By on May 4, 2015

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Exterior -002

BMW moved over 140,000 3-Series’ last year in America. They didn’t do this by being the most luxurious option or by being the best handling option. (The truth is hard to hear, I’m sorry.) Instead, BMW did this by doing exactly what shoppers asked for; luxury car buyers want a comfy ride with a luxury logo on the front, good fuel economy and to read reviews that extol the track-day virtues of their car of choice. The average buyer will never be on a track, but it’s critical to know your car belongs there.

What BMW dealers don’t want you to know: there are two sedans in this segment that are arguably better on the track than a 328i or 335i and we’re talking about one of them today, the IS 350 F Sport.

Exterior

Lexus’ exterior styling used to strike me as graceful, sophisticated and reserved. Apparently, however, the front end got no respect on the Autobahn, so the F Sport nose was created. While I can’t say if it commands more respect in Germany, the ginormous grille on our IS 350 F Sport looked ready to devour small children and subcompact cars alike. While some folks have said they dislike the gaping maw, I actually like it. What I’m not a fan of are the separate headlamp and “Nike-swoosh” daytime running lamp modules; I find the look a little discordant. Whether you like it or not, you have to admit this front end is more dramatic than anything on offer from BMW, Mercedes, Audi or Infiniti.

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Out back, less has changed, with the rear being more reserved than the front. But it’s the side profile where things really divert. The IS is 3.5 inches longer than the last generation model and most of the increase goes to the rear seat area – although, some of it also goes to the trunk, making the IS look more balanced than before. Thanks to pedestrian impact regulations in Europe, the front end has become blunter (just as we have seen from the Europeans lately), which actually helps the front 3/4 view. I think the Cadillac ATS is the most attractive sedan in this segment, but the IS in F Sport trim leaps up the scale to number 3, just behind the ATS and 3-Series.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Interior -005

Interior

While BMW and Audi have opted for an open and expansive interior theme, the IS feels tight and close to the driver by design with a high beltline and tall center console. F Sport models get a configurable LCD disco dash instead of the white-on-black gauges we normally expect from the brand. Similar to Volvo’s new LCD instrument cluster, the display can seem a little lost in the binnacle as the binnacle normally houses a wider traditional dial cluster. Since Cadillac has yet to move their large LCD instrument cluster down-market to the ATS, there really isn’t any competition for this display at the moment.

As you’d expect from Lexus, one can still get acres of stained wood and soft leather, but neither are standard. Like most entries in this segment, leather is reserved for specific packages and wood is an optional upgrade. Front seat comfort proved excellent during my week. The sport seats easily bested the Audi A4, Cadillac ATS and the base seats in the BMW 328i or Mercedes C300. Wider folks should know that the bolstering is pronounced and the F Sport trim doesn’t have an option to delete the sport seats.

Thanks to the wheelbase stretch, combined legroom is up by 2.6 inches inside which places the IS towards the top of the group in total legrooom. Nobody expected the BMW 3-Series to grow as much as it did in its latest incarnation, which becomes quite obvious when you run the numbers. The 3-Series boasts the second best legroom figures behind the much larger Infiniti Q50. The Lexus offers a slightly larger trunk, but I found the overall trunk dimensions to be more advantageous in the BMW.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Interior -003

Infotainment

The 2014 redesign of the IS brought a raft of new features from traffic maps on non-navigation equipped models to predictive traffic, improved voice recognition and smartphone integration. Alas, the lord giveth and he taketh away. Along with the new software comes Lexus’ Remote Touch input device, or as I prefer to call it: the Lexus joystick. I find little joy in the mouse-like controller, but it is better than the trackpad you find in the NX. The controller is the textbook example of the difference between an intuitive input method and one that is optimized for use in a car. The joystick is intuitive, it’s just not well suited to a vehicle as it requires much more eye-off-the-road time. I grabbed a few friends and had them perform a few identical functions in the Lexus and a BMW with iDrive while I watched their eyes. It simply takes longer for you to find what you need in the Lexus system. Oddly enough, the same Lexus software without a touchscreen is one of the least distracting available, but you can only get that in the GX and LX. If you don’t buy navigation, you still get the 7-inch screen but trade the joystick for a rotary knob.

