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The 2014 Lexus IS sedan comes in three distinct models -- IS250, IS350 and IS F-- the 250 and 350 are available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while the IS F is rear-wheel drive only. The IS250 is powered by a 2.5L V6 producing 204 hp and 185 ft-lb of torque, while the IS350 benefits from a larger 3.5L V6 that delivers 306 hp and 277 ft-lb or torque. Both of the all-aluminum 4-cam engines feature dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to help boost economy and efficiency. The rear-wheel-drive IS250 delivers 23 mpg combined and will sprint to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, while its IS350 brother is good for 21 combined mpg and an impressive 5.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. A 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is standard on the IS250 and the IS350 AWD, while the RWD IS350 utilizes an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shifters. Both transmissions feature Sport, Normal and Eco modes, and will match engine revolutions during downshifts when set in Sport mode.
The IS F comes with a big 5.0L aluminum V8 and the 8-speed Direct Shift automatic to make an impressive 416 horsepower and 371 lb-feet of torque.
Suspension across the lineup is fully independent, courtesy of double wishbones up front and a multilink setup in the rear. The IS250 and IS350 AWD ride on 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, while the IS350 RWD and IS F get 18-inch alloys.
All IS sedans come nicely equipped with standard features like HID headlights, LED daytime lights, dual-zone climate control, a next-generation Remote Touch Interface and 4.2-inch color display, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power moonroof, HomeLink universal transceiver, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and satellite radio. In addition to this generous list of standards, the IS F also gets standard HID headlamps, LED fog lamps, a leather and aluminum steering wheel and a carbon fiber spoiler. Additionally, each IS benefits from 10 airbags.
Optional equipment on the IS 250 and 350 includes a navigation system, a backup monitor, power rear sunshade and intuitive park assist, which aids in parallel parking the IS. An F Sport Package adds performance and appearance parts such as high-friction brakes, 18-inch wheels, special instrumentation, F Sport heated front seats, unique suspension tuning and exterior body trim. The Premium Package includes heated and ventilated front seats, while the Luxury Package boasts a blind spot monitor, special leather and wood trim, headlamp washers, a heated steering wheel, parking assist and more.
The IS F offers an optional navigation system, a Mark Levinson audiophile sound system, the backup monitor as well as a pre-collision system that also comes with adaptive cruise control.
Build Quality And Refinement
All-wheel Drive Availability
While the Lexus IS 350 and 250 sedans are completely redesigned for 2014, the sport model, the IS F, carries on with last year's model. The IS250 and IS350 exterior styling is much more aggressive than that of the outgoing models, with a pinched, angular grille and rocker panels that flow seamlessly up and into the rear wheel arches.
While the IS F still carries over the 2013 model, the IS 250 and 350 ride on an all-new, slightly longer chassis and is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive and powerplants remain unchanged: The IS250 soldiers on with its 204-hp 2.5L V6, while the IS350 remains with its 306-hp 3.5L V6. The previous 6-speed automatic transmission carries over as well, though rear-wheel-drive IS350s now come equipped with an 8-speed direct-shift automatic. The 6-speed manual transmission has been discontinued. Underneath, front suspension components carry over as well, though a new multi-link rear suspension has been sourced from the GS sedan, along with the power steering system.
Inside, the IS sedan benefits from more space, including nearly an inch more front legroom, and 1.6 inches in the rear. A 60/40 split-fold rear seatback is new this year. Other interior features have been revamped as well, with a nod to the excellent LFA supercar, including the center stack, which now boasts a 7-inch screen and a host of touch-sensitive capacitive switches. Lexus claims that more than $1,400 in previously optional equipment has been made standard on the 2014 IS.
The 2014 IS F gets a standard carbon fiber spoiler and new LED fog lamps for 2014.
Pricing for the IS250 starts at $35,950, while the IS350 starts at $39,465. The IS F starts at $63,350.
The mid-size performance sedan segment is a popular place, but the Lexus IS sedan more than holds its own among the offerings from Infiniti, BMW and Cadillac. While powertrains remain the same for 2014, top-to-bottom refinement everywhere else -- along with Lexus' unbeatable build quality -- has made the IS a bigger and yet more dynamic driver's car.
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