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  • anthonii


    I would love to take the Lexus. Sometimes the lack of refinement = more fun :P

  • Mac

    First a small thing, 505 – 400 makes a 105Nm difference. Also I was having trouble working out your price listing – BMW have the DCT listed sedan at $152,300 and then all the other extras take the price well over $160,000 – Happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

    Wasn’t the initial M-DCT equipped cars recalled for software problems leading to stalling cars. Supposedly BMW fixed it though there are reports that some are still not working correctly and they still hesitate or lag when breaking and then accelerating?

    I would take the AMG C class.

  • rocket_v6

    would take the lexus 20grand cheap

  • Chris

    Both cars are not too bad…but the C63 is my choice anyday of the week!

    • BMW BOY

      BMW r better!!

  • 300kw Anti-spam word

    Everytime I see a new M3 I can’t help thinking it look much cheaper than the previous model. The rear bar just looks wrong. Needs to be lower. I mean you can see the ugly mufflers for goodness sake. Compare it to the previous rear bar of the M3 that looks so much more intergrated. Love the way BMW engine rev though and the way they make power all the way to cutout.

    I would also take a C63 over these two. The sound of the C63 is absolutely amazing. Not to mention the grunt factor. Simple remap of the ECO = hello 500HP.

  • crouchy

    I thought the fake exhaust pipes were the tackiest thing i’d seen but apparently I hadnt seen that ghastly red trim…

    Can only assume by the steering wheel that the trd design team found new jobs… lol

  • B-Man

    Good call Crouchy!
    I would take the M3 any day of the week, seing as it is the only one of the 3 cars in this segment available with a real gearbox.

  • milobob

    The M3 is no doubt a fantastic car but Kudos to Lexus trying. Hopefully the next few generations will get better so we will have a great selection to choose from!

    BTW, the M3 is $184990 all up (as optioned).. which is a very steep price to pay comapared to the lexus. $50k…

  • Dan

    I prefer the look of the E46 shape M3 as well to be honest. Not a fan of this one’s looks. No doubt the M3 would win this, ze germans have a lot more experience behind their belt in this department. Having said that, Lexus has put in a fairly decent effort with the IS-F in their first attempt, so it’s a credit to them, well done. And it’s always good to welcome an extra competitor in this department, the consumer always benefits.

    When taking all options into account, the lex is around 30K cheaper than the M3, I’d probably grab the Lex. Having said that, C63 is only about 15K dearer than the IS-F, so it would be a hard choice…

  • MR LEE

    I would go for IS-F. It 20K cheaper and it looks bit better than M3 sedan.

  • OSU811

    now that the M3 comes in a 4door sedan it is the perfect performance car, quick, comfortable, safe, and practical with two kids..I would have mine with the 6speed manual transmission and in pearl white with charcoal rims thanks!!
    Lexus wouldnt get a look in unfortunately..

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    M3s should have stayed coupes,still the only one to have no surprise there. Has to be a Coupe though they look heaps better than the four door.

    BMW have stayed at the top for 20 years with this car if Merc cant pass it then what hope does Lexus have ?

    Dan tells us that Lexus are only making 40 a month of the IS-F I guess if you wanted one you’ll be waiting a while.

    Melbourne Red …not the best colour.

  • Elitist

    These are real V8′s… Refined and economical…
    Unlike the Holden and Ford truck motors we BUY from America.

    Makes me think what a ripoff that 150k Holden was. Rubish interior and rubbish motor.

  • http://Mini Ben Larden

    There is no doubt tha the ISF lacks the pedigree of the M3. However, at 8/10ths or less, there is bugger all in it. At 30-40K less, it represents better value. Tough looking, and the usual Lexus build quality.

    If i was to spend my hard earned, none of the above would see my money. C63 FTW!

