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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market to buy a new car to replace my Eclipse. Looking to spend under $30k... So one day I test drove the IS300 5spd, TSX 6 spd, and the BMW 3 series. I have to give this as my review:

IS300 5spd
Pros: Enough power to satisfy my cravings. Cool tach. Inline 6 engine. Love the styling, and the little details that Lexus looked at. It's a Lexus.
Cons: Too much body roll, too much road noise for a Lexus, shifts had too long of a throw, cheap interior.
Summary: Good performance vehicle. Still needs more refinement, as it is a Lexus.

TSX 6spd
Pros: 6 spd tranny. A solid ride. Wonderful stock suspension. Clean interior. A lot of cabin room. Engine was peppy for being a 4 banger.
Cons: Stupid 4 banger engine that feels like a turtle with a trailer behind it on a mountain. Too buzzy at high revs. Honda decided to make the car FWD, but expects to compete with other cars in its class (IS300, 3-series, etc).
Summary: Nice car, but I don't know if I'll buy one. Now if Acura would just get over the fact that it would compete with their TL vehicles by putting the 6 cyl in the car, then I'd probably be on their usual wait list of 6 months for the car, depending on the price of course.

BMW 3-series
Pros: It's a BMW ladies and gents. VERY quiet and refined ride. Handled like a dream.
Cons: Damn engine doesn't have enough balls for my tastes. Ergonomics of the driver controls are crap. You pay $5,000 extra for having the BMW emblems. Those damn BMW salesmen are snobby as hell to the point where I left the dealership wanting to punch out the 3 different salesman I had to talk to before deciding every single one were snobby. Insurance rates seem to be a bit higher for the 3 series than the Lexus or Acura. Financing rates suck.
Summary: The car is everything that magazines and people rave about. Handles nice, feels refined, and has a solid reputation behind the manufacturer. However, the car didn't feel like a "driver's car". It felt more like "I drive a BMW, so come play with me. It's really comfortable and nice inside the car". Maintenance costs are too high for the car... but resale value is great, so maybe that offsets things a bit.

Conclusion
I preferred the IS300 over the 3 vehicles that I test drove. However, that's the reason why I decided to wait a little longer to see if any other vehicles come out that I really want to check out (never checked out the G35 by the way, because I really don't like the way that car looks). The IS300 seriously needs an interior face lift, more focus on sound absorbtion, and tuning that suspension. From what I saw, the BMW was basically everything good about the IS300 and everything good about the TSX combined in to one package. But there is no way in hell I will ever want to own a BMW, because I'm just too cool like that :p. Oh, and I almost forgot about the TSX. Very well made car... for a family man. There's just simply not enough power to be considered as a valuable contender in this comparison.

My ranking of cars for what it is: 3-series, IS300, and TSX.
My choice of cars: IS300, TSX, BMW.

What are your opinions guys?
 

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I can't wait till they come out with the IS430....it's gonna have a V8.

Back to this topic though.....I really like the TSX, and Acura has never been a slouch on quality and service... Toyota/Lexus sometimes gives me some trouble, so I'd take the TSX, IS300, and then 3series... The 3series gets last just because of price..
 

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An IS con (at least for me) is that there is a new model in 2005. I don't like the feeling of dropping that kind of cash having it feel "old" in only a year's time. I appreciate that everything eventually gets obsolete, but a single year is very short timeframe. This is personal thing, and may or may not matter to you.

3-series is due for an update in 05 as well, but depending on how you feel about the Bangled styling, the outgoing model may be more appealing!

Another thing with the Lexus is that I think it looks a riced Civic. (or more like every riced Civic is trying to look like an IS). The Altezza lights are getting real old too.
 

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Funny, I'm looking at basically the same cars as you. I have a 00 Integra GSR and want something a little smoother/bigger.

I to drove and liked the IS300. The inline 6 and rwd is perfect. Interior is crap without the full leather option. Still looks good out side

I have yet to drive a 3 series because with all of the options I want, they are just too much $$ (a 2001-2003 330ci would be #1 on this list anyday)

I drove a Mazda 6 recently. Not worth it. Does everything just fine but you can just feel the ford (Taurus v6) influence. A little rough around the edges.

The TSX rocks but I agree with you on the engine. Buzzy near redline and needs 30 more hp. Interior is the best of them all.

I might also look at the g35 sedan.
 

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plutonium239 said:
Funny, I'm looking at basically the same cars as you. I have a 00 Integra GSR and want something a little smoother/bigger.

I to drove and liked the IS300. The inline 6 and rwd is perfect. Interior is crap without the full leather option. Still looks good out side

I have yet to drive a 3 series because with all of the options I want, they are just too much $$ (a 2001-2003 330ci would be #1 on this list anyday)

I drove a Mazda 6 recently. Not worth it. Does everything just fine but you can just feel the ford (Taurus v6) influence. A little rough around the edges.

The TSX rocks but I agree with you on the engine. Buzzy near redline and needs 30 more hp. Interior is the best of them all.

I might also look at the g35 sedan.
I'm in the same boat as well. I have a '96 GS-R sedan, so I'd like something that does everything better.

I'd like to keep it under $30K, so that knocks out the IS300. Although BMWs are nice, I don't think they are worth the premium. The G35, in my opinion, is a step up... like the TL.

What about the Altima 3.5SE?
 

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I was in the limbo when it came to replace my 1998 Audi A4, and here is my opinion on the subject:
First of all if I had the money i would go for a BMW just because i always wanted to have one. IS 300 is a nice car, drove one for a while and if it wasnt for the extra charge for heated seats and leather i would probably get one. Audi; i had one for 2 years, and let me tell you, if you dont have factory warranty on the car its a money pit, i out so much money into repairing the car that it became pointless to keep the car. Conclusion, sold my A4 and leased the TSX, i am very happy with the car and its price, and of course the options.
 
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