SPORTY, AFTER A FASH­ION

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motoring - Richard Black­burn

3. AC­TIVE SAFETY IS WELL COV­ERED

The IS is near­ing the end of its life cy­cle — it hasn’t had an up­date since 2016 — but it has kept up pretty well with the lat­est driv­ing aids. The list runs to au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, auto high-beam, blind spot mon­i­tor, ac­tive cruise con­trol, rear cross-traf­fic alert and lane de­par­ture warn­ing with steer­ing as­sis­tance. As with many such set­ups, the Lexus waits un­til the last minute to steer you back into your lane and can miss road mark­ings when the light is dap­pled. If a crash is un­avoid­able, 10 airbags pro­tect oc­cu­pants.

4. THE FEA­TURE LIST IS LONG

The IS350 F Sport costs roughly $81,000 on the road but you’re com­pen­sated with dual-zone air­con, sat­nav, dig­i­tal ra­dio and Mark Levin­son au­dio, an ab­so­lute cracker. The best news for au­dio­philes is that Lexus re­tains a CD player, al­low­ing you to ex­tract the best pos­si­ble sound. Lexus also adopts a re­fresh­ing ap­proach to ex­tra-cost op­tions — the only one on our test car was pre­mium paint for $1500. The war­ranty, four years/100,000km, is less than most main­stream brands but bet­ter than the main lux­ury ri­vals.

5. IT SAYS “SPORT” AND MEANS IT

F Sport ver­sions get dis­tinc­tive styling such as big­ger wheels and meaner look­ing front and rear de­signs. Gen­uine per­for­mance tweaks are aimed at keener driv­ers. Adap­tive sus­pen­sion lets you to choose be­tween com­fort and more cor­ner­ing con­trol, while the Sport + set­ting also ad­justs steer­ing weight and throt­tle re­sponse. Re­sult: a car that cruises com­fort­ably but holds its own on a twisty back road. The steer­ing is sharp and the car feels bal­anced when chang­ing di­rec­tion. The en­gine am­pli­fier in the cabin de­liv­ers a throaty ex­haust note.

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