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Old 26th September 2021, 12:54   #1
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Default Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Hi BHPians,

I have been considering purchasing a car in the 55-60 lakh range with a stretch to about 70 lakh for about a month. I wanted to reach out to the forum to seek some views and guidance based on the forum members' knowledge and wisdom, but unfortunately my membership came through only yesterday before which I have already made my decision.

Before sharing what decision I have made, I wanted to share my thought process. Would welcome view's regardless of the fact that the car is already booked.

Background -

I live in Mumbai and my current car is a Honda Civic. I was not sure whether to choose a*sedan or an SUV.
  • - The car will be self driven, generally within the city and occasionally*outside on long drives.
  • - Average running will be less than 10k kms per year. Below are some of the considerations
  • - brisk driving style when the road and traffic allows
  • - Office is close by, at least the current one
  • - Family of four will travel together once every 2-3 months on trips outside the city. One of my children is fairly young at 7 so does not need much space
  • - Parents in their late 70s would join on occasion within the city. Chances of going outside the city with them are unlikely to be more than once a year. (Could hire an SUV?)
  • - Personal preference is sedan but after owning the Honda Civic, I worry about 3 things - bumps and potholes in Mumbai roads, ingress / egress for parents, long ride comfort in the driver as well as rear passenger seats. This is the only reason to look at a SUV but again preference has always been to get a sedan.
  • - Plan to keep the car for a long time - 7-10 years.

Cars that I considered in the 55-70 lakh budget are below Have test driven all of the below
  • - Audi A6 35 TFSI Technology which is the higher variant - A good all round balanced car - good to look at from outside and perhaps the best looking dash, cockpit and everything in and around the steering, gears etc. Decent to drive, reasonable space at the back but the transmission tunnel is a kill-joy and three people will jostle for leg space, decent boot, and good features. Things to worry - longevity of brand in India, after sales service, possible discontinuation of petrol model and move to all electric in 2-3 years. With huge discounts the top trim is in the 62-63 lakh range on road Mumbai. This includes 5 years extended warranty and service.
  • - BMW 330 Li M Sport - Great back seat space but the third person will struggle with leg space and firm seats given the transmission tunnel, Decent interiors, good to drive. It is a segment down compared to the AUDI and was unsure if I should look at the segment. Relatively smaller boot space. I am not sure what additional value that the 5 series brings in (Which I also test drove). Should be in the 60 lakh range on road Mumbai. Includes 5 year extended warranty and service package.
  • - Lexus ES300h exquisite - Great looks from outside, luxury feel inside but the test drive car that I drove looked jaded from inside. Drive was plush but not too performance oriented. The infotainment system is not a touch screen. Has a lot of features, rear seat space is good and the transmission tunnel is lower so relatively easier on the third person's leg space but the headroom is slightly less and not sure if the shoulder space for three is very comfortable.. Great mileage and the fact that it is relatively easier on the environment makes it attractive for us. At 69 lakhs on road mumbai (for the exquisite, which is the lower variant), price is on the higher side. Includes extended warranty and service package.
  • - Volvo S-90 - Again a good car with nothing to complain about with class leading space and fully loaded. But the diesel version is going off and a new petrol or petrol hybrid is coming soon. So I'm not sure what to do. The current diesel was around 69-70 lakhs on road without discounts. The dealer told me that a petrol hybrid is on the offing and is likely to be out in October and in white colour with the price in the 73 lakh bracket. So perhaps if they give discounts it will be at the same 69-70 lakh bracket.
  • - Skoda Superb - great package and fantastic pricing. But we are not considering it. The feeling that I got was that if I have to pay 45 lakhs for a car that does not have a badge, then as well buy a cheaper car and be done with it. No sound logic behind this thinking, but that is what it was
  • - BMW 5 series petrol (To be noted that after preliminary discounts it is in the 74lakh range ). Very good to drive, good features. Rear seat legroom was ok, not great and boot was slightly smaller.
  • - Did not consider E class since it would cost me at least 77-78 lakhs.
  • - GLC200 petrol - Mercedes badge is good but somehow I did not like the front dashboard. Did not look like a premium car to me. On road Mumbai around 65-66 lakhs.
  • - XC60 petrol- Nothing to complain about. Fully loaded, competent car. Though the Volvo badge is not the most attractive to us. Also, the price is on the higher side. At 73 lakhs it is on the higher side. Even if one were to consider discounts, it will not be much.

