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More Reliable Lexus Vs BMW ?


Special to The Auto Channel
From Brian Cook
Former Service Consultant at BMW (2014–2015)

I have worked for both of these manufacturers and have held several positions within the service and business development departments of both. Most of my time spent I was a service advisor who worked closely with the technicians and service managers, and I also did heavy customer service time in research and development and CSI. My family and I have also, owned several of each, both BMWs and Lexus. We traded all the BMWs in.

It’s not even remotely close. Lexus is FAR more reliable and dependable than BMW. Lexus has been at the top of this scale since the 90’s and always have been. Everything about the company, from top to bottom, is built upon values ranging from…attention to detail, respect, dependability, integrity, reliability, patience, unrivalled testing and retesting. There’s a saying. The German’s rush to get the latest and greatest out on the market before the other guy, and when things fall apart, or have issues, they fix it AFTER.. with recalls, bulletins and other patches, and say “Well hey! It’s the newest and latest technology, what did you expect, perfection?!” and by year 5–8 of the model generation, it’s quite improved. The Japanese, do they opposite. They test things over and over and over until they have it perfect and all the kinks have been worked out, and THEN they release the product to the consumer. They choose patience and persistence, over ego. This is why a lot of Lexus vehicles take a negative rap for being “behind the times” on technological advances and fashion sense (style). They are always about 5–10 years behind in certain areas of what’s the “newest” because of how much time and effort they put into engineering and development and testing before releasing the product to the consumer under mass production.

The reliability numbers don’t even tell the entire story, either.. Surveys conducted by organizations such as JD power (dependability/reliability) on manufacturers, only tell you part of the story (Repairs/Problems Per 100 vehicles sold). Lexus usually hovers around 75–90 RPVS, ALWAYS first place, and BMW hovers around the 8–13 spot, and around 100–130 RPVS. However, this survey doesn’t disclose the NATURE or complexity or severity of the “problem” or repair, just that it was documented in a claim. The more common reported problems by Lexus are extremely minor in most cases. Whereas the BMWS are riddled with electrical, computer software, and other reliability concerns that give any owner absolute nightmares once it’s out of it’s factory warranty. I’ve had three Lexus vehicles in the family since 2014, and other than routine schedule maintenance, not ONE single repair or failure has occurred. Literally just a battery, and that was replaced after 7 years…expectancy is usually 3–5 years these days.

In summary, Lexus makes the more reliable and dependable car. BMW makes the flashier car with more bells and whistles, more advanced TECH, and far more impressive performance overall. But the repairs I was seeing with BMW on cars less than one year old was absolutely horrific and astonishing. All the go fast fun doesn’t really matter anymore when you have to replace a $15,000 CIC control module after parts and labour only 5 years in, or replacing a failed $7000 panoramic sunroof, or $4000 AC evaporators replaced 3 months after delivery on a new car under warranty. Most BMW drivers are scared shitless to own a BMW past it’s first 3–4 years and so a lot of them lease.

Edit: I just want to add that I have nothing against BMW. I have driven almost every BMW model made post 1990ish. They are magnificently engineered as it pertains to safety features, aesthetics, mechanical capability and performance. If they could improve on the reliability and overall software and electrical problems, hands down one of the best manufacturers out there. I actually really like BMW vehicles for so many reasons, but the scare factor of poor reliability just puts it slightly out of reach for what I am personally able to compromise on. I’m really really trying to talk myself out of a late model M3 Competition AWD 2022–2023 because it’s arguably one of the most breathtaking BMWs ever produced.

The one thing I dislike about Lexus is they just don’t invest a huge amount of time into building and installing very high performance engines and other performance characteristics such as suspension and brakes into their cars. They literally have no answer for a new M3, Audi RS4 or Mercedes C63 S AMG. Nothing they presently make can touch those cars. I am crossing my fingers that the much anticipated 4.0L TTV8 (around 650–700 HP) Lexus has been developing since 2016 which is going into the new LC500 also finds its way into the last year of the IS for an ISF model. It’s been rumoured but who knows! It’s what we all deserve.