On the Road – Lexus IS 350 F-Sport [VIDEO]
One good way to consider the Lexus IS 350 F-sport is to think of it as the Lexus that believes it's German.
That's because the lovely little Lexus mid-sized sedan is so obviously aimed at the benchmark BMW 3-series. But the price/performance ratio makes this little rocket a screaming deal.
The IS model line starts with the 250 and a 2.5-liter V6 with 204 horsepower.
Add a liter and you add 102 extra ponies with the 350 F-Sport we tested. The exterior has been updated and it's now very chunky, angular and purposeful. But it would be hard to call it beautiful. Let’s stick with purposeful.
It also now sports that sharp, hourglass shaped grill and I can't decide if I love it or hate it. It's that kind of design. No one is neutral. I lean toward love.
The interior is lovely and very roomy. It's a little less classic than I prefer, but still a beautiful interior.
It has every button or gadget, but one I would ditch is the little computer mouse on the center console. The Lexus LX570 I'm driving now has one too, and it controls the curser on the center display screen.
If you look up distraction, you'll see a picture of this device. Imagine using a computer mouse while going 75 down the interstate. Put me down as a no.
Now here's something that automakers all think is very cool.
You can simply shift the automatic into drive or slap it over and shift up and down like a manual, or use the little paddles. My suggestion, leave it in drive.
Because frankly, the auto shifts so nicely, it's rather pointless to pretend. The IS 350 can reach 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds and tops out at 143 miles per hour if you're feeling brave.
Our IS 350 F-Sport topped out at just over $50,000. To put that in perspective though, that is where a 6-cylinder BMW 3-Series starts.
And that's the Lexus IS 350. Think of it as BMW fun at a Japanese price.