Some of the questions I had meant to ask the forum
  • - Should I consider a SUV or continue to stay focussed on a sedan?*
  • - If it is a sedan then is Audi A6 worth considering, or should I focus more on BMW 3 series Limo or Lexus?
  • Or hunt for big discounts in the BMW or S90?
  • - If for some reason, I should go for an SUV should I consider the XC60, BMW X3 or wait for Audi Q5 (assuming Audi as a brand should even be considered). I did not like the Mercedes GLC.

So now the decision

Have chosen the Lexus ES300h luxury - which is the higher variant at ~75lakhs on road Mumbai. Closest contender was Audi A6.

  • - great to look at from outside and distinctive and given the lower no. of sales, feels a bit exclusive.*
  • - Heard that it has the best reliability in the segment, good ownership experience and low after sales issues
  • - Hybrid motor is easier on the environment and would be something that will continue to be in vogue at least for the next 7-10 years, or in any case will be more prevalent than pure fossil fuel models
  • - Went for the luxury model because it had the blue colour that we liked. The exquisite only had the black and other colours. Also, we wanted the Mark and Levinson audio system. Yes the luxury variant comes with HUD, wireless charger etc., but those were not really considerations.
  • - Fully understand that compared to the other cars in the segment this will not be as much fun to drive. But given the brisk driving style, I felt that I will still be faster than most on the road even if not the fastest I could be.
Contender was Audi A6
  • - Overall liked the exterior looks and liked the interiors more than any other car- Very good balance of drive quality, features, practicality (boot and rear space) etc.
  • - Only thing that worried and was the overwhelming decision criteria was worry on after sales and reliability. Not sure how true this is, but it weighed on us.
Eliminated the BMW 3 Li because it was a segment lower (yes, it is not rational thought process), the BMW 5 series because I did not understand why I should pay the premium over the 3Li other than some features.

Eliminated the SUV because there were only 2 options really
  • - Mercedes GLC petrol - which I did not like the interiors and did not feel plush.
  • - Volvo XC60 - good overall package - but was not enthused with the Volvo brand, worry about long term maintenance costs and reliability.
  • - BMW X3 - never got to test drive, because the two dealers did not have a test vehicle and perhaps were waiting for a facelifted version.
  • - Land rover discovery sport - was out of budget plus did not read good reliability and after sales reviews.

Please do share any views you have and thanks for a patient reading. The car
will only be delivered around 15th October so have no pictures to share at this point.

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Old 27th September 2021, 08:48   #2
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Originally Posted by Vaahan View Post
Should I consider a SUV or continue to stay focussed on a sedan?
Only you can answer that question and it boils down to personal preferences. The practicality of crossovers is undeniable, although many of us are happily touring across India with a sedan.

If it is a sedan then is Audi A6 worth considering, or should I focus more on BMW 3 series Limo or Lexus?
I love the A6 and it's a heck of a luxury sedan. Timeless styling, lovely turbo-petrol, balanced suspension, nice cabin & heavy discounting.

Have chosen the Lexus ES300h luxury
One really cannot go wrong in terms of long-term ownership with a Lexus ES. But it does have downsides = the very-identical Camry is significantly cheaper, the ES is very overpriced and its not as much fun to drive as the Germans.

Personally, I'd go for the Audi A6 or BMW 5-Series / 3-Series LWB if I had a budget of 70 lakhs. The Germans have significantly improved their reliability levels in the last 10 years. I would prefer to have driving pleasure for 358-days of the year and my German being in the workshop for 7 days, rather than 363-days with a car that's nowhere as much fun to drive and spends only 2 days in the shop. Also, look for discounts on the 530d variant whose 6-cylinder motor will blow you away. If you don't, no sweat = the Audi A6 2.0 turbo-petrol and BMW 530i are a load of fun too.

