Lexus IS 250 F Sport swaps power for pretty
The 2014 Lexus IS 250 F Sport AWD sedan looks fast and powerful, but the sporty costume makes promises its drivetrain can't keep.
The all-wheel-drive IS 250 F Sport that I tested had rakish styling and responsive handling, but its 2.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission trailed the power or fuel economy of competitors such as 2.0-liter turbocharged versions of the Audi A4, Cadillac ATS and BMW 328i.
Prices for the 2014 Lexus IS start at $35,950 for a rear-drive model with a 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V-6 engine. All-wheel-drive models with the 2.5L engine start at $38,485. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all IS sedans. A 306-horsepower 3.5L V-6 powers the IS 350. Prices start at $39,465 for rear-drive and $41,700 for AWD. Lexus also sells a pair of two-door IS convertibles, the $42,610 IS 250 C and $46,890 IS 350. They use the platform that underpinned the smaller previous-generation IS sedan.
I tested an IS 250 AWD sedan with the attractive optional F Sport appearance package and features that included a sun roof, power seats, 10 air bags, navigation, voice recognition and Internet functions for navigation, music, dining and more. It stickered at $43,245.
The IS sedan grew larger and more accommodating for 2014. Its wheelbase lengthened by 2.7 inches. Overall length grew 3.4. The results are a roomy front seat, functional rear seat and a 13.8 cubic-foot trunk that's among the largest in its segment.
The IS 250 AWD is priced in the mid-range of such comparable all-wheel drive sport sedans as the Audi A4, BMW 328i, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q 50, Mercedes C300 and Volvo S60.
The 250's power trails those competitors substantially. The IS 250 AWD that I drove on a long trip from Detroit to Minneapolis struggled to hold its own in the fast and heavy traffic around Chicago and the rolling countryside approaching the Mississippi.
The F Sport package looks like a million bucks — making it a steal at $2,675 — but I think Lexus erred in offering it on a car with mediocre performance.
Mark Phelan is the Detroit Free Press auto critic.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Real estate union: Howard Hanna buys Langholz Wilson Ellis
- Treasury turns profit as it exits GM bailout
- EPA says it won’t reguluate coal ash as hazardous waste
- ExOne Co. moves solidify authority under CEO
- Asked about Cuban cigars’ availability, retailers point to trade embargo
- Upscale Verano takes part in Buick’s success
- Americans support strict rules for drones in poll
- Pennsylvania jobless rate drops to 5.1 percent
- Western Pa. utility workers OK contract with FirstEnergy
- Signs point to gauge, an easy fix
- Stock market closes 2nd best week of 2014