Used Luxury for Less: Lexus GS vs. BMW 5 Series

Used Luxury for Less: Lexus GS vs. BMW 5 Series

In the realm of used luxury sedans, two titans stand out: the Lexus GS and the BMW 5 Series. Choosing between these two can be a head-scratcher. They offer distinct driving experiences, feature sets, and ownership propositions. This guide will dissect the previous generation (roughly 2012-2017) of both vehicles to help you pick your perfect chariot.

Driving Dynamics: Thrill Seeker vs. Smooth Operator

The BMW 5 Series is renowned for its sharp handling and a driver-focused experience. Its steering is precise, the suspension delivers a communicative feel, and the engines, especially the turbocharged variants, pack a punch. It's a car that begs to be pushed on winding roads.

Lexus GS, on the other hand, prioritizes comfort and serenity. The ride is plush, the cabin well-insulated, and the V6 engines, while not lacking in power, deliver it smoothly. While not a slouch in the handling department, the GS is more suited for relaxed cruising than spirited sprints.

Interior Ambiance: German Precision vs. Japanese Opulence

Slide into a BMW 5 Series, and you're greeted by a driver-centric cockpit. The materials are top-notch, everything feels well-built, and the controls are logically laid out. However, the design might feel a touch sterile for some.

Lexus GS takes a different approach. The interior is a showcase of Japanese craftsmanship, with lavish use of leather, wood accents, and a focus on passenger comfort. The seats are supremely comfortable, and every detail exudes a sense of occasion.

Technology: Keeping Up With the Times

Both cars offer a plethora of features, but their approaches differ. The BMW boasts a driver-oriented infotainment system with a rotary knob controller. While powerful, it can have a steeper learning curve. The Lexus features a more traditional button-based system that might seem less flashy but is generally user-friendly.

In terms of specific features, availability will depend on the model year and trim level. Look for options like navigation, a premium sound system, sunroof, heated and cooled seats, and driver assistance features like blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

Reliability and Ownership Costs: Peace of Mind vs. Potential Pitfalls

Lexus has a well-deserved reputation for reliability. The GS is known for being a trouble-free machine, with low maintenance costs and minimal problems reported by owners. This translates to lower ownership costs in the long run.

BMWs, particularly older models, can be more temperamental. While the 5 Series isn't inherently unreliable, certain repairs can be expensive. Factor in the cost of routine maintenance and potential repairs when considering a pre-owned BMW.


Both the Lexus GS and BMW 5 Series have received excellent safety ratings from institutions like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US. They come equipped with airbags, stability control, and traction control. Additionally, higher trim levels might offer advanced driver-assistance systems like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.

Finding the Right Fit: Your Needs and Preferences

Ultimately, the choice between the Lexus GS and BMW 5 Series boils down to your priorities.

  • If you crave a sporty, engaging driving experience and prioritize handling, the BMW 5 Series is the clear winner.
  • If you value comfort, a luxurious cabin, and a reliable ownership experience, the Lexus GS is the better option.

Additional Considerations:

  • Year: Newer models will generally have more features and potentially better safety ratings.
  • Mileage: Lower mileage is preferable, but well-maintained higher-mileage examples can be good options too.
  • Service history: Look for a car with a clean service history to ensure it's been properly maintained.
  • Budget: Factor in the purchase price, potential repairs, and maintenance costs when making your decision.

Test Driving and Making the Choice

The best way to decide which car suits you better is to get behind the wheel of both. Take them for a test drive, pay attention to how they handle, how comfortable they are, and how user-friendly the controls are.

By carefully considering your needs, preferences, and budget, you can find the perfect pre-owned luxury sedan – a Lexus GS for serene comfort or a BMW 5 Series for a thrilling driving experience. Remember, there's no wrong answer, just the right car for you.

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