Last edited by GTO : 27th September 2021 at 08:55.
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Old 27th September 2021, 09:11   #3
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Lexus experience in India is not upto the mark in comparison to BMW or Mercedes. Surprisingly it is the Lexus that broke its AC repeatedly within months of purchase and their after sales experience left a lot to be desired. Eventually the customer settled for a 3 years complimentary service package in exchange for all that hassle he had to go through. No telling when that Ac will give up again. It appears that they have not tropicalised that car enough for our road and weather conditions.

In this price point at least in India, stick to a BMW or Mercedes.
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Old 27th September 2021, 09:19   #4
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

My pick: BMW 3 GL petrol

I have been helping my friend with the exact same predicament although he wants to stick to sedans only. The closest he got to a crossover / SUV is the XC 60. He finally left it to a final shortlist of upcoming Camry [~49/50L]; Lexus [~68L for base and ~72/73 for the higher variant]; A6 (Tech) [~62/63L] and BMW 3 GL [~58/59L for base petrol; 62’ish for M Sport].*

* - I could be marginally off on the negotiated numbers. I’m speaking from general memory of my discussions with him.

Personally, based on your facts, I would recommend the 3 GL in petrol guise for hassle free 7-10 year ownership with modest running.

The Audi A6 is more feature laden but in terms of comfort the 3GL is right up there with (IMO) a better driving experience. The A6 post discounts can be had in Mumbai for about 63 lakh or so, while the regular petrol 3 GL is for about 58/59. The M Sports is right now a Pro version (with some reduced features due to chip shortage so please do consider whether it makes sense for you).

Lexus - I would say consider the base version as well because the price difference is meaningful and take a call whether the extras between the two versions is important to you.

Finally, it comes down to what you prefer. If I was in the market for a Lexus, I would simply be too tempted to save some money and buy the Camry instead. Equally at about 59 lakh, the BMW 3 GL is just too tempting a prospect over either of these. It’s MUCH better to drive. It’s within strike range of the Camry if you’re in a 60L (+/- 10 lakh range) and its a sizeable saving over the Lexus.

If you can afford it, then the 530i is superior of course but the 3 GL really makes one question whether the extra 10 odd lakh is worth it to pay for the 5. The adaptive suspension is the big win but other than that the 3 GL makes a strong case for itself.

Finally, an end note, the 3GL boot will be the least when compared to the A6 and even the 5 series maybe. Do consider if its big enough for your travel needs before taking the plunge.

PS: I have heard from many that prices are going up on 1st October (at least for BMW not sure about others). Not sure if it’s true but please do factor this in when deciding.
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Old 27th September 2021, 09:46   #5
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

The segment of cars you’re hovering in, is already full of top notch cars which have their own characteristic talents (and downsides too) and all of them are great in their own way. I believe you should just go with your subjective choice, as, a Toyota/Lexus can never be a bad choice especially if you’re keeping it for a long duration.
The extra premium you’re paying now for the car is going to balance the service/ maintenance cost in the long run.
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Old 27th September 2021, 09:58   #6
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

That's a well written "what to buy" query :-) Welcome to team-bhp!

Every car comes with a few compromises and I feel Lexus ES is probably the best option. Had it been "mostly-highway" usage, ES would pale in comparison to say BMW 5 series. However for predominantly urban usage, ES is a very strong contender. The only hard pill to swallow is that Camry Hybrid is almost the same car sans the badge at a much cheaper price with outstanding service and support. It is not that easy to convince oneself to pay that much more for Lexus brand but unfortunately Camry Hybrid looks a bit weird and lacks the prestige of the big boys.

If you enjoy driving and have opportunities to drive (highways, late nights, early mornings), I would highly recommend 5 series (530i) and you should beg your family to "adjust" with limited space and boot. This is the ultimate reward you can give yourself if you are a driving enthusiast and worth subjecting family to "minor but acceptable" inconveniences.

