If you drive it, you'll buy it.
If you are even slightly interested in fast cars and you end up test driving this car, you WILL NOT go home without it. I promise! You've been warned!
I've had both a 65 Mustang and 350z for years and loved them both immensely but unfortunately I'm becoming a "grown up" I've had to face the fact that I'll need a practical family sedan in the near future; so the two coupes had to go...
But I don't believe that needs to mean that all fun is lost, so I set myself a budget of less than $40k with less than 60k miles and began looking at "sports sedans." Because I REFUSE to ever buy a FWD-soccer-mom-mobile, I compared the G37/Q50, 335i, M3, S4, C63, CTS-V, 300C SRT8, G8 GXP, IS350 and ISF.
I compared price, power, gas mileage, size, comfort, build quality, cost of maintenance, reliability, performance and features. I'll spare you the details and tell you that the ISF is ON ANOTHER LEVEL in all of these categories. DON'T BELIEVE WHAT THE MAGAZINES SAY! Drive them all yourself and you'll find that the ISF is the best!
The other cars I compared seemed to fall into two well defined categories: too expensive to own or sub-par quality. Any of the German cars have a history of unreliability, high maintenance costs and high price tags.
I seriously considered the M3 but given that Carmax's extended coverage doesn't cover clutches (which the M3 uses in both the manual and "automatic" twin clutch cars), the M3 it was out. The G37, Q50, IS350 and 335i all just seemed a little boring and pedestrian to me; all the compromises made for practicality have turned them into your accountant's car that he bought because it was "zippy." The C63 and CTS-V both have RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME power but RIDICULOUSLY AWFUL gas mileage AND high maintenance costs. The S4 was second place on my comparison because it does seem to tick all the boxes, but it looks like a Passat and sounds a little ricey (a alot like an old VW Golf VR6).
The ISF is truely two cars in one. In normal/automatic mode this car drives like any everyday car (with the exception of of the exhaust/engine sound, which is quiet under normal driving but always taunting you toward the loud pedal). If you drive it like it's a normal Lexus sedan, it reacts like a normal Lexus sedan. I just completed a 500 mile road trip and averaged 25.6 MPG at an average speed of 78 MPH. That is UNHEARD OF gas mileage in a 400+hp V8 sports sedan. I will say that the ride is mildly firm, but it's a more comfortable than a 2005+ Mustang, C5 corvette, 350z or 370z if you can use those comparison to relate. The only other car I've driven with a notably similar ride quality is a Porsche 911 (991).
In sport mode, this things is WILD! It will definitely surprise you! The speed seems to come out of nowhere! Very Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde! It becomes very reactive, direct, aggressive and a TON OF FUN. I have never driven this car in sport mode without grinning and eventually giggling like an imbecile. However, I will say that if you're driving this like a hooligan, don't bother with gears 4-8; if you're past 3rd gear, you're going WAY TOO FAST.
The brakes are awesome. The grip is awesome. The transmission is awesome. The build quality is awesome. The sound is awesome. The technology/standard equipment is awesome. The trunk is big. The back seats are adequate if you don't have to have the front seats back very far (I'm 5'9 and I've had two rear passengers who said they were comfortable). The gas mileage is better than most of the competition. And best of all, it's a Toyota product! They last forever!
BUY IT! DON'T THINK ABOUT IT! BUY IT! If you can live with a mildly firm ride, you'll love this car!