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.

Wait—what?

[Source: Popular Mechanics]