Lexus doesn’t offer any sort of heads-up display a la BMW, but you can gadgets like radar cruise control, Mark Levinson branded audio system, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Engine-004

Engine

Standing somewhat alone in this segment is a 100-percent naturally-aspirated engine lineup. While everyone but Infiniti has moved to a turbo four to fill the bottom end, Lexus has stuck with their tiny V6. (I’m not counting the 2.5-liter four-banger in the base ATS. Why? Who would?) Displacing 2.5 liters and sporting direct injection, the IS 250 is good for 204 ponies and 185 lb-ft of torque. [It’s the least powerful V6 currently on sale. -Ed] While many in the industry would once have complained about a base luxury model without an inline-6 engine, this V6 now competes with four-cylinder engines. Although a V6 isn’t as balanced as an I6, it’s miles ahead of an I4. The model we tested is the 3.5-liter V6 IS 350. Adding a liter bumps power to 306 and torque to 277. For reasons known only to Lexus’ product planning team, the 220 horsepower IS 300h remains forbidden fruit on our shores.

Lexus tends to be a cautious company when it comes to adopting new technology and, as a result, the 2.5-liter V6 and AWD models of the 3.5-liter have to make do with ye olde 6-speed automatic from Aisin. If you get the RWD version of the IS 350 that we tested, you get Aisin’s new 8-speed auto, a variant of the transmission used in the Corvette and select Cadillacs.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Instrument Cluster_

Drive

The naturally aspirated engine lineup is the first thing you will notice about the IS out on the road. Much like the 3.6-liter V6 in the ATS and the 3.7-liter V6 in the Q50, power builds in a linear fashion. This is quite different from the C400, 335i and other turbo entries which typically have torque and horsepower “plateaus” with sharp drops on either end. 0-60 acceleration in our F Sport tester came in at 5.6 seconds – not a bad time by any stretch. However, Volvo’s front-wheel-drive S60 T6 Drive-e will do the same sprint in 5.4. The purist in me prefers the feel and unadulterated sound a naturally-aspirated engine delivers, but the pragmatist in me realizes the C400, 335i, S4 and S60 T6 will all beat the IS to the freeway ramp. Opting for Lexus’ AWD system improves grip, but the loss of two gears causes the 0-60 time to stretch to 5.7 seconds, getting close to the less powerful BMW 328xi. AWD shoppers also have to live with an odd hump in the front foot-well caused by the transfer case and driveshaft to the front axle.

The responsiveness of the IS in tight corners demonstrates how much time Lexus spent engineering the suspension. The old IS came across as isolated, perhaps even sloppy, while this chassis is sharp and crisp. Every system feels like a team player, from the suspension to the transmission shift logic and the revised double-wishbones up front. The IS quite simply delivers the best feel in the corners and out on the track with every system tuned to near perfection. (Bear in mind we still have electric power steering, so it’s all relative.) The IS actually manages to feel a hair more precise, although not as engaging, than the E90 3-Series (previous generation). The F30 (current generation) has traded handling prowess for a softer ride and a ginormous back seat. And therein lies the rub: the change has improved BMW’s sales rather than stopping the gravy train. Meanwhile, the Audi and Volvo plow like a John Deere when they encounter a corner and the Mercedes feels just as you would expect – heavy and soft. The purist in me prefers the crisp handling and impeccable feel of the IS on a track. The pragmatist in me is keenly aware that feel doesn’t actually get you around a track. That’s where power comes in. Because of the power deficit, the 335i, S60 T6 AWD, C400 and S4 are all faster around your average track. If you’re talking autocross, the IS has a chance, but even the Volvo will beat it around Laguna Seca.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Headlamps

Competition

Comparing the IS 350 with the 335i seems like the natural thing to do – after all, they both have “3” in the model number – but a more apt comparison is the 328i. The IS 350 slots between the 328i and the 335i in both price and performance, but price is critical. Meanwhile IS 250 performs more like the 320i than the 328i.