  • Dan

    Yeah the 150K Holden was a joke. However any other Holden and Ford V8s, even though not as technically advanced as the beemer/lexus/merc, are still a great bang for your buck for performance. There’s 100K+ difference between an SS and the M3/IS-F, you’d expect to get what you are paying for, and you do. Can’t say the yank V8s are bad though, they’re cheap, simple, and not well refined. But easy to get more power out of, and within the financial reach of almost everybody.

  • riceboy

    agree… those exhausts look a bit tacky… but the car does sound nice though… jealous of my neighbour who gets to take one home working for Lexus/Toyota…

  • S

    Matt – just out of interest, which car had the best fuel economy?

  • Dan

    S, the article says the IS-F had a better economy as tested, 12.8 for IS-F versus 13.3 for M3.

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    150k Walky wont depreciate like either of these two will ! Its was designed as collectible.

    Economy pfffffffftttttttt who cares .

  • Matt

    Hi S,

    The fuel figures (both ADR and as tested) were included within the specifications table this time round – as Dan has so kindly clarified.

    Sorry for any confusion,


  • Dan

    Matt, just wondering, how do they compare in roll ons, say accellerating from 60 onwards? I noticed the M3 has 259 Nm per tonne versus IS-F’s 297 Nm per tonne. From what I gathered the 8 speed gearbox holds the IS-F back in quartermile runs, even though it’s faster in the sprint to 100 km/h.

  • Matt

    It’s hard to say Dan. The IS-F can be a little slow in self-selecting, but if you were to prepare for it, and be in manual mode, it might be a different story.

    Unfortunately our current test units (old G-Tech models) don’t do so well on rolling tests, in fact their capabilities are rather limited.

    Our new units (which are on their way as soon as budget permits) may prove a little more useful in this respect.

  • Dan

    Cool, cheers Matt!

  • Yianni

    “Elitist Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    These are real V8’s… Refined and economical…
    Unlike the Holden and Ford truck motors we BUY from America.”

    Elitist, you can’t possibly compare a Holden and Ford performance car to an M3 or the IS-F. They’re in a totally different class.

    Saying that though, I’ll take an XR6 turbo or an F6 and pocket the ~$100,000 difference.

    Back on topic for a sec, the M3 is the clear winner IMO and if someone is willing to spend that much on a car they should definitely spend the extra ~$25,000 and go for the M3.

  • Frontman

    Actually, (at great risk of alienating the Lexocrats) I reckon a very interest comparo would be the IS-F against the RS4……
    I know what my money would be on, and I find it interesting that Lexus hasn’t tried to target this vehicle as Audi in general are the manufacturer that are really making waves in the prestige market globally.

  • Frontman

    Oh and I don’t mean just a track test, I mean a real world road test. Somewhere where these vehicles are going to be used every day.

  • Dan

    Yianni, all really depends on what you’re after. If you’re after sheer performance only, you can’t go past the aussie falcodores segment. If you’re after something that’s just as fast, but also classy, then you’d need to fork out more obviously. And that’s where this segment comes in.

  • Joober@Work

    “Saying that though, I’ll take an XR6 turbo or an F6 and pocket the ~$100,000 difference.” – Depends on your economic situation desires really, people who can usually afford and buy an M3 or an ISF won’t bother with with an Xr6T or lesser mundane cars…, its like going further and saying drop a new xr6T and buy an Evo6.5 spend 20k on mods…

    Matt – Gtech?? No Vbox?

    Just recalling the TopGear test, they had annoyances of the 8 speed gear box changing so often. M3 was the clear winner in that occasion too, But for a first time competitor Lexus did a darn good job, Perhaps sooner or later Lexus can poach some of BM’s engineering staff to give it that oomph to take it over the line.

    Frontman – I think the vs M3 test, is more critical as the M3 is probably the biggest household name for Performance Prestige, toppling the M3 will definately bring shockwaves and product awareness rather than an RS4, which no doubt is awesome in itself.

  • Dan

    M3 has been the iconic leader of this segment for decades, it only makes sense to have a new comer compared to it.