The rest of the choices in your list in this budget range don't particularly standout. SUVs are needlessly expensive and come across as one or two segments lower compared to similarly priced sedans. Audi/VW do not offer the reliability and service culture that is expected at this budget - good cars if you have a lot of time on your had to find out "how things work". Volvo cars - great build and material quality but average to drive and they keep making noises to suggest they will pull the plug on ICE cars. Not a fan of E class long wheelbase - too much personal sacrifice for the sake of family :-) I haven't driven 3 series LWB but I would bet my money on 5 series - you will surely discover the "value engineering" of 3 LWB.

There are happy owners in each camp so it all comes down to personal choices but I feel ES and 530i are standout choices depending on what you prioritise (congested urban commute vs open roads).

Last edited by androdev : 27th September 2021 at 10:04.
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Old 27th September 2021, 10:09   #7
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

I think you have made the right decision here. If I am in the market at this price range, I will only consider the Lexus and BMW. And ES300h has slightly more points than BMW in my book for the simple fact that it is a hybrid. I feel it should also be slightly more reliable than BMW. The future is about hybrids and you should fully expect knee-jerk reactions from government bodies against fossil fuel vehicles in every city in the near future. ES300h future proofs you from a lot of those aspects.
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Old 27th September 2021, 10:24   #8
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

If you want exclusivity, then will suggest you to stick with the Lexus ES300h, it is a brilliant all-rounder for the city.

Infinity BMW (Worli Branch) should have a X3 30i test-drive vehicle, if you’re keen I can share my SA’s number.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:00   #9
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

If you are willing to consider cross-overs, wait for Skoda Kodiaq launch in December / January. It will be spacious, will carry the entire family for that occasional out-station trip, will be easy to get in & out for parents. Only down side is that its a petrol and mileage will be meager.

If you want to continue with Sedans, go ahead with Lexus - cannot go wrong with an Lexus in the long run.
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Old 27th September 2021, 11:43   #10
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

I think for your particular use case, a sedan makes perfect sense. An SUV would be overkill IMO.

That said, the Lexus ticks almost all your boxes, except the one itch of driving spiritedly when the occasion presents itself. If that is a matter of significance, I would suggest the 330 Li M Sport instead. BMW is no Lexus when it comes to reliability, but it is pretty damn good, and a 10 lakh + price difference is nothing to be sniffed at. Throw in the service package and warranty, and you're sorted for years to come.

The Lexus is definitely more elusive to spot on our roads, so it does have that rarity factor. And being a hybrid, it will offer you outstanding mileage too. The BMW more than makes up for it though in the fun department, and that better mileage does not justify a 10 lakh differential.

Eventually, it boils down to heart vs head a bit. Just close your eyes, ask yourself what you want most, and if an image of Scarlett Johansson comes to mind, reset and remember that we're talking about cars here. You're spending big, so go with what the heart wants more, the BMW and Lexus will be great buys either way.
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Old 27th September 2021, 12:08   #11
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

First of all, congratulations on being able to afford vehicles in the segment you’re considering.

If you’re going to drive primarily, my bias would be very strong towards BMW. For catering to family needs, 5 should be good. Haven’t seen the 3 long wheelbase version but generally the space, dashboard, audio and materials etc would be neater in the 5 than the 3.

For the love of driving, I wouldn’t select the Lexus, handling and dynamics will no way match that of a 5. The Camry is essentially the same vehicle as the ES 300 but with better underthigh support in the backseat (try it). Lexus reliability will never be a problem as Toyota will take care of you even if Lexus shuts shop. Seeing the abysmal numbers of Lexus sales, I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually do shut! However, Lexus definitely carries higher cachet than Toyota but for that sole reason I couldn’t justify paying 20L over the Camry. We had similar considerations before buying our 2021 Camry and I was torn about not getting a BMW but the running costs, coupled with hopeless roads of the city and softer suspension of the Camry for my parents nailed it in favour of the Toyota. That said, if you’re looking for a luxury experience, you’d be better off with a German or Lexus.

