Show Me 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD Review
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel REVIEW - 2014 LEXUS IS
Model: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD Engine: 5.0-liter V8 Horsepower/Torque: 416 hp @ 6,600 rpm/371 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm Transmission: 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shifters Wheelbase: 107.5 in. Length x Width x Height: 183.5 x 71.5 x 55.7 in. Tires: P225/40R18 (F)/P255/35R18 ® Cargo: 13.3 cu. ft. Economy: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21.5 mpg test Fuel capacity: 16.9 gal. Curb Weight: 3,780 lbs. Sticker: $49,615 (includes $910 delivery charge, $7,605 in options ($3,180 F-Sport package, $3,225 navigation))
The Bottom Line: True to the premise of Lexus F-Sport, the IS 350F is an honest sports sedan. It has the performance and style you desire from a sports sedan with the comfort and luxury you expect from Lexus.
Just looking at the face of the Lexus IS350 F convinces you it is a true sports sedan. The dramatic front fascia has all the aerodynamic doodads of an F1 car. Jaguar introduced a similar pseudo race car at the NY Auto Show early in 2013, but the IS350 is not (officially) a race car. But all the add-ons are there primarily to direct air to the 5.0-liter V8 engine, but they don’t hurt the aesthetics, either. All you have to do is paint them in a contrasting color to make them stand out even more.
Looking at the IS350 F from the rear and it's a fairly standard compact sedan. The aerodynamics aren't there, except for a small spoiler on the trunk.
But all those aerodynamic additions aren't like that handkerchief in your suit pocket. They're not just for show, they're also there for go. With a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood and an 8-speed automatic gearbox (and paddle shifters) to get the power to the wheels, the IS goes. Acceleration is excellent from a standstill, and equally impressive when you’re on the highway and you want tom pass a semi going the speed limit. Lexus claims a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and I believe them.
The transmission is smooth in automatic mode and easy to shift with the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. In addition, there are setting on the console for "ECO" "Normal" and "Sport" to suit your driving style.
The suspension is excellent for handling, but it's far from harsh. Several familiar bumps in the road disappeared, but when we wanted a stable car in a high-speed corner, it was there. The front suspension is a double wishbone with high-mounted upper arms, high rate coil springs, monotube gas-filled shock absorbers ad a large-diameter hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a multi-link affair with low-mount upper arms, high-rate coil springs, monotube gas-filled shock absorbers ad a large-diameter hollow stabilizer bar. The reason for the details is to let you know what works well.
Aside from the comfortable ride, the interior is pure Lexus, with a push button start/stop. There's a clear digital speedometer inside a center-mounted round tach with water temperature and fuel level gauges around the perimeter.
The front seats are comfortable with excellent side support. They're also heated. Rear seat legroom is okay. The rear seats also have some side support so the driver won’t have the rear passengers complaining about being thrown about when he or she gets carried away. The rear side support is about equal to what you get in some front seats. The rear seats fold 60/40 to add volume to an already good trunk. Rear seat headroom is very good, and there are assist handles over each of the four door for us senior citizens who need help getting in.
On the center console, at a convenient location for my arm length at least, is Lexus' "mouse" that controls and scans the navigation/audio screen. With the mouse you can choose your audio selections and program the navigation system for destination and directions. The nav is fairly easy tom program. Sometimes it's easy to "over-move" the mouse, but you learn how to control it in a short time.
Aside from some minor right side visibility problems caused by the pillar width, there's not a lot to complain about with the IS 350 F. Unlike many similar vehicles from other manufacturers, you don't know you're driving a sports sedan by the excessive noise or over-the-top styling (except for the front fascia). But hit the loud pedal and you suddenly become very aware of what you're driving, and that's the charm of the F-Sport.
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