I have been driving this car for a couple of weeks now and WOW...it is some car!!!
Bought this car on a lark after my wife became smitten with it's stablemate, the IS250. Figured she would never know that I slipped an extra 100 or so ponies in on her. I've lived with the Lexus for a little over two years now and, quite frankly, it has exceeded my expectations. I've been a gear head for years, dabbled a bit in drag and SCCA racing so have always had a toy or performance car in the garage. But my daily drivers, for the most part, of been a parade of Accords, TL's, and A-4's... none of which really stir the passion or incite unlawful driving. The IS is a hoot. Plenty of power, superb handling, and a cool, albiet quirky, looking ride. Is it perfect no, but I only avoided giving it five stars because of the following... back seat is barely usable for any normal human being (I don't give a squat since I don't sit in the back seat) and I've been hit with a couple of recall notices, none serious but worth noting. After owning a handful of cars from the Fatherland... VW's, Porsche, and an old BMW, I always get a chuckle out of the hardliners who would eschew the virtues of the IS because of their blind alligence to their rides from the Black Forest. OK... if you live for the next track day and drive your ride on a regular basis at 11/10th's your BMW's may have a slight edge but I've gone toe to toe with a few 3.0's and the like and the IS had more than held its own. Look at it this way... the IS offers you a steller, quick, and great handling ride without all those pesky trips to the service department. Yup... frequent breakdowns have always been the common denomiator among all of the German cars I have owned. I think Lexus has built a winner here but, despite all of that, my IS is up for sale... my ISF is on order. Think my wife will figure it out? Seriously... if a small, great handling, and fast sedan is what you want you owe it to yourself to take a ride in an IS350.
The gray hair on the top would suggest that I am probably a bit out of the demographic target of Lexus' intended market for this ride but I'm a car guy. I've owned Audi's, Porsche's, and a gaggle of Acuras, Hondas, and currently park an '87 Grand National next to my IS350 and here's my take... this is one sweet ride. Probably the nicest driver I have ever owned. Quick, agile, kind of goofy looking it a good way, and a hoot to drive. I still laugh at the minions of blind faith who goose step to and salute the rides that roll out of the Fatherland. To be sure the Germans put together some mighty fine automobiles but, while there are those who would say the BMW 3 series sets the bar for vehicles in this class I say, not so fast. When you look at the performacne numbers no one will dispute that the BMW's may be a few 100's of a second quicker during a hot lap of Sebring or Road Atlanta but, so what. And yeah, I wish the Lexus technowizards could come up with a u-shift it tranny and trust some of with an on-off switch for the big brother co-pilot system that is sure to intrude on your fun dare you get your Super Camray on the brink of a decent power slide but again, I drive this car on the highways. The car, hands down, performs better than any thing in its class in the real world. And you can enjoy all of the fun without all of those pesky trips to the service department that have always been included with the cost of admission of every German car I have owned. You won't regret owning this car unless you have to regularly haul anyone larger than an average seven year old or dwarf around in the back seat. It be a bit tight back there. Beyond a few annoying quirks there is very little not to like about this car. As much as I like mine I am will be setting it adrift in the coming months to buy a seat in the ISF when Lexus decides to get off of its fanny and start shipping them stateside. An 350 with a hundred more horsies, bigger brakes, and some other go fast goodies can only be better. I wonder if my wife will figure it out?