2018 IS 300 New Car Test Drive
The Lexus IS might be called a sport compact luxury sedan, because it pretty much covers all those bases. It's rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available on the V6 models. For 2017 the bumpers are tweaked, but it's scarcely noticeable.
The Lexus IS Turbo, the model formerly known as 200T, comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 241 horsepower, about the same as its competition from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. It's mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The IS 300 model uses a 3.5-liter V6 making 255 horsepower and comes standard with the 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
The IS 350 model uses a 3.5-liter V6 making 306 horsepower, same transmission pairing as the IS 300, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
There's an F Sport package for each model, that makes the appearance, handling, throttle and transmission tuning more aggressive.
The IS hasn't been crash tested, but it has safety systems that many competitors don't have. Forward collision warning, lane departure alert with active lane control, and automatic high beams are standard. Which makes it all the more shocking to us that a rearview camera is not; it's a $350 option.
The rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS Turbo ($37,825) comes with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The IS 300 ($40,200) comes with the 255-hp V6, while the IS 350 ($41,370) is equipped with the 306-hp V6. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
The IS Turbo comes standard with leatherette upholstery, massive infotainment with a 7.0-inch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, moonroof, LED headlamps, steering-wheel audio and phone controls, Siri Eyes Free for Apple iPhones, and 17-inch wheels.
The IS 350 adds 18-inch wheels.
Options include blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts; navigation with a 10.3-inch infotainment screen, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, real leather, and heated steering wheel.
The F Sport package includes adjustable dampers (IS 350 only), power adjustable front seats, aluminum pedals, upgraded instrument cluster, 18-inch wheels, silver interior accents, unique front and rear bumpers, and a sound composer for interior engine noises.