The IS 350 F Sport manages to be a hair less than a comparably equipped 328i M-Sport, which is an excellent start. Despite costing a fraction less, the Lexus delivers considerably more refinement under the hood, better acceleration and more driving feel in the twisties. Our F Sport was notably less expensive than a Mercedes C300, and even when you add AWD to the Lexus, it’s still the more willing partner on your favorite mountain highway.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Exterior -006

Audi’s A4 ends up being around the same price as the IS 350 while Volvo’s S60 is the discount option. Both the Audi and the Volvo start as FWD vehicles but add AWD to compensate for their front heavy designs. Unless you step up to the considerably more expensive S4, the Audi comes across as underpowered and all versions of the A4 feel nose heavy in comparison. The Volvo has a similar weight issue up front but the Swedes will happily drop a powerful turbo engine under the hood, mate it to AWD and sell it for less than the Lexus. The resulting S60 R-Design will out-pace the IS 350 F Sport but the experience will be much different. The Volvo will be understeering like mad in the corners; the IS will feel balanced and poised. Unfortunately, the Lexus’ driver will have to enjoy the feel while looking at the S60’s tail lamps.

The Infiniti Q50 is the often forgotten competitor. Nissan’s luxury arm has never quite reached the same status as Lexus as far as brand perception – perhaps that’s why. Never the less, the Infiniti has good looks and a low price tag on its side. Even the $37,150 base model starts with a 328 horsepower 3.7-liter V6. It’s still slower than BMW’s 335i, but at 5.2 seconds to 60, it is among the faster options. If you want more power and better economy, Infiniti will sell you their hybrid version that scoots to highway speed in 4.9. Comparably equipped, the Q50 is about $2,000 less than the F Sport we tested, making it the best RWD deal in this segment.

2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Exterior -011

After a week with the IS 350, I’ll admit I was torn. The way the IS drives and feels on my mountain road commute is incredible. The way the IS feels on a track is alluring. And the value proposition is undeniable. Lexus’ well deserved reliability reputation and generally lower operating costs means the IS will cost less to own. All these things should mean my purist and pragmatic boxes will be well and truly checked. The Lexus has the luxury and track-day-diary cred to compete with the competition, but the infotainment system in the IS and slower 0-60 time keep the Lexus from being my choice in this segment. If my money were on the line, I’d live with Infiniti’s questionable steer-by-wire system and get the Q50S hybrid instead. You get more room inside, a 0-60 time matching the 335i and 31 MPG. While the IS 350 F Sport represents a good value against BMW’s volume 3-Series model, they still have nothing to compete properly with the 335i. Yes, the IS 350 F Sport feels better and road holds better than a comparably equipped 335i. But, as BMW has recently shown, perhaps going around a corner perfectly isn’t all that important after all.

 

 Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.2 Seconds

0-60: 5.6 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.8 Seconds at 100 MPH

Average Observed Economy: 20 MPG over 674 miles

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66 Comments on “2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Review (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Alex,
    While this particular type of car is irrelevant to me I just want to express my admiration and appreciation for your consistent standard of work. You are the Consumer Reports of video reviewers.

    I enjoyed your first glance at the HR-V and eagerly await your detailed review. Thank you.

  • avatar
    tedward

    It sounds like they’ve made a great product that puts them in a difficult position. The responsiveness they’ve dialed in, along with the price position, puts them right in the sweet spot to challenge bmws historic position. This is great except for the fact that those buyers are hunting out used six speed manuals or buying new three series cars with that transmission, which Lexus doesn’t offer. Meanwhile, current, not historical, shoes in the segment want rest seat legroom, a German badge, and are more drawn to the German styling aesthetic. The less impressive auto hurts them big time for these people as well, even if buyers can’t pinpoint why.

    Great write up by the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I’d probably have sprung for one of these if a 6MT were available. The car drives great with the 8AT, but I knew I’d miss having a stick shift. Oh well, they apparently know what they are doing as sales are up massively over the previous generation.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Thank God someone realizes the IS350 is in the same basic price bracket as a 328. Many stubbornly try to lump the 350 with the 335, the 250 with the 328, as if it is impossible to have an IS350 for the same price as a similarly equipped 328.

    Curious, you mentioned the Volvo plows around corners but then state it turns in better lap times. Was this based on actual track times you’ve seen or is this speculative?

    Regardless, Car and Driver rated this over the BMW 335 Msport, which surprised the hell out of me.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      “Curious, you mentioned the Volvo plows around corners but then state it turns in better lap times. Was this based on actual track times you’ve seen or is this speculative? ”

      Yes…I am somewhat curious about that myself.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Plainly this must be Race Car Driver “plowing”, since my behemoth XC70 doesn’t feel like it’s having trouble with corners even at speeds sufficient to make ESC kick in; I can only assume the S60 handles better.

        But I’m not a Race Car Driver…

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Acutal lap times on Laguna Seca at a private event. I too was surprised. It was a 2015 IS 350 F-Sport RWD and a 2015 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Same driver?

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          Yes. Same track. Same driver. This shouldn’t be surprising, the straights are long enough that Volvo’s turbo 6 has a big advantage. On a tight track the IS would be faster but the S60 T6 (300HP tune) is fast already with a 1/2 second faster 0-60 time alone and better 1/4 mile and passing time speeds and the R-Design gets 25 more HP and 54 lb-ft more torque than before giving it 77 lb-ft more than the IS and across a much broader range. The Weight is also quite similar 3,528 Volvo and 3,593 Lexus.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I looked at the 2014 IS and as mentioned the interior is a tight fit compared to my 2007 A3 of the time. I’m not sure why Lexus went that way, especially since the car looked larger on the outside. Considering the lack of a hatch and no manual box, I was very reluctant to shell out the premium for a Lexus.

  • avatar
    John R

    “The average buyer will never be on a track, but it’s critical to know your car belongs there.”

    Yes. This. Performance by association at work here. Something that certain manufacturers *COUGH* Honda *COUGH* have yet to appreciate. Do Lexus ES’s and FWD A4’s sell more? Yes, but their more hot blooded siblings bring the curious in.

  • avatar
    alexrcp

    I don’t understand why the intrusive hump on the driver’s side in AWD models isn’t more of an issue. This car was #1 on my list…until I test drove it. Don’t get me wrong, it drives wonderfully, but the lack of leg room on the footwell, busy dash, and tiny interior were all turn offs for a car at that price point. I’m no giant (standing about 6ft tall), yet I couldn’t see myself driving this on a daily basis.
    Q50 was the way to go. Stylistically, one could argue they’re both “aggressive”, but financially and comfort-wise, Infiniti won.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree the exterior AND interior styling of the current IS are pretty gross. The 80’s vibe plus red, minus any wood, plus fake aluminum. Yucky.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I notice the same thing on a lot of cars–why do the center stack & console have to be so wide that any of the space you’d expect from a larger car simply isn’t there?

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      Agreed on all counts. It may be better at it’s task, but then you have to look at it. Some may call that shallow; I call it being honest. Once, a buddy tried to set me up with a girl (he said she was ‘nice’, like the old Andy Griffith show once did in a story) because she was a spiritual girl (didn’t know he could read minds, either). Well, she wasn’t unattractive. But she didn’t do anything for me. No spark on first appearance. Nothing. Nice girl, nice looking, but just didn’t make anything spark, ya know? This don’t spark me either …

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “The average buyer will never be on a track, but it’s critical to know your car belongs there.