  • Camski

    With regards to the shifting in ‘D’ Mode (more specifically the Lex however may also apply to the M3, i’m not sure) pull the fuse linked to the ECU =P

    Countless Lexus owners do this to reset the ‘adaptive’ gearbox as the car’s are usually driven softly during breakin period and then driven much harder after that period.

    This may or may not have the desired affect however as the gearbox will behave funny (noticable in IS250, D’s been calibrated, S uses the equivelant to a non-calibrated auto box).

    The IS F also has different shift times comparing ‘D’ to ‘S’. Purposefully done might I add as the slower shift times in ‘D’ result in smoother shifts.

    All in all, unbiased review with unbiased comments following, for a change, i’m impressed.

    I just wanted to add a couple of things. Firstly, anyone that loves a good noise, the IS F is a must to listen to. It’s a different, very unique sound especially from the inside (once that intake opens up @ 3.6ishK RPM all hell breaks loose). It’s what I call ‘refined’ say, much like the well complimented sound of the RS4. That is comparing it to the screamy V8 in the M3 or the all out BEEF of a sound that comes from the C63.

    Secondly, that money saved from the M3 could be spent on Lexus’ F-Sport Sway Bar Kit designed for the ISx50 and put on the IS F. It’s been said that this improves handling significantly.

    Lastly, dollar for dollar i’d take the IS F. The noise it makes is sure to impress, a black exterior with white leather interior looks hell good, the gearbox is fantastic to use in ‘M’ (noticably sharper than anything else) and the overall package with the money saved is relatively speaking, good value.

    But who am I to speak, my C63′s here in a couple of months =P

    [Come on CA, it's "IS F", there's no hyphen. =) It's like saying BMW M-3.]

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Its only being compared to the IS-F cause its the new 4 door,previous M3 Coupe tests have already been done as well as the IS-F.

    So Dan you saying our local product doesnt have class ? Remember mate the mighty M3 is just HSVs and FPVs equivalent in Germany.

    Lexus is Toyota’s snobbery badge.

  • Dan

    Camski, I might have to check out that sway bar kit. But yes, you’re right. Having the gear stick in D mode affects the way the gear change works. Pulling the fuse out resets the gearbox ECU and puts it into learning mode for a few kilometers. If you drive the car softly, it will program itself for economy. If you drive it hard, it will program itself for power. Since the car was new, and being run in, or just after being run in, what’s the bet D wasn’t reset? Just in my own IS250, the gearbox behaves much differently when in S than in D. So yes, could be something that needs to be looked into I guess.

    And bavaria, we had that stupid argument before. M3 to BMW is just like HSV and FPV is to holden and ford. The F to Lexus, is what M is to BMW. I see no Toyota link there mate.

  • Fasthonda


    There is a comparison available between the IS-F and RS4 but it’s on the track.—lexus-isf-vs–audi-rs4-63850

  • Golfschwein

    The M3 looks great as a 4 door as well as a coupe, and not for the first time, seeing as we didn’t get the 4 door version of your car, Bavarian Missile.

    If I could afford either of these cars, it’d be the Beemer. Max Street Cred, just for starters!

  • Camski

    I bet some people are gonna like to hear this one.

    Dan, you know our IS250′s with most of the F-Sport kit actually outruns an IS F through a slalom? (See edmunds)

    Add the sway bar to the F and things might change.

    Pity we don’t have the IS350 here. Why not IS350 + F-Sport kit = out runs IS F round the twisty stuff, handles better, rides better and better fuel economy. The gearbox could do with a bit of work though and that V8 noise would be missed. (and yes, just for kicks, it can outrun a 335i =P)

    You know what they say (squarely aimed at the E46 M3 in a straightline) “M3s can’t touch this car, esp if you help it breath and fart better.”

