Lexus IS 350 F Sport

The Washington Post Sunday - - AUTOMOTIVE -

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.

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