    What BMW dealers don’t want you to know: there are two sedans in this segment that are arguably better on the track than a 328i or 335i”

    So already this car is totally irrelevant to the normal American buyer!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I actually saw one of these, in white on the way to work today. It does not look appealing in the slightest, with its chops and hacks everywhere. The primary thing I notice is how the rear tail lamp lens cuts into the fender in such an unnecessary and unnatural way.

    From side view, there’s a bumper steep chop upward, and a fender panel line which is less steep and holds the tail lamp. Oh, and the door cut line is another angle, sharper than the fender panel line but not quite as much as the bumper. Heading forward, the rest of the side is without features entirely, until you round the corner at the front and get to the 21,000 headlamp details and 75% too much grille.

    This car will NOT age well. Especially compared to really any previous IS. The Altezza is almost classic JDM-in-US at this point, and the gen2 is dignified and serious looking enough to age well.

    It’s a mess. The Q50 AWD is a better car with a larger engine and nicer interior for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I don’t know if the 1st gen Altezza has aged that well. I know it’s classic tuner, but they all look like SEMA rejects now. I like the look of the 2nd gen though.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I noticed it the other day, when a guy came to give me an exterior paint estimate, and showed up in a later gen1 spotless IS300, in silver/black. It looked so nice with zero mods.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_IS#/media/File:Lexus_IS_300_Millennium_Silver_Metallic.jpg

        That’s a good lookin car!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Zero mods?!?! Wow. That’s impressive.

          I’d like a 2010 or newer IS F, but prices are too high. They are in Mustang GT territory with 40K+ miles. The Toyota UR V8 is goodness though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And doubly impressive considering his age – he was certainly younger than I, which is prime add-crap-mods age group.

            I think the F is one of those special things which will retain value too well.

            Just imagine how the LX-F will retain value! (Are they actually doing one of those – if they are I’ll haz a sad.)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I don’t mind the sharp angles everywhere. It won’t age well, but no shopper is keeping the car longer than 3 years anyway. What kills me are those Nike swooshes. What were they thinking?

      And yeah, Q50 all day over this thing. Which I’ll add, can be had without the drive-by-wire that Alex mentions.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        With a Lexus, resale value down the road is -always- a consideration!

        Though look at the SC, it holds value like a famous architect penned it, and it’s awful.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The Nike swooshes on all Lexuses are poor taste. The predator grille works on some models, but it’s just too damn big on most. The angularity is starting to get out of hand.

        Lexus has really been swinging away lately, and IMO, they’ve got a lot of strikeouts to show for it without a double much less a home run. (The IS went from a thing of beauty to yuck. The NX works, but that’s all. The RX is the illegitimate offspring of an Aztek and an elementary school origami assignment.)

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    Rear legroom is 32.2″. Oh, the humanity! When are the idiots at Lexus going to realize that people buying RWD compact sedans want limo-like space in the backseat? I hope they offer leg amputations as an option.

    (Yes, sarcasm.)

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I stand by my leg amputation comments about the ATS. I am in their target market according to GM management, targeted direct mailings, and what Caddy dealerships try to sell me.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Don’t no tall man got no time for ATS. I can’t imagine you being interested in any Cadillac at present time, really.

        They should know you’re a Ford guy.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I think we show up on Lincoln owner lists that Caddilac is trying to conquest. I’d think about buying a CTS. I drove one with the V6 and liked it. I can’t find a V6 model under $60K around here though. The best buy in a CTS is an AWD 2.0T from a dealer that really wants to lease one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “The best buy in a CTS is an AWD 2.0T from a dealer that really wants to lease one.”

            The least problematic version will probably be the 3.6/RWD but I hope you enjoy your time in Johan’s boutique attached to the service center.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I drove a RWD 3.6L. It was nice. Sticker was also $63K….

            I wouldn’t buy the 2.0T with AWD. The problem with that vehicle is that the Alpha Camaro is coming. It will be cheaper with a LS/LT V8. Why would I buy the CTS when a 400+ HP V8 is $10K cheaper?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Touché

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I feel like even $50k is plenty for any CTS which does not wear a V on the back.

