is an entry level model so the accurate comparison would be to the base ATS, which has gotten lousy reviews, right? The BMW comparison is tough since the new 320i is cheaper by a couple thousand and the 328i is more expensive by about 4. That is based on rough selling prices of base models.
It depends on which ATS we are talking about. The one that has gotten lousy reviews is the base model with the 2.5 I4. It still gets very high marks on chassis dynamics, but that engine isn't exactly the best match for the car. That ATS starts at $33,990. The 2.0T model, which has gotten the most praise of any of the ATS line starts at $35,795. The base IS250 RWD starts at $35,065. So, the "apples-to-apples" is the 2.0T ATS vs. the IS250. In that comparison the IS250 is handily outclassed. The 320i starts at $32,550 and the 328i starts at $36,850. I would take the 320i over the ATS 2.5, but there really isn't an IS that competes at those price points.

The competitors are the IS250 vs. ATS 2.0T vs. 328i. In that comparo, the IS is, IMO, the least compelling choice for a sports sedan.

Quote:
There are a lot of BMW drivers who will not be happy with anything but a BMW. Cadillac will love for BMW buyers to cross shop Cadillac but I am not sure if this is going to happen in spite of generally positive reviews for the ATS. Some people just want a relatively sporty Lexus due to their reliability and resale and aren't interested in a 3 series even if that is the model that they are supposed to cross shop.
The ATS is currently enjoying a 70% conquest rate on buyers. What that means is that 30% of ATS buyers are current Cadillac/GM owners, with the remaining 70% coming from other brands. The largest conquest groups are from BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. The highest model conquests are BMW 3-series owners (many of whom have long complained of the softening and bloat of the 3-series line). The current take rate is around 50% of buyers opting for the 2.0T (with around 20% of those taking the manual transmission), 30% opting for the 3.6 and 20% opting for the 2.5. Basically, the ATS is doing a good job attracting the people who want an actual sports sedan.

Your macro point stands though and is what I said in my previous post that I edited. The IS is a solid option for people who want a luxury car with a little bit of flavor and there are quite a few of them out there.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:56 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,359 posts, read 7,540,065 times
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
It depends on which ATS we are talking about. The one that has gotten lousy reviews is the base model with the 2.5 I4. It still gets very high marks on chassis dynamics, but that engine isn't exactly the best match for the car. That ATS starts at $33,990. The 2.0T model, which has gotten the most praise of any of the ATS line starts at $35,795. The base IS250 RWD starts at $35,065. So, the "apples-to-apples" is the 2.0T ATS vs. the IS250. In that comparison the IS250 is handily outclassed. The 320i starts at $32,550 and the 328i starts at $36,850. I would take the 320i over the ATS 2.5, but there really isn't an IS that competes at those price points.
I wasn't comparing sticker prices but likely selling prices. It is ironic that the GM product, the ATS, which has been known for selling for quite a bit below sticker, actually sells for closer to sticker than the IS. So, when price is considered an IS 250 competes with the base ATS. This is likely a reflection of the fact that the ATS is a new model and the IS has been around since 2006.

I also think that Lexus raised the price a few thousand from 2012 to 2013. Not sure of the details though.
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