Popular Mechanics Compares the 2010 Lexus HS 250h vs. BMW 335d

2010 Lexus HS250h vs. BMW 335d

Popular Mechanics has posted a rather awkward fuel economy comparison between the hybrid Lexus HS 250h and diesel BMW 335d—what starts off as a fuel economy showdown ends up being a driving contest that’s over before it even begins:

Our drive took up through the Santa Monica Mountains high above Malibu to test the handling of these two sedans. And no, it doesn’t take long to realize the BMW is in another league, with fluid, organic steering and a chassis that encourages you to press on just as hard as the road and your bravado will allow…The HS250h has all the sporty boxes checked off. The chassis calibration on our Touring model is firm, with little body roll. And the steering is quick with good grip from the 18-inch tires. The Lexus can handle corners at a surprisingly good clip. But the driver and the machine do not meld into one seamless unit like the BMW.

I know, it’s shocking that the rear-wheel drive 265hp 335d (with its 425 lb.ft of torque) would outperform the front-wheel drive 187hp HS 250h, but what about the fuel economy?:

Our fuel economy test took us from Santa Monica up through the mountains to Santa Barbara and on the 101 freeway to San Luis Obispo before returning home for a total of 390 miles. Over this route, the BMW returned 33.6 mpg and the Lexus delivered 34.7 mpg—just about 1 mpg better. If this test had been skewed more toward city driving, we expect the Lexus would have provided a more serious fuel economy advantage.

So, rather than a more balanced route that included some in-city driving, this fuel economy comparison takes place entirely on the highway, even though that clearly favors the diesel engine?

Whatever—the HS 250h still managed to return better gas mileage than the 335d, and that was the whole point of the article, right?

Cost no object, we’d probably choose the BMW and its addictive diesel thrust. But if performance is less important than price or fuel efficiency—and $12,000 is a lot in this economy—the Lexus would be our pick.


[Source: Popular Mechanics]



  1. Haha, so stupid LOL

  2. at least the HS won somehow, so that’s nice

  3. This is definitely a weird comparo, and the HS still won.  But when the IS hybrid comes out, that is the more natural competitor.

  4. There already is a natural competitor ... the IS220d that is sold in the European market.

  5. There’s always the “but…” at the end of these car reviews. Could be good or bad. Sounds good in this case.

  6. The IS220d gets:

    city: 33 mpg
    hwy: 49mpg
    combined: 42 mpg

    Pretty crazy

    And I understand that it has 177 hp and goes 0-100 kph in 8,9 seconds.

    But it has a manual transmission sad

  7. In all fairness to each car, they both have thier strenghth and weakness.

    I am sure most will agree that the BMW will be the better car for the open-road while i reserve nodoubt that the HS250h would be the choice for urban commuting.

    However ... as i stated above, the IS220d which unfortuantely is only sold in Europe is the rightful competitor against the 335d.

    Now that an open-highway comparison has been completed, i will patiently wait for an all-urban test ... gotta be fair about these things - right !!

  8. the difference is that you get that mileage on the HS without having to fill the tank with expensive diesel. Diesels caught on in europe because it is cheaper there and more abundant, in the US there are very few diesels. If i had one i would have to drive down the free way just to fill up.

  9. I’m surprised Lexus are actually gonna allow regular gasoline. I wonder what the difference would be with premium fuel, which here in CA, would be a 91 octane rating.

  10. The BMW 335d is considered, in Europe, a performance car. Most owners chiptune it, owners of M3’s are quite angry with BMW that a 335 (with chiptuning) can easily keep up with them. Anyway, If you’re looking for a fast diesel the 335d or the 535d is the way to go.

    The HS is a car that is indeed not in the leage of this. Its a family car that makes good combined mpg. Might as well put the prius up against the BMW. Or a Toyota IQ against a Hummer and then complain that the off-road qualities of the IQ suck.

  11. Oh yes, what I forgot to mention, we testdrove the RX450h on the autobahn last week. And guess what, we managed to get the overall consumption of the RX to 15.6mpg. (at 213 km/h the limiter kicked in)

  12. 16 mpg is pretty good for such a huge car with 300hp.

  13. Hube - You have a humourous (spelling) way of putting things, you make me laugh !!

    As for the RX, i like the new model with the styling slowly but surely growing on me and dare i say ... should age with grace.

    However, to better suit European tastes and even those in other markets such as Australia - a diesel option would be nice.

    Don’t get me wrong, i whole-heartedly support hybrid technology but i would also like to see Lexus make more diesel donks available to help broaden the appeal of the brand.

    As it stands, only the IS220d is available but i believe a diesel engine such as the DI 4.5 V8 would do the LX justice and the DI 3.0 (also from the Toyota stable) placed into the RX and pehaps the GS.

    Designation codes would obviuosly be LX450d, RX300d and GS300d. This would complement Toyota’s class leading hybrid technology and regular petrol models.

  14. A lot of car these days just don’t age that fast… maybe get a little boring, but the cars just don’t get old.

    - more integrated bumpers
    - better build quality
    - shiny, metallic paint
    - chrome (tastefully placed)

  15. didnt i say they’d do a pointless comparison like this? might as well compare the ES to the 5 series…ps krew, i like the new check boxes

  16. smile

    A car is as economic as your foot is heavy smile

  17. i have flat feet…so where does that put me? wink

  18. never mind theres no new check boxes, mustve been the internet explorer at the dealership, thats where i wrote the above comment.

  19. The 220d is NOT a natural competitor to the 335d. Not even to the 325d, but rather to the 320d. 220d and 320d both have fourcylinder 177bhp engines. Not to badmouth the Toyota diesel (it was good when it hit the market), but it is not in the same league as the BMW I6 diesels. Even the 3.0l 325d beats the 220d on CO2 emissions.

  20. As a 335d driver, I find this article (the PM one) problematic and unfair from the outset. 

    Folks who educate themselves on the hybrid/diesel issue (have a pretty good idea that hybrids excel on an urban circuit, where regeneration and recovery of braking energy can be re-used several times over.  If, on the other hand, you drive long distances with relatively little variation in speed, there is little thermodynamical argument against the Diesel-cycle efficiency over the Otto-cycle, and the regenerative use of braking energy is such a small factor, that it gets swallowed up in the (equivalently powered [HP-wise] level) difference between diesel efficiency over gasoline. 

    The HS 250h is a very nice car, and especially in an suburban or suburban setting is a great way of enjoying getting from A to B while still having low emissions and low fuel consumption.

    What I’d really like to see is a diesel-based hybrid…long range efficiency AND good stop-and-go economy.


  21. The sentence in the second last paragraph should have had read: “...especially in an urban or suburban setting…”

  22. Poor transmission that has to take the torque of a diesel AND an electric motor. Until we can work out an efficient way to control electric power, I think the best mate for an electric motor is a gas engine with high-end (4000rpm) power.

  23. Just to be clear, the prior gen Lexus hybrids use the Otto cycle, the RX 450h and HS 250h use the (even more efficient) Atkinson cycle.

  24. supposedly, it’s not a true Atkinson cycle.

  25. The BMW 335d is worth a look for its speed and frugality!!I really like this car- even though BMW claims it has made 2500 changes to the 2009 3 Series, but you have to look hard to see the effects of this facelift smile