            And I have a fundamentalist type issue with a Cadillac having the same size engine as a Golf, etc. and 4 cylinders.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I liked Jack’s plan about GM stuffing the LS/LT V8 in every ATS.

      • 0 avatar
        jmiller417

        Just picking a bit because the ATS’s small backseat has become such a thing even though it’s not unusual in the segment, like how every new Rolling Stones album is the best one since Tattoo You. I’m not bitter, though :)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I haven’t been in this IS so I assume that I’d have the same issue. As far as the Stones go, my favorite albums are Exile on Main Street and Let it Bleed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Rear legroom is 32.2″. Oh, the humanity!”

      This actually is a complete fail on the part of Lexus. Johan’s own ATS bests it at 33.50 in (incidentally its 35.40 in in Alpha CTS).

      http://www.cadillac.com/ats-luxury-sport-sedan/features-specs/dimensions.html

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        But are people who have to stuff other people into the back of a compact car typical Lexus buyers?

        I just don’t see the pertinence of back-seat criticisms for baby luxury cars. Won’t there be an Odyssey, Sienna or some other capacious kid hauler in the household for that?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Yes, we have a Lincoln minivan. However, as my wife also works, I must tote a child around everyday. If I want an entry level luxury car and I’m choosing between an A4, 3-series, C-class, ATS, or IS, I can only buy from the Germans.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I admit I know nothing about either luxury cars of child-toting.

            If forced to buy a small sedan I’d rather have a nice blue Corolla and spend the price difference on Viagra and artisanal soaps.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s a lot of soap and boner pills.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            S60 T6!

          • 0 avatar
            spw

            I have 2IS and two kids, they fit great in the back with the child seats (6 and 9yrs old)… i cant imagine back space becoming a problem until they are all grown up, especially since 3IS has more space in the back than 2IS.

            Now, put 4 big guys in 2IS in the back, and it wont work for long trips… 3IS might work though and in real life new 3 series wasnt more comfortable in the back at all – you kind of fall into the seat at weird angle.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I looked at one of these last year but the following issues put me off:

    1. 97% of dealer stock have the vinyl interior and it simply isn’t nearly as good as real leather. Leather only comes with the top spec package which will push the cost of the 350 to nearly $50k. For the F-sport edition, leather is not available at all.

    2. Even with the 3.5 engine, the car is no faster than a BMW 328 but uses a lot more (premium) gas.

    3. The option packages are odd. If you want the tilting mirror,s again you need to buy that mega-expensive option pack. Passenger lumbar support is not available at any cost.

    4. The mouse controller used for the infotainment system is no better than Cadillac’s awful touchscreen interface.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      On the positive side, bless them for going naturally aspirated. In the real world, I’d rather own that and be responsible for its reliability than any blower.

      On the negative side, wow, the left side of that gauge display is a mess. You can’t decipher anything. It’s a classic example of “styling” a dash rather than designing it so drivers can read it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Speaking of 3.5’s and NA, don’t the fuel numbers seem low for such a small car with a modern transmission and RWD?

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Seems to be par for the course. From NA straight six 328s to the G37 & Q50, these entry level sports sedans have a history of pretty dire EPA ratings. I think the AWD Bimmers and Infiniti were only rated to 25-27mpg highway. If I were purchasing a $40K car I’m not sure this would bother me.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            By the way, I asked because I have a VQ35HR, with similar power numbers, in a car which is quite a bit larger and heavier, is saddled with a 5-speed auto, and has AWD.

            And I can beat 20mpg. I think mine is rated 18/23.

            Edit: Edmund’s says rated 16/22.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Comparing the mileage of your car with however many thousands of miles behind you with Alex’s 600-something short term test is probably not a good comparison, but it is safe to say an AWD IS350 is not a fuel miser.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s true, but I don’t really count lifetime averages or what have you. I figure it per tank and take each data point separately.

