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In Mod Heaven
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My buddy just picked up a new 5-speed Intenza Blue Pearl IS300 this weekend and drove it up from NYC. Since I just got my car a month ago, I wanted to go for a ride then drive his car to see how it felt/handled.

These are my first impressions of the car.

1. Shifting: The cars clutch is much more springy then the 330, by that I mean that it takes much more effort to depress the clutch and it feels like its spring loaded. The pedals are aluminum and rather small.

The shifter is relatively easy to engage gears and but there is more of a clunk as you move the shifter thru its gears. The car comes standard with an aluminum billet ball for the shift knob.

2. Handling and Steering Feel: Well the Japanese still have nothing on the Germans. There was a considerable amount of free play in the steering (I could move the wheel about 1.5 inches in each direction from center without the car even reacting). Once you get past this dead zone, the car reacts pretty abruptly.

The steering is also no where near as tight. There is more body roll than our cars but the car still handles well, just not as well as the 330. My friend has 17" 215/45 at all four corners on his car. The car handles bumps nicely and doesn't feel as sporty as our suspension. It tends to "float" more.

The car accelerates smoothly and has plenty of torque (219 ft/lbs). It just wants to be revved. With the traction control off, you can easily chirp the tires from 1st to 2nd.

3. Fit/Finish/Comfort: The chronograph type gauge takes a little getting used. The problem with it is that its so busy that its almost a distraction.

The interior is nice and clean but both looks and feels cheaper. There is a much greater use of plastics in this car. A nice touch is the aluminum rings on many of the dials and around the speakers.

I have the sport seats in my car so I'm very biased. Every other car I get in just doesn't do it for me. The seats in the IS are comfortable but they don't really have as much lateral support for your back or the seat. There isn't any lumbar support so the seats a little flat. Don't get me wrong, the seats aren't uncomfortable, just not as comfortable as the 330Ci.

The cabin is quiet and so is the car. At first I thought the car had a four-cylinder in it b/c it was so quiet when I was standing outside of it.

4. Stereo: I had to talk about this b/c I am such a nut when it comes to systems. The stereo in this car is pretty amazing for a stock unit. It kills the HK 10 speaker setup in both clarity and range of frequencies. I noticed in the HK, there wasn't as much highs as I would like and the bass just wasn't really there. Lexus seems to make some of the best stock stereos in the auto industry.

Overall, I did like the IS 300. I wouldn't ever give up my BMW nor would I buy a Lexus, but it is a nice car for the price. I think the sticker on his car was $33,300.

There were a lot of things I didn't get a chance to check out in the car, b/c the drive only lasted about 20 minutes. I will get to drive the car more this weekend, and I will be taking it on a road that I first took my 330Ci to test it out a little more.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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Ackster said:
My buddy just picked up a new 5-speed Intenza Blue Pearl IS300 this weekend and drove it up from NYC. Since I just got my car a month ago, I wanted to go for a ride then drive his car to see how it felt/handled.

These are my first impressions of the car.

1. Shifting: The cars clutch is much more springy then the 330, by that I mean that it takes much more effort to depress the clutch and it feels like its spring loaded. The pedals are aluminum and rather small.

The shifter is relatively easy to engage gears and but there is more of a clunk as you move the shifter thru its gears. The car comes standard with an aluminum billet ball for the shift knob.

2. Handling and Steering Feel: Well the Japanese still have nothing on the Germans. There was a considerable amount of free play in the steering (I could move the wheel about 1.5 inches in each direction from center without the car even reacting). Once you get past this dead zone, the car reacts pretty abruptly.

The steering is also no where near as tight. There is more body roll than our cars but the car still handles well, just not as well as the 330. My friend has 17" 215/45 at all four corners on his car. The car handles bumps nicely and doesn't feel as sporty as our suspension. It tends to "float" more.

The car accelerates smoothly and has plenty of torque (219 ft/lbs). It just wants to be revved. With the traction control off, you can easily chirp the tires from 1st to 2nd.

3. Fit/Finish/Comfort: The chronograph type gauge takes a little getting used. The problem with it is that its so busy that its almost a distraction.

