I think you will find that the Lexus IS 250 get better gas mileage in both manual and automatic transmission when compared to the BMW 328i according the EPA fuel economy ratings for city and highway. (compared with BMW's base engine for the 3 series here in North America.
I am interested to know why you think the BMW is "a drivers car"?
I do not agree with this, the suspension is unnecessarily stiff to handle better, when an Audi will outperform in all aspects comparatively. If it is based upon design, then that is purely opinion and you are absolutely entitled to it.
I am tired of hearing people believe that because it's a BMW it means its better. Please drive a few competitors cars before making judgement, you might be surprised at how an S4 outperforms an M3 or how the up and coming Audi RS6 5.2 V10 Turbo compares to the current BMW M5.
Not meant to be taken as an insult, or personal attack, just please don't continue the "myth" about BMW's. There is much better already out there.
Sorry, but if you're talking handling in dry/rain a rear-wheel drive car will ALWAYS outhandle an AWD one. The best solution is a mid-engined, RWD vehicle like the Boxster, but obviously that is in a different class since it is a two seater.
Also remember the Audi is really a front wheel drive vehicle to begin with, whereas the BMW is purpose built with rear wheel drive.
Now I've owned more front wheel drive cars than rear wheel drive, but I know that rear wheel drive always wins out as far as handling. Think about it, a lot of weight is still on the front wheels that are driving the car.
The S4 may be a great car, but it is not a "canyon carver" like the BMW.
Now, that said, I've never read a glowing review about an "iX" BMW car, so if you must have all wheel drive Audi is the way to go (unless you want to go down a class to the WRX Subaru).
Good car value for money wise, but rattles in the dash, door trims and b pillars mar the build quality. Ride is very firm and steering vague.
I've experienced numerous rattles, leaky weather stripping and very noisy transmission and brakes after just 25,000 miles with my IS 250. Great styling, but that's where the love affair ends.
What? An AWD drive car will not "always" outhandle a RWD car. Are you crazy? Especially in the rain! When going around a corner at high speeds with only RWD, all the power is at the rear wheels, and if you apply too much throttle, they spin and the car loses controll. Why do you think the older Porsches had so much trouble with understeer, BECAUSE of the engine configuration, and they FIXED that by making some AWD cars. I Should know, I own one.
AWD delivers to vehicles better traction and power management in wet conditions.
For PROFESSIONAL drivers, they prefer RWD as they have experience in keeping the rear-end in check as well as their power management.
For the average driver, no way in Hell.
If the car was diesel powered, you probably won't have as good performance. Are there Lexus hybrids there like in the US?
Well, you need to compare apples and apples. Porsche is NOT a good example because, and I am assuming you own a 911 since it is available with AWD, the engine is located in the rear and therefore offers different handling dynamics to begin with.
The best comparison is front engined/AWD/RWD or mid-engined/AWD/RWD, etc.
And then there is also the issue of what type of AWD you are talking about. Subaru AWDs are essentially based on racing history and therefore are great for handling. But something like an AWD Mercedes is mainly more for traction, not sport handling.
I wish people would stick to the subject. Instead its starting to be an obsession about BMW. There is no doubt bmw's are great cars. The car reviews are objective and speak for themselves. No amount of car make envy will erase what everyone already knows. However I in terms of reliability it goes Lexus > BMW > AUDI. The IS 250 offers a great balance between, style, performance, and RELIABILITY.