            Also, I bought it in late October of 2013 and so far to date I’m just under 6k miles added. So I’m not driving too many thousands!

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            The IS350 AWD is rated 19/26, which is not TOO far from the 335iX’s 20/30; the 328’s 22/33 is almost significantly better.

            (3 gal/100mi vs 4 for the IS will add up … eventually.

            But while it doesn’t have the 328’s 0-60 time, it has torque a lot closer to the 335, which ought to matter for drivability and “passing”.)

            Anyone that cares that much about fuel economy is looking at the wrong sort of cars and the wrong price range in the first place…

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve had this car for a year, and get almost exactly the EPA mileage. On open level highway it will get up to 30 MPG. But no, it’s not the most fuel efficient car in it’s class. But it is the best drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “3 gal/100mi vs 4 for the IS will add up … eventually.”

            It’ll add up to 250 to 300 gallons over the course of a three year lease that you’re paying $20,000 for. In this class, a thousand dollars is noise.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The car may not be much faster than a N20-powered BMW, but boy is the engine more refined. The N20 is functionally a great engine but at this point its NVH characteristics aren’t suitable for the luxury market.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    In summer Lexus will launch is200t, with 8 speed gearbox. With a conservative ecu flash it will be faster and lighter than current is350 and with more mid range torque. So less weight = even better handling.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Drove the IS350 F sport twice but didn’t buy. A little snug up front, though comfortable enough. Refined, nothing really wrong with it. But two things popped up. First, the engine just didn’t get going till higher revs and you would have to really work it and use the paddles to keep it on the boil to “feel” fast. Second, the way Lexus was packaging options you had to take things you didn’t want to get those you did. So the car wound up costing a few thousand more than it had to. It would be a smart choice, but not the most fun, fast, or individualistic one.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Alex, the 8 speed Aisin is used in Caddies because the real GM 8 speed is made for the big V8s in trucks and is far too large. The Aisin is not a GM design but has GM specific mods applied by Aisin. You can read about them here:

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140821-8l90.html

    Turbo engines like BMWs have a flat torque plateau over many thousands of rpm, sure. For that reason horsepower rises steadily with rpm until torque drops off, it doesn’t plateau. Simple physics, mathematics.

    I dunno, disappointing stuff.

    Plus, the souped-up version of this 350 F-Sport, the RC350 F Sport was panned by Car and Driver in the May 2015 issue. With all due respect, I value their opinion quite a bit more than yours. They summarize “needs more power, less weight, better handling and a more intelligent interior”.

    You seem to think the car is some sort of giant slayer.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It’s really great to hear that you value Car and Driver’s opinion more than Alex’s, because here is a link to the comparison in which they rated this Lexus above the BMW 335 Msport and Cadillac ATS:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/habemus-papem-2013-bmw-335i-m-sport-vs-2013-cadillac-ats-36-2014-lexus-is350-f-sport-comparison-test

      They weren’t alone, Road and Track did the same.

      As always with buff books, caveat emptor.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The RC is a different animal from the IS because of its bastard IS/GS/IS-C history. It’s several hundred pounds heavier. The IS is a better performer and I would be shocked if it weren’t a better drive.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Did driving the car make you angry at railroad crossings?

  • avatar
    kramnamhoh

    Such a great looking car. I wonder why Lexus opted to not have the IIHS test small frontal overlap crashes in the new version of this car. The previous generation car had poor ratings in those types of crashes according to the IIHS. I also read on the IIHS website that 10,000 people die each year in those types of crashes. I won’t buy a car that doesn’t protect me well in that type of wreck. I called the IIHS and asked why the new version of the IS wasn’t tested for small frontal overlap and they said it was because Lexus did not want the test. I wonder if Lexus knows these cars don’t do well still and they don’t want public confirmation of it. I will have to keep my Honda Accord for now since it does great in that type of car wreck.


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