I hope I have confused you further
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Old 27th September 2021, 12:28   #12
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus


we were in a near identical boat, living in Mumbai.

Having owned a previous gen A6 & a host of sedans + given the car would primarily be used by dad who's in his late 60s - we considered SUVs first.
Right off the bat, the SUVs just didn't excite us as much as the sedan options. While they were capable for our speed breakers; the side to side swaying + price tag just didn't feel as nice as their similarly priced sedan counterparts (E vs GLC, 5 vs X3, etc.)

Our final shortlist was down to 3 options:
1) Lexus ES : We loved the Hybrid, the interiors and looks, feature list, space, and expected peace of mind. But we couldn't digest paying a hefty premium for the ES, especially as back then there were solid discounts on the pre-LCI 6GT which IMO is a brilliant car.
2) Audi A6 : Top option for buying new. It looked great inside-out, Audi came up with some attractive extended warranty plans and I had found some decent Independent Mechanics who could help service the vehicle once out of warranty. The troublesome Air Suspension was deleted and the car was overall very practical for someone looking for a mix of self drive + chauffeur drive.
3) BMW 6GT : Top Option for buying new. Undoubtedly, if the 6GT LCI was available at the prices then, it would have been our top choice. It didn't have the looks inside or outside to really tug at our heart which was a downer when spending so much, and I was concerned about the Air Suspension, but ticked every other box! This is one car I would look strong and hard at!

The other options were evaluated but written off: E Class (average ride and handling, high maintenance), 5 series (leg room, kit), 3GL (low seating, didn't feel as special coming from the A6 which truly set a high bar), S90 (low headroom, low seating, rear air suspension, etc.), etc.

Eventually came across a deal on a pre-owned ES CBU which we jumped at as it was a reasonable price for the vehicle, still under warranty, and after checking with the A.S.S. we brought her home.

Having lived with the ES for nearly 6 months, and with 1500km under the belt (thank you lockdown) here are my responses to some of your queries:

1) Ground Clearance : The Lexus is LOW. One has to be really careful on poorly designed speed breakers, especially with a full load. It clears 90% of the speed breakers, the 10% one has to be really careful! The 5 series isn't much better (maybe 92-93%).
Interestingly, I may put my money on the A6 for tackling them better.
On the highways it's not as much of an issue, but the roads in city need you to be careful - crawl over the bigger bumps / go sideways. I have certain routes planned out which avoid larger speed breakers, and if there isn't an option - I try and taken another vehicle. If this will be your only vehicle, it could be an issue for some city trips.
The way I see it, a carefully owner driven sedan is a more rewarding experience than an SUV. But if you plan to hand it to a driver, the SUV will be more abuse friendly for our roads.

2) Ride Quality : The lexus is superior to the SUVs as far as ride and handling is concerned.
However, unlike the stiffer Germans, the softer underpinnings do should over undulations.
For some reason they've dug up the roads and filled them up diagonally to the road, so the car does see some side to side movement on these unlike my F30 3 series running a stiffer upgraded suspension.

3) Service : The Lexus service center in Mumbai is based out of a Toyota Dealership. Compared to Mercedes / BMW it doesn't feel as premium to deal with. I was not very happy with my very limited experience there (and with Toyota service levels in general with our Corolla and Etios); but will be sending the vehicle for it's first service under our ownership this coming week & the service manager seemed quite cheerful and eager to help - hoping this service changes my views on this and I have a better place to send the Corolla too.
As you rightly said, Audi wasn't great to deal with. However with the extended warranty packages - fixing the vehicle is their headache now, and after the extended warranty period there are a host of competent independent mechanics.

4) Fuel Economy : I'm getting 15kmpl in the city. The last vehicle which gave my such a brilliant city fuel economy was the Etios! It's absolutely brilliant! For comparison, the Corolla gives 8kmpl, our diesel C220d gives around 11-12kmpl.

