Tuesday, 31 March 2015

What Car? Test Drive - BMW M4 vs Lexus RC-F

Lexus has made a muscle car to take on the mighty M4. Is sheer brawn going to be enough though?

The Contenders:

BMW M4 DCT - Range-topping 4 Series offers huge performance, a long kit list and a suitably premium image.

Lexus RC-F V8 - A big V8 engine, but a big kerb weight with it. Can the bulky RC-F keep pace with the M4?

On the face of it, the BMW M4 and Lexus RC-F have quite a lot in common. Both are two door sports cars, both have more than 400bhp, both are rear-wheel drive and both cost close to £60k. However, there are also big differences.
The most obvious is weight. The bulky Lexus carries around an extra 200kg over the BMW, which for a sports car can only be a bad thing. Another difference is power. The V8 Lexus has more of it, but unlike the BMW it has no turbochargers, so it  is completely different in character.

What are they like to drive?

The BMW’s power delivery is markedly different, because its turbochargers mean maximum torque arrives at just 1900rpm (compared with a heady 4800rpm in the Lexus). So, it’s no surprise the M4 feels the more eager car in more situations.

Put your foot down hard and the M4 can accelerate with a ferocity that the RC-F simply can’t match. However, we tested these cars on a soaking wet day and the BMW struggled to put its power down off the line. This explains why our 0-60mph time (4.7sec) is a long way off what we got for what is essentially a four-door version of the M4, the M3: 4.0 seconds.

Another area in which the M4 shows up the RC-F is with its gearbox. The BMW’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic ’box provides quick, smooth changes, is intelligent when left to its own devices and responsive when you take charge using the wheel-mounted paddles. The Lexus’s eight-speed ’box is perfectly smooth when cruising, but ask anything more from it and it starts to feel slow and dim-witted, even when use the paddles.

On a twisty B-road the M4 is the more competent car. Its body moves around less than the Lexus’s, its front wheels grip harder when turning into bends and its steering gives a much greater sense of connection with the front wheels. In fact, the M4 is so capable it’s hard to find the car’s limits on most UK roads.

What are they like inside?

You’ll fit more into the BMW’s boot, too. On paper, it offers nearly 80 litres more space, and the fact that it’s considerably wider explains why. Unlike the Lexus, the BMW’s rear seats also split 60/40 and fold almost flat to open up the space, making it possible to carry much longer items.

What will they cost?

Just £450 separates the brochure prices of these cars, and given their relative newness and exclusivity, you’ll do well to haggle any sort of discount at the dealer.

Running either won’t be cheap, but you’ll save yourself more than £2000 over three years by choosing the BMW. That’s partly because the M4 is predicted to hold on to its value for longer, but also because of its lower CO2 emissions and better real-world fuel economy. Then there’s the BMW’s insurance group (42), which is significantly lower than the Lexus’s (48). The BMW’s more favourable CO2 emissions mean it’s also the cheaper car for Benefit-in-Kind tax.

Standard equipment is as generous as you’d expect. Both cars get alloy wheels, climate control, electric windows, heated and electrically adjustable leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, satellite-navigation, a DAB radio, xenon headlights and Bluetooth as standard.

Verdict

The Lexus finishes second, but this is far from a disgrace. Push it hard and it’s genuinely exciting, and it plays the hushed cruiser card far better than the BMW.

Sports cars have to be judged on their dynamic ability, though, and that’s why the M4 wins here. Yes, you have to be doing big speeds before it starts to come alive, but its sheer ability, practicality and cheaper running costs make it easier to live with.

1st BMW M4 DCT Summary

Ferocious performance; staggeringly capable; brilliant gearbox
Verdict Fast, agile and desirable – a brilliant sports car

For more information on the unbeatable BMW M4 call Jacksons Jersey on 01534 497777 or Guernsey on 01481 235441.

Source - What Car?

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