2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD, Automakers mimic one another. It is one of several good reasons to the character-sapping convergence among modern vehicles that we usually lament. Take, such as, the entry-luxury sports-sedan segment, in which nearly every automaker has entirely turbocharged engine lineups and difficult electronic changes for pretty much every vehicle parameter in the suspension towards the transmission. And then there’s the Lexus IS350 F Sport.
2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD Review
It, too, has an adaptive suspension and adjustable driving modes, but the steering, suspension, and powertrain can't be individually adjusted as within the BMW 3-series or even the Audi A4. You get four options, which include one particular excellent default Standard setting. The V-6-powered IS350 F Sport is not turbocharged like BMW’s 340i or Audi’s S4. And at $50,154 absolutely loaded, this range-topping, sportiest IS maxes out at somewhere around exactly where pricing to the six-cylinder 3-series begins.
The Lexus is not above mimicry, because it plainly bogeys the 3-series-but it is the E90-generation 3-series that went from manufacturing in 2011. That’s good, for the reason that from a driving standpoint we nevertheless see that auto far more fondly than we do today’s F30 3-series. When this IS350 F Sport very first appeared in 2013, it beat the current-gen 3-series in our sports-sedan comparison check. Four many years later, the IS350 F Sport has undergone a mild refresh and gained common active-safety capabilities including adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning but has misplaced none of its charm.
Careful tuning lends the IS350 F Sport amazing array, from quiet and smooth and, effectively, Lexus-like, to quick-witted and screwed down. Nevertheless it doesn’t truly feel like distinct autos at every single excessive. This applied to become the hallmark of BMW’s sedans, which could alter demeanor from junior-executive commuters to back-road ballerinas as the driver’s mood dictated. These days, the 3-series is bipolar, ranging from your too-soft Comfort driving mode to an overly stiff ride and hair-trigger throttle in Sport Plus.
2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD Review - Interior:
Not so the cohesively tuned Lexus. There is certainly an Alfa Romeo Giulia-like linear progression by way of the IS350’s driving modes, from Ordinary via Sport S and Sport S+. Improvements to the F Sport-exclusive adaptive suspension’s stiffness level do not immediately register, as well as steering incrementally requires on extra heft without the need of ever feeling just like the airlock around the Red October. The car’s responses to manage inputs during the lazy Eco mode and the significantly less uninteresting settings are recognizably the identical motor vehicle.
All of it operates. The baseline F Sport suspension tune is relaxed nonetheless tied down, trying to keep entire body motions in test with no beating up the passengers. The sport modes tighten up the dampers’ rebound manage more than anything at all else, so effect harshness over growth joints or potholes does not worsen-nor does the trip normally. Sport S and Sport S+ also sharpen the stick to which the engine and eight-speed automatic transmission are poked. Oh, and that naturally aspirated V-6 makes great sounds, notably above 4000 rpm when an intake resonator nicely amplifies every single gulp of air the engine takes in. The characterful V-6 builds energy linearly and revs eagerly, lacking only in outright punch.
The steering could return far more feedback, too, along with a minor further crispness from your eight-speed automated and brake pedal wouldn’t hurt. Nevertheless, all of it fits the comfort-minded Lexus thread through the entire IS350, stitching with each other the suspension’s buttery bump compliance, the transmission’s creamy upshifts, along with the radio knobs’ hydraulic resistance to type a constant, rounded-edge flavor. It tastes and smells like a Lexus, albeit one particular with fast steering guiding a balanced chassis.
Nevertheless, the much less powerful BMW 330i wipes the floor with the IS in the track. Despite obtaining 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque towards the Bimmer’s 248 ponies and 258 lb-ft, the approximately 200-pounds-heavier Lexus trails the 330i to 60 mph by 0.6 second. The six-cylinder, 320-hp 340i does the deed one.2 seconds quicker nonetheless. This Lexus recorded a weakish 0.84 g on our skidpad, though that was enough to give it a 0.01-g edge above the last 330i we examined. On spicier tires, the 3-series has nuzzled near to the 1.0-g mark, an achievement no IS350 we’ve tested has approached.
2017 Lexus IS350 F Sport RWD Review - Features:
Lexus could toss a turbocharger or two beneath the IS350’s hood, slap on some gummier summer tires, and ratchet the suspension to total spank-ze-driver German stiffness ranges and submit much better numbers. It could, nevertheless it shouldn’t. (That’s what a full-blown F model like the 467-hp RC F is for.) Alternatively, Lexus should really throw some work behind updating the IS’s infotainment manage interface. The onscreen buttons are scattered about, meant to be selected personal computer mouse-style working with a console-mounted joystick. This can be hard to do within a moving car-or even inside a stationary one. Listlike menus along with a rotary knob resembling BMW’s or Audi’s could be far much less distracting.
Loads cooler would be the digital tachometer. Cleanly displaying the two a digital speedometer and trip information inside the boundaries of its bodily ring, it may possibly motor itself to your right to reveal a 2nd show with audio, navigation, trip, and settings menus. Tap a steering-wheel button as well as tach scoots back on the gauge pod’s center. Other specifics delight, too, like the supportive front seats, the spacious rear door openings that ease ingress and egress, along with the largish trunk. Lexus even presents real knobs for volume and tuning along with really hard buttons for the climate-control technique, potentially as penance for its infotainment sins.
One more sin? That the rest of the IS range-and, frankly, Lexus’s other sedans conserve to the similarly sweet GS F-don’t have anyplace near this IS350 F Sport’s mojo. For each of the cohesiveness of this precise trim level with this unique engine and rear-wheel drive, the IS lineup is rather inconsistent. The four-cylinder IS200t, non-F Sport IS350, and lesser V-6-powered IS300 cannot evaluate. Say everything you will about modern day 3-series’s scatterbrained, multimodal, or wonky chassis setups: not less than they are all like that. Envision the complete IS loved ones mimicking the IS350 F Sport’s combine of daily livability and sportiness. Now that might be anything well worth copying.