5) Performance : Given my daily is either a tuned 328i or a tuned S-Cross 1.6; I enjoy quicker cars and brisk drives when the roads allow me too. But with the lexus, you just enjoy driving peacefully. It's changed the way I drive and the only meter I look at is the energy consumption meter. After a day of work I don't feel annoyed when stuck in traffic, but it is actually a pretty calming experience!

In addition to that, the better appointed interiors, the silence and NVH, etc. have really won over dad & many of my friends. So far we're quite happy with the vehicle, but I would urge you to relook at the A6, and 6GT too once before making a decision.
The XC60 is expected with a facelift and a petrol heart so if you like the vehicle, negotiate hard for stock in inventory.

I wouldn't worry much about resale. After 9-10 years of ownership we sold our A6 in 2021 at par with what a similarly old 5 series / E Class would have commanded (Rs. 9.xL). Given the discounts on offer, even if you sell it for half what a 5 series / E Class would command - you would still be in the green factoring in interest and what not.
That being said, I expect the 530i to retain it's value better than the E200 due to limited numbers and enthusiast buyers.
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Old 27th September 2021, 12:51   #13
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Very similar predicament that I was when the pandemic started in 2020. I almost closed on the Lexus. I then, half heatedly tried the Camry and that’s when I realised that paying for the Lexus isn’t making sense.

Post a year, I ignore them both. Evaluated following.

1. The E class was way too high on price
2. BMW we’re pushing for the 3 series Li, but somehow it didn’t appeal to me
3. We reluctantly went to the Audi showroom, but the way they approached the whole process simply blew us away

I now own an A6. It’s a ‘pretty’ car that tugged hearts of my wife and I on first sight. Been 3 weeks and 3000km, and I’m finding excuses to go out.

I’ll say, if you like exclusivity and tenure of ownership, keep at the Lexus. We have a beautiful ownership review of the Lexus from MR Narayan here. Read that up and you won’t buy anything else. If not, selfishly, I’ll say, go with the A6. It’ll woo you over.
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Old 27th September 2021, 15:44   #14
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Originally Posted by Vaahan View Post
[*]- brisk driving style when the road and traffic allows
Just for this reason I would not choose the Lexus. We have a ES300 previous gen too and its the least fun to drive of all the options listed. The CVT gearbox just ruins the fun factory while doing a brilliant job at delivering smoothness.

My pick would be a base 530i. It would have enough luxury and a stellar engine that will put a smile on your face for years to come. The ES will feel boring in this dept soon enough.
If the 530i does ever bore you over the years, you also have an option of a remap to make it mental!
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Old 27th September 2021, 16:13   #15
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Default re: Booked the Lexus ES300h, but am unsure | Should I buy a German sedan instead? EDIT: Buying the Lexus

Test driven all the choices. Booked the Lexus even with the high price tag. Concerned about reliability/maintenance and plans to keep the vehicle for 7-9 years. Would say go for the Lexus.

Though in my case I would have simply choosen the Camry. But then again, mainstream brand and the Superb becomes a serious contender, which you are already not in favour of.

Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
Lexus experience in India is not upto the mark in comparison to BMW or Mercedes. Surprisingly it is the Lexus that broke its AC repeatedly... It appears that they have not tropicalised that car enough for our road and weather conditions.
I would agree that Lexus has not been aggressive in India and has kind of piggybacked on Toyota facilities, instead of going independent atleast in front of customers.

But about the 'not tropicalised' comment. Lexus cars have fared well in the beating heat of Arabia. Even the real home market, USA demands strong A/C. So it's not like the Europeans who have by design weaker air-conditioners. Going by Toyota India's history of importing UK spec as CBUs, is there any slim chance of us getting UK spec Lexuses? Pardon my stupidity. The only reason I ask is even though we are a RHD market, most Lexus models we get here have their control stalks in the LHD orientation. Before you ask, Lexus models in Japan and SE Asia have their control stalks the correct way. The only place where people have been forcibly used to the wrong orientation was in UK.
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