  • Alex

    I would take the M3 but I don’t think I would buy a car in this class until I see what the next RS4 is like – we all know that the last one was probably best in class.
    I don’t like the Lexus. I don’t hate the Lexus brand but this is a car that is going to be bought by accountants who aspire to own no other car than a Lexus. The sort of person that you simply can’t talk out of the idea that Lexus is the best brand in the world.
    I wouldn’t take the C63 because I have seen hundreds on the road in the last few months in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris and New York and all I can say is that 90% of them are driven by old men and the other 10% have fitted chrome wheels so lets just assume they are in their late twenties.
    The Lexus will not be bought by proper drivers, you know why? Because as this review says, the BMW is the better car and if you are only buying the Lexus for reliability in these cars (which many will), why not get a GT-R or an EVO? Real drivers will buy the BMW or the Mercedes (or Audi when it comes, if it’s good). I have yet to read a comparison between the M3 and IS-F (and I have seen/read many) that crowns the Lexus as King and in my mind, that’s exactly right.

  • Wheelnut

    Thanks Camski – On the ISF Blog Topic; I mentioned an article which I found on insideline where they tested an IS250 Sport with all the “TRD” enhancements and compared it to the IS-F.

    They did the usual tests including a slalom and it turned out that in a number of areas the IS250 Sport performed as well as if not better than the IS-F.. However; Dan found that pretty hard to believe..

    I think the suspension had a lot to do with it as the IS-F doesn’t have any

  • Camski

    IS F Neiman Marcus Edition!

    Correct me if i’m wrong but is this an IS F Neiman Marcus Edition???

    Took a second to click then I noticed the finish on the wheels.

    The Terracota interior, also exclusive to Neiman Marcus?
    I didn’t think it was but again, I might be wrong.

  • Camski

    “*Neiman Marcus is acting as the advertiser for this product. All sales will be conducted solely by participating, authorized Lexus dealers in the United States, excluding Hawaii.”

    I guess that answers my question, it isn’t a Neiman Marcus. Only 50 made too, the chance of one coming here would’ve been slim (if they even made a RHD version). And there’s no white stiching around the steering wheel as far as I can see. However the finish on the wheels is interesting as they’re defininately NME F wheels.


    The lexus isf is one awesome bit of gear if anyone on this forum ever gets a chance to drive one you will be blown away! i would take the isf over the bmw m3 anyday just in the looks department alone the lexus rules let alone that v8 exhaust sound AWESOME!

  • The Realist

    Alex Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:22 pm
    “I don’t hate the Lexus brand but this is a car that is going to be bought by accountants who aspire to own no other car than a Lexus. The sort of person that you simply can’t talk out of the idea that Lexus is the best brand in the world.”

    We could all make generalisations about Audi drivers, Holden drivers, Ford drivers…


    DRIVE.COM, are very bias, the site is not as good as Car Advice… You can be banned from the site as I have, only because I kept on bagging Holden, Toyo and the journals who wrote bias articles.

  • Alex

    To The Realist, I completely agree but what I say about the Lexus is kind of true. Stereotypes are around for a reason. Many accountants, old men and people who think they are cool own Lexus’ and as I wrote, many of them would never be persuaded to think that anything else was better. Besides, I didn’t say anything nice about the people who drive BMWs and Audis. Not sure how Holden and Ford come into it…

  • Dan

    Alex, what’s wrong with accountants?

  • dylan

    At the end of the day the lexus is just a rear wheel drive corolla with a stroked ls460 motor and some brembos, it might be cool but aint know m3

  • rbb

    dylan what are you on? that has to be the dumbest statement i have ever heard! if you dont know what you are talking about do your homework first before mouthing off!

  • Alan

    It’s a good effort from Lexus considering it’s their first attempt, but i think they were reluctant to pour much money into the project, hence the result seems a bit half finished. For a start, the styling is brash and after market looking, the engine doesn’t rev properly as it was originally designed for a limo, and the suspension set up needs to be further fine tuned, or an adjustable set up should be offered with different settings for track days or around town.

    The lexus is a fine car, but a compromised one that needs more developmental budget. Either way, i’m a huge fan of BMW M cars, and this M3 sedan (with a manual though) is my favourite of the current M cars.