The interior is nice and clean but both looks and feels cheaper. There is a much greater use of plastics in this car. A nice touch is the aluminum rings on many of the dials and around the speakers.

I have the sport seats in my car so I'm very biased. Every other car I get in just doesn't do it for me. The seats in the IS are comfortable but they don't really have as much lateral support for your back or the seat. There isn't any lumbar support so the seats a little flat. Don't get me wrong, the seats aren't uncomfortable, just not as comfortable as the 330Ci.

The cabin is quiet and so is the car. At first I thought the car had a four-cylinder in it b/c it was so quiet when I was standing outside of it.

4. Stereo: I had to talk about this b/c I am such a nut when it comes to systems. The stereo in this car is pretty amazing for a stock unit. It kills the HK 10 speaker setup in both clarity and range of frequencies. I noticed in the HK, there wasn't as much highs as I would like and the bass just wasn't really there. Lexus seems to make some of the best stock stereos in the auto industry.

Overall, I did like the IS 300. I wouldn't ever give up my BMW nor would I buy a Lexus, but it is a nice car for the price. I think the sticker on his car was $33,300.

There were a lot of things I didn't get a chance to check out in the car, b/c the drive only lasted about 20 minutes. I will get to drive the car more this weekend, and I will be taking it on a road that I first took my 330Ci to test it out a little more.

Yeah, the IS300 has never really impressed me very much. The chassis is prone to understeering at the limit more than the E46; at 10 or even 9/10s the car just doesn't feel very satisfying. The engine is decent, but for a 3.0L unit it doesn't have a lot of poke. I actually prefer the 2.5L in the BMW, even if it doesn't have quite the low-end, because it's smoother and revs so much cleaner.

IMHO, the IS300 really feels like a cheap, poor imitiation of the BMW. As a 25K dollar car, there might be an argument for it, but for the same price as a 325 there's just no reason to buy the Lexus.

The G35 is a much stronger effort.


Also, what's going on in your trunk? It looks like a scene from Repo Man.
 

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Head-In-Sand Dumbass
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I have yet to drive the IS300 5spd, but I must say I enjoy the aesthetics of that car very much. It's got that distinctive japanese aggressive styling that reminds me of the Skyline and Evo.

Performance-wise, the automatic was certainly not up to par with the 330 (to which I did my comparison) but I would say that it easily felt more "punchy" than the 325 auto. I could never really get over those eshift buttons though, uhg.

Anyhow, I obviously opted for the 330 and I'm glad I did. Perhaps I'll give another look at the IS3 when the 'vert comes out. :)
 

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It was made to compete with the 2.8L 328i and couldn't even beat it in any category :bigpimp:
 

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Explore the space!
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Guys - when you quote long messages, please only quote the portion you're responding to. If you're replying to the whole thing, either don't quote any of it, or just the first line, to indicate to whom you're responding.

And while I'm at it, when you quote messages with pics -- take the pics out! There's nothing more frustrating than scrolling through the same set of pictures twice.
 

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I also drove an IS300 and decided to go with a 325I during my car selection "phase". The IS300 is a good attempt but looks too much like a Honda Civic with a Lexus badge on it. I also dislike the antenna location and looks. The IS300 did have a nice 2nd gear though.

I also disliked the center console. It looked cheap and out of place, I was not impressed with the BOSE stereo, I thought the BASS was lacking and the stereo volume would not get very loud at the highest setting. I was more impressed with the HK setup, I will still probably add a sub or two to my setup when my car arrives but the Bose just didn't cut it in my opinon.

The shifts were smooth and precise. The only complaint is that when I was taking my test drive I switched from 3rd to 4th gear and the shift knob came off and would not screw on tight. I think I stripped the grooves on the shifter, the dealer said that the knob comes often on these cars, not sure why?

Anyway just my $0.02 on the car. A nice ride otherwise, just think you get more value/performance/styling with a 325I
 

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Ackster . . . nice write up, thanks for taking the time !!

I agree about the seats in the IS300 . . . I found them too flat and like oyu said, though I don't find them uncomfortable, they just aren't comfortable.

My only real dislike with the IS300 is the interior. I think they should have given it a 'Lexus interior' instead of a cheap plastic interior. Sheesh, even the new toyota Corolla has a much nicer interior.

