A compact luxury sedan/convertible that’s starting to show its age.
The Lexus IS sedan comes with two available V-6 engines, plus a V-8 for the ultra-high-performance IS F. Both of the six-cylinder models, the IS250 and the IS350, are available with all-wheel drive in place of the standard rear-wheel drive. The IS F is rear-wheel drive only. The IS F was the first Lexus with a true sporting bent; it competes with the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, even if it’s not quite as competent. Still, its 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 will fling this sedan to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The V-8 is mated to an eight-speed automatic with shift paddles. The IS F is dressed in an extroverted body kit and is upgraded with Brembo brakes and a stiff suspension (revised again this year). For those who want some of that sporty gear but don’t want to shell out $62,495 for the IS F, the F Sport Package has front and rear spoilers and a darker grille, seats with additional side bolsters, and other special trim. Mechanical F Sport upgrades (brakes, suspension, wheels, exhaust) are available as dealer accessories. There is no IS coupe, but there is an IS convertible with a retractable hard top. It’s available with the same powertrain choices as the IS250 and IS350 sedans’. The F Sport Package is now available on the convertible, whereas it was previously confined to the sedan.
new for 2013
The manual transmission has been dropped. The F Sport Package is now available on the convertible. The HD Radio features iTunes tagging, and Bluetooth now downloads your phonebook. There are also a couple of new colors.
Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and stability and traction control are standard. Precollision warning is included with the optional active cruise control. Lexus’s Safety Connect telematics system includes collision response, and a one-year subscription is included.
IS F is plenty quick
Typical Lexus refinement
All-wheel drive is available
Rear seat is tight
Retracted top eats up all the convertible’s trunk space
Base Price Range: $35,960–$62,495
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: IS250, IS250 AWD, IS350, IS350 AWD, IS250 C, IS350 C, IS F
BODY STYLES: Sedan, convertible, 4- or 5-passenger
ENGINES: 2.5L V-6, 204 hp, 185 lb-ft
3.5L V-6, 306 hp, 277 lb-ft
5.0L V-8, 416 hp, 371 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6- or 8-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 87.9–88.3 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (sedan) 13.0 cu ft; (convertible, top up/down) 10.8/2.4 cu ft