Words: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
Exterior: The IS 350 F-sport is simply gorgeous. The ultra-aggressive front fascia demands attention with its massive grille and unlike other Lexus models in the past, the defined lines from the front end carry into the profile and rear as well. It’s very rare for a sedan to look this great from a side view. All of the razor-sharp body creases totally flow together from front to rear and that sexy synergy is something you simply never grow tired of. Even the rear view is attractive with it’s molded-in spoiler, cascading tail lights and bootylicious bumper. These dramatic exterior cues may turn a small percentage of potential buyers off but that polarizing effect is also what makes the IS exterior so unique.
Interior: The interior is nothing spectacular but it doesn’t need to be because like other vehicles in the Lexus line, it is quite functional and exceptionally ergonomic. The driving position is perfect and it seems that wherever your hands naturally lay there is the proper button, switch or piece of material underneath. The seats are comfortable while doing a great job keeping you planted while hugging corners.
A/V: I like the fact that Lexus is sticking to the non-touchscreen infotainment center controlled by the ‘mouse’ on the center console. This is much easier to use and the screen is simply too far away from the driving position to be leaning up and trying to touch the screen. All the controls are easy to use and the TFT instrument cluster is pretty darn cool. To top it off, the Mark Levinson audio system can take almost anything you can throw at it but as I found, it doesn’t handle bass too well at high volumes.
Performance: Although you won’t be winning any light-to-light street races in the IS 350 as the F-Sport package has literally nothing to do with horsepower or torque, the handling is down right track-worthy thanks to double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. The IS 350 F Sport handles corners and curves effortlessly while still granting you a little feedback from the pavement. Braking is a breeze even from high speeds and in tough situations. The horsepower-versus-handling conundrum is an interesting one when it comes to the IS 350 because part of me begs for another 100+ horsepower to really be able to utilize the amazing suspension. On the other hand, the engineers at Lexus may be on to something as anymore horsepower might tempt the average driver to test the outer limits and over step its intended use. In that respect, it could be argued that the horsepower/handling ratio is perfectly dialed-in for this Lexus..
Floss Factor: The Lexus IS is no longer a ‘chick car’ even though it’s still fairly small. The aggressive features certainly make you and your ride standout wherever you go and the reception is always positive. The 18″ wheels that come with the F-Sport package are a welcomed addition because they curb any appetite you may have to go purchase aftermarket wheels.
Power: 306 hp, 277 lb-ft
0-60: 5.6 sec
Gas Cash: 21 MPG (combined)