I happen to love the aggressive looks of the outside and I think it drives really well.

If you get a chance, would you mind posting a picture of your friends car ?
 

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planet said:
Guys - when you quote long messages, please only quote the portion you're responding to. If you're replying to the whole thing, either don't quote any of it, or just the first line, to indicate to whom you're responding.

And while I'm at it, when you quote messages with pics -- take the pics out! There's nothing more frustrating than scrolling through the same set of pictures twice.
Excellent points, I couldn't agree with you more . . . maybe you should ask Clem to put this as a must read
 

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Ackster said:
I found this pic over at E46fanatics of an IS300. :yikes: Why do people actually think this looks good?
I have no idea, I never understood the craze over putting M3 lip spoilers on regular E46's either. :D
 

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Ackster said:


For that comment you lose your PS2 privileges in my car next Saturday. :p

BTW, are you actually planning on stopping by?
I want to, but I really, really shouldn't. My exams start on the 19th and I'm way behind in one class. I had to even book the past week and the next 2 weeks off work because there is just too much studying to do. :(
 

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Ackster said:
I'll goto either audio or car shows, it doesn't really matter. I love both. Is anything else going on in TO soon?
Darknights is arguably the best show here, July 13th & 14th. Huge outdoor show, held at the Markham Fairgrounds which is just North of the city. I can't find the site, guess it's not up yet. But trust me, when you're up here ask anyone about Darknights, they'll know. ;)
 

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I've got both an IS300 and a 330ci which i have worked. My IS is bone stock and I have to admit, I have fun driving both. I drive each one as hard as the other. Sometimes the IS is actually more fun. Each has it's pluses and minuses. For the money, I definitely think the IS is worth it. My bimmer is about 10 grand or so more than the Lexus. I wouldn't necessarily discount it as being anything less than a true driver's car. Hope your buddy never sees this thread because I'm sure he likes it just as much as you like your car.
 

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If you are going to make comparisons at least compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. You are trying to make a case for your 330ci which costs 1/3 more than the IS300 5speed. If you can fairly make this comparison then I can compare your 330 to my M3 and if I did that I'm sure the 330's steering wouldn't be as tight and suspension wouldn't be as firm. In addition when you say that the Japanese have nothing on the Germans, how about ultimate reliability? How many times has your buddy's car been back to the shop since he picked it up? I'm not knocking your ride, but I do feel that your arrogance is unneccessary. You can love your car without hating others. We are all car lovers and we should respect each other's pride and joy.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
XSspeed said:
You can love your car without hating others. We are all car lovers and we should respect each other's pride and joy.
Did you read my post all the way through?

Ackster said:
Overall, I did like the IS 300. I wouldn't ever give up my BMW nor would I buy a Lexus, but it is a nice car for the price.
I do like the IS300. I was just comparing the BMW with the Lexus b/c that is what so many other car magazines have done. This was my first time getting to test the IS300. I wasn't knocking my buddies ride, I was just noting some things that I liked/disliked. I'm sure my friend could pick apart my car and tell me what he liked/disliked.

In addition when you say that the Japanese have nothing on the Germans, how about ultimate reliability?


I was only talking about steering feel, nothing else. I never said the BMW is a more reliable vehicle. . .

You are trying to make a case for your 330ci which costs 1/3 more than the IS300 5speed.


Check out the latest Car & Driver that compares the Acura CL Type-S (retails at $31,050) vs. the BMW 330Ci (comparably equipped at about $40,000). Most car companies are trying very hard to knock BMW from the top of the hill (Lexus, Acura, Infinity) and these are the comparisons we read about almost every month in car magazines. The huge difference between all of these cars is price, yet the magazines compare the two.

The IS300 has 215 HP vs 330Ci of 225 HP. Both are 5-speeds. One's a coupe and the other's a sedan . . . ok ya got me. Check out the Lexus web site where you can compare the 330i to the IS300 5-speed. If Lexus compares the two models, why can't I? It's not like I was putting my car up against a Ford Focus.

I'm sorry if you felt I came off as arrogant. This was not my intention.
 
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