Esquire names the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport its 2013 Car of the Year.

Esquire holds an annual car of the year award, and for the past four years, only American or German autos, such as the Cadillac ATS and the Audi S4, have earned the publication's top pick. But for 2013, the top pick is from Japan: the 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport. The publication calls the IS "thrilling first, responsible second."

Upon learning the top pick, we had to make sure we were still reading about a Lexus, though we admit the new IS350 F Sport is indeed a new breed, one that approaches BMW 3 Series levels of performance and handling while maintaining its Japanese identity.

Esquire appreciates the F Sport's new direction, but says, "Crucially, unlike everything else, it's not trying to be the BMW." It claims the 2013 car of the year is an "honest, gutsy, fast set of wheels."

Take a look some of the other categories for 2013 Car of the Year: