BMW vs. Lexus
Insider: Buy a Used BMW or a Used Lexus in 2022? Well, I am an insider as far as I have been in auto parts, repair, and sales for over 40 years.
When searching for the best-used luxury cars, people get stars in their eyes and fail to consider reliability and cost of ownership of the different brands. Here is a head-to-head comparison of both Lexus and BMW and some of you are going to be surprised (or not).
The question that savvy used luxury car buyers have to consider is that of cost of ownership when buying a car or SUV that is out of warranty.
The most reliable luxury cars don’t necessarily constitute the cheapest to operate in all cases but considering reliability, repair costs, fuel consumption, and even insurance costs can give you a pretty good idea of which of the best used luxury cars are the best choice financially.
With these points in mind, here are the top 5 reasons to buy a used Lexus instead of a Used BMW.
According to J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study: “Lexus ranks highest in overall vehicle dependability among all brands, with a score of 81 PP100 (problems per 100 vehicles built). This is the ninth time in 10 years that Lexus ranks highest. Porsche (86 PP100) ranks second, followed by Kia (97 PP100), Toyota (98 PP100), Buick (100 PP100) and Cadillac (also 100 PP100).”
BMW ranks down near the middle of the pack with Chevrolet in this study.
I have heard it said that the reason used BMWs are so cheap is so you can buy two. One to drive, while the other one is in the shop.
You can get a great deal on a used BMW but expect more downtime on a BMW than a Lexus that has similar mileage.
BMWs are, as a rule, more sport and innovation-oriented than a comparable Lexus. This can mean two things. First, the BMWs are typically owned by more performance-aware drivers that tend to drive more aggressively and
Secondly, BMW’s tendency to get new technology to the showroom faster means less testing time to establish the durability of new components.
BMW is more performance-oriented overall according to GriffinsAutoRepair.com and that typically translates into higher driving costs and less dependability.
Lexus drivers, tend to be more laid-back when driving, therefore the car’s moving parts show less wear than a more aggressively driven vehicle with the same miles.
Less testing of components shows up on the road with a higher failure rate than more vetted parts and systems that have been proven.
According to YourMechanic.com, BMWs are easily the most expensive car brand to maintain. “It’s not even a close contest. BMW is in the first place, with an average maintenance cost over 10 years of $17,800.”
Lexus enjoys 28th place on this list at only $7000 barely losing to its close cousin Toyota at 30th with $5500 maintenance cost per 10 years.
The cost of BMW maintenance heavily contributes to the plunging resale values in their entire lineup. Owners of these cars are willing to dump them at a cheap price once the warranty runs out and maintenance costs skyrocket. That is one big reason why used BMWs are so cheap.
If maintenance costs are high, it stands to reason that repairs will be high also.
Lexus has a history of building quality into innovations and releasing new technology with driver satisfaction in mind. Then you have BMW. They also aim for driver satisfaction by being the first to introduce new technologies in their offerings but there is a cost. BMW drivers report a higher rate of failure in their vehicles compared to Lexus.
BMW Cost Cutting Initiative. Why?
Pair this with BMWs Cost Cutting Initiatives that ultimately put more plastic in the engine compartments such as plastic intake manifolds and plastic oil pans. Plastics have come a long way but they are not reliable when paired with the heat of an engine compartment especially when you add turbos and other heat-producing add ons.
Many mechanics won’t even pop the hood on an older BMW because repair times often skyrocket because brittle plastic engine parts snap under the slightest pressure then they have to source and wait for extra parts that turn a normally straightforward repair into a nightmare.
Who pays for all this? The owner of the car. Believe it or not, most shops do not want to tell the customer that the cost of their repairs just doubled. It is bad P.R. We have actually had this happen several times in our own shop when poorly built BMW components and electrical systems have caused repair job costs to inflate uncontrollably. So much so that we received reputation-damaging reviews. We even had some customers abandon their BMWs instead of paying the repair bill.
At the time of this writing, my local BMW dealer quoted an hourly rate of $139.88 and the local Lexus dealer appears to be about $125.00. Strangely, while BMW and Toyota gave me their respective labor rates quickly and easily, Lexus of Greenville in South Carolina took two calls, an online chat, and took over 20 minutes on hold just to be told that I would have to wait.
It must be confidential, secret insider information. Sadly, That made it impossible to meet my deadline.
I am pretty sure that Tokuo Fukuichi, the President of Lexus, would frown on that response.
I strongly suggest you call your local Lexus dealer and see how they handle this question and then leave a comment below.
Now, the local Toyota Dealer Toyota of Easley in South Carolina who is also authorized for Lexus repair only quoted $105 per hour.
Remember that Lexus owners! Granted that Toyota can’t perform warranty repairs but you are not paying for those out of pocket.
I just hinted at the fact that used BMWs have lower resale values and there are a few reasons why.
First, it gets back to maintenance and repair costs because as these costs grow and dependability drops, people except the most committed BMW enthusiast want to drive and not repair in many cases their most valuable asset.
According to Forbes.com BMW holds four places on the “Top 10 Vehicles having The Highest Depreciation” list. This is quite an accomplishment in my opinion. They are the only Manufacturer with multiple models on the list.
Seeing ownership costs pile up, many owners will sell the BMW cheaply to make room to buy something more dependable. While many take the currently amazingly low-interest rates on a new Beemer, many will go for a less expensive-to-operate replacement.
When selling these cars you are competing with other used BMWs, off-lease BMWs, and trade-in BMWs. The seller has to offer a very attractive price, possibly taking a loss on the loan just to get rid of it.
Now we are looking at a great deal on a cheap BMW, right? Well, most likely, no. While if you are a DIY mechanic or a die-hard BMW enthusiast, these cars may be for you, most people simply cannot afford to operate older BMWs while well taken care of Lexus brand vehicles that cost a little more to purchase are usually much less expensive to own.
When comparing Insurance costs Lexus once again seems to take the lead. This chart from Insuraviz.com shows that in a head-to-head average insurance cost study, the 2016 year model Lexus RX350 consistently beats the 2016 year model BMW X5 by up to around $300 per year.
In most cases the comparisons are similar and I have not seen an insurance comparison listing similar Lexus and BMW models that put the European contender in the win column.
It is a long-held stereotype that BMW drivers are less than courteous and there may be some truth to that.
As you can see in this chart found on Insurify.com, BMW drivers seem to top the list of Rude drivers in the U.S. with multiple entries in this not so complimentary top ten list.
The automobile producer BMW even joked that “starting in 2022, it would stop manufacturing cars with turn signals because its customers don’t use them anyway.”
Use your turn signals…
It seems that Lexus drivers are a little more under the radar or a little more laid back as a whole. Who needs a mob of villagers grabbing their pitchforks when you pull out of the garage?
Finally, I did not write this article to bash BMW even though it may seem so. I just reported the things that I found while doing the research.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t buy a BMW but if you do, be warned of the cost to your wallet when making the decision. Having put together this review, my opinion is that from a purely financial standpoint, Lexus is the clear winner.
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