Lexus IS 350 F Sport
Bottom line: If you are shopping entry-level luxury and looking for an alternative to BMW and Audi, the Lexus IS Series — models 250 or 350, available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive — is a good place to start. The Lexus series offers good styling, comfort, safety and performance.
Ride, acceleration and handling: The Lexus IS 350 F Sport all-wheel-drive sedan gets good marks in all three categories.
Head-turning quotient: It has a bold, full-mesh, wide-mouthed face affixed to a fluidic body. It looks simultaneously aggressive and friendly. It certainly looks unlike anything else.
Engine/transmission: The IS 350 F Sport comes standard with a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 gasoline engine with variable valve timing (306 horsepower, 277 pound-feet of torque). The all-wheel-drive version gets a six-speed automatic transmission that can also be operated manually. The rear-wheel-drive version comes with an eight-speed automatic.
Capacities: Seating is for five people. Cargo capacity with all seats in place is 13.8 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 17.4 gallons of gasoline (premium grade is required).
Mileage: The IS 350 F Sport allwheel-drive sedan has three drive settings — Eco, Normal and Sport. Driving mostly in the Sport setting, I averaged 22 miles per gallon on the highway.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency braking assistance, traction and stability control, radar cruise control with precollision safety system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, electronic parking assistance, high-intensity discharge headlamps, and side and head air bags.
Pricing: The 2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport with all-wheel-drive starts at $$45,745, with an estimated dealer’s invoice price of $43,000. Estimated price as tested is $$50,000, including $3,4530 in options (mostly advanced electronic safety features) and an $825 factory-to-dealer shipment charge.