  • Camski

    Alan – “the engine doesn’t rev properly as it was originally designed for a limo”.

    I advise you take one out, I can assure you, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find any of Lexus’ latest engines that don’t “rev properly”.

    I think maybe what you mean is the power curve, as power comes on quite late in the rev range however this has nothing to do with whether or not the engine rev’s “properly”.
    This is where I can relate, after taking the C63 and IS F out around some straight bits (Kurnell for you Sydney Siders) the amount of “useable power” for everyday driving (ie. overtaking in well…. 5th or 6th gear in either car [damn 7/8 ratio's =P]) is much more practical in the C63 as at any engine speed there’s just oodles of power, even for example 6th gear @80km/h it’s like nothing else, it just pulls. Not to say the IS F is underpowered, you’ve just gotta spool it up to some 4K+RPM before you get a kick.

  • Al Juraj

    Every M3 made is a legend. The first one was fantastic, then the E36 set new sports car standards in the US, winning numerous tests and even outhandling a bunch of exotics. The E46 took the fight directly to the 911, and the CSL version is almost as good as a Ferrari 360 but at only a fraction of the price. The current model is no different. It’s a certified Carrera killer and despite the fact that Lexus and Mercedes have their own small sedans that are more powerful, the Beemer still does much better at the track, putting all that engine potential to the road while those others need coaxing to maintain composure. The M3 is easier to drive fast compared to the others, with music-to-your-ears engine sound, great steering and well sorted chassis.

  • Neutral

    No doubt the M3 is the clear winner here. But credit to Lexus for the remarkable first attempt. However if I had the money, I would go for a car the even the M3 can’t shake off – Nissan GTR

  • joey potter

    It’s unnecessary to compare the price of the cars. Both are EXPENSIVE. It’s like comparing a $10M house vs $9M house.. not much difference.

  • HJP

    IS-F looks absolutely stunning when I see with my own eyes. I was at Lexus dealer to test drive IS250 Sports Luxury and this may be the car I would get. I would love to get IS-F but my budget did not stretch. IS-F costs $140,000 drive away while IS250 Sports Luxury can be done for $82,000 but it’s almost $70,000 gap so I don’t think it’s worth the money. But nevertheless if I can stretch more then I’ll get the IS-F.

  • Wheelnut

    HJP – There was an article a couple of months ago on Inside line where they compared an IS-F and a TRD [US] enhanced IS250.. and [from memory] they thought that the IS TRD was a better all round car and easier to live with -probably because its got suspension; despite not having quite as much power as the IS-F

  • Travis

    This review is kind of off and a lil bias towards the IS-F

    Botton line, some of the things said were on point and some things said where not. They wanted to say the IS-F was better at times, but could not say it and just went around it.

    The IS F is perfect on the track, dont know what the hell they are talking about. Dont believe me look at videos of the car. It was also developed on the track…why would it not be good.

    In the end they just wanted to protect the M3 name. The IS F looks better, sounds better, is faster, will last longer, performs just as good, has more luxury & features and sum that all up with a MUCH cheaper price….Lexus has a win. Can I have mine now in pearl white?

    I pick the IS-F.


    why would u take the stupid c63 amg when you can just buy an m3 sedan without mercedes copying bmw with the idrive i would rather take the bmw cause:
    1. Better Value (have a choice of coupe, convertible or sedan) mercedes c63 only sedan
    2. your only wasting more money with the c63 cause its a 6.3l and the m3 is a v8 4.0l so your wasting less money on petrol in the m3 than in the c63
    3. C63 SUCKS

  • L0u15

    Lexus all the way

  • Apd13

    i dont understand the m3 yes its better on the track but on the road its harsh noisy and cramped compared to the lexus, i have been in both these cars and personally the lexus is a much nicer car, its also cheaper and MUCH better equipped, i do like the m3 i just think lexus nailed the isf