IS fun

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
08 Sep 2013
What we like:
pros
The F Sport kit that lifts the cool factor of the standard IS by a mile. Excellent driving dynamics
pros
proof of the million miles of track development time while remaining comfortable when needed.
What we dislike:
cons
None come to mind.

Underneath, the new IS gets the similar 2.5-litre Naturally Aspirated V6 lump used in the previous generation. Power remains similar though with a negligible increase of 3bhp to 208bhp at 6,400rpm. Torque remains the same at 252Nm from 4,800rpm. And like the previous unit, the powerplant is very Lexus when driven sedately. Nearly zero engine noise penetrates into the cabin when cruising on the highways.

Prod the throttle however and the V6 growl permeates through the cabin and is helped along by a sound generator that pumps induction sound directly into the cabin for a sporty ambience.

Similarly, the ride comfort of the IS in cruise mode is excellent. Dampers absorb rough patches with ease while the ride under normal conditions is smooth and supple. In ‘Sport+’ mode, the dampers are firmed up for improved cornering ability. In the bends, you get a sense that the chassis is set up to handle much more power than the IS 250 can muster. Road adhesion was impressive and makes this executive sedan a joy to drive through the twisties.

Steering is sharp but feels over damped which neutralizes the gritty feel from the road. Besides that, it feels linear and well-weighted.

When left to its own devices, the 6-speed automatic’s shifts are imperceptible. Manual cog shifting can be done through the steering mounted paddles though gear shifts are slower than a dual clutch unit. While it does auto blip on downshifts, the joy of manual shifting is taken away by the lack of a rorty exhaust note. But a loud exhaust would be counter-intuitive for a Lexus.

Conclusion

Lexus has taken a capable executive sedan and made it even better with the latest generation. And like any new model, it improves on the flaws of the generation it replaces for an even more impressive product.

The F sport package lifts the design of the IS over the standard model tremendously and we feel the LFA wheels alone are worthy of the $30,000 premium.

Credits: Story and Photos by Benjamin G. Kline

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