2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD Review – Wowza
Tim Esterdahl | Aug 26, 2015 | Comments 4
One of the fun about this job is gaining experience. For example, when I drove the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport, I had a terrible time with the seats causing pain and didn’t really get to enjoy the car. However, the 2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport didn’t give me that problem. In fact, I got to really enjoy the car this time and boy, did I enjoy it.
On the throttle for the majority of the time I had, the 2015 Lexus IS 350 F Sport simply delivers. It is basically a straight-up BMW competitor and faced with matching those driving dynamics, Lexus engineers have done well. The small sedan feature a multi-link rear suspension and a electronic power steering to create what Lexus calls a “rousing driving experience.”
Powered by a 3.5L V6 pushing out 306 HP and 277 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed transmission, the Lexus zips along. Switching it into one of the four available modes – ECO, Normal, Sport, Sport + (F Sport only) – really changes the driving experience. From suspension changes, transmission shift points and pedal responsiveness, the Lexus IS 350 comes alive in both Sport and Sport +. In fact, I was hard pressed to drive it in anything other than Sport + because it was too darn much fun.
Also, my test model came in AWD. Lexus offers a Snow mode for these kind of sedans. While, I didn’t encounter anything beyond sunny skies, I’m lead to believe the AWD is pretty good considering my experience with other Toyota/Lexus models.
Enough about slowing down for snow, let’s talk about speed. The IS 350 F-Sport goes 0-60 in 5.7 seconds and has a 14.0 second quarter mile in AWD. Rear-wheel drive models are a bit quicker. While, I didn’t do any official tests to confirm the speeds, I had a great time flipping through the gears via the paddle shifters while standing on the gas pedal.
When driving fast, you need sound to complement the drive. There are two options here: you can listen to the engine made louder by an intake sound generator (fake noise) or you can crank up the Mark Levinson premium audio system. I rarely talk about sound systems, yet the Levinson system is one that you should really consider opting for. The sound is crisp and the bass thumps. Even though, I’m not the “rolled down windows, bass thumping” type of guy, it is fun to mess around doing that every once in a while.
Besides all the performance and radio features, the IS 350 also comes with a full assortment of luxury touches on the inside, sharp styling on the exterior and is loaded with a full range of safety features including an impressive array of 10 airbags.
New for 2015
Lexus has made a small variety of changes to the IS 350 for the 2015 model year. These changes include:
- LED fog lamps
- Siri Eyes Free technology from Apple; compatible with iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 models
- Heated/ventilated front seats added to F SPORT (F SPORT AWD also gets heated steering wheel)
- Revised interior trim, including piano black on window switches and instrument panel
- New Stratus Gray interior replaces Light Gray
- Backup monitor adds dynamic grid lines to aid parking maneuvers
- Available Lexus Enform Remote
I swear the seats are different, yet I asked and was told they aren’t.
While smoking tires through tight corners if fun, there does come a time when fuel economy is pretty important. This sedan does OK on gas with 19/26/21 city/highway/combined EPA ratings. However, the bummer is the IS 350 requires 91 octane (premium) fuel.
At the end of the day, I’m still a truck guy. Yet, this sedan is pretty great as well. I guess this is why they made two-car garages – one side for the workhorse Tundra and the other for the “fun” car!
Model – 2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport AWD
Engine – 3.5L V6
Transmission – 8-speed automatic
- Blind Spot Monitor w/ Rear Cross Traffic Alter – $600
- F SPORT package – $3,450
- Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio – $2,995
- Trunk Mat – $105
Price as tested – $50,375 with $925 delivery, processing, handling fee
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com
Nice ride, too small for my liking. You need to test one of the GS350 F-Sports. Although I didn’t realize the bigger, heavier GS350 shared the same engine with the IS, thought they were all 4-bangers.
I think I’ve driven that one and I’ll get the chance to drive it again I’m sure. My problem with Lexus currently is all of their cars blend together in my head. It is hard to keep them straight. I will say the IS series stands out more to me than the other cars. The GS, LS and ES are hard for to keep separate.
It should be noted that only the RWD has the 8-speed, while the AWD has a 6-speed.
Huh. Good catch!