A Review of the 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport AWD: The Original Sporty Lexus Keeps Getting Better


The Lexus IS lineup has always been the sportiest of the Japanese luxury brand (aside from the mighty LFA) so it should come as no surprise that the new 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport is sportier than past models in every way – while still maintaining the high level of luxury that you would expect from a modern Lexus sedan.

While the early years of the Lexus brand were all about luxury, the introduction of the IS sedan brought about a sportier side of the Japanese automaker and the 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport AWD is a remarkable example of automotive evolution. With each revision over the past decade and a half, this compact luxury sedan has gotten progressively edgier, sportier and more luxurious – with the new IS350 F Sport being a beautiful culmination of those efforts. On the outside, the 2014 IS350 is more aggressive than ever; on the inside, the company has combined the feel of a sports car with the amenities of a proper luxury car and the drivetrain, suspension and chassis improvements have made this the most engaging Lexus sedan that I have driven that wasn’t from the premium “F” lineup.

My 2014 Lexus IS30 AWD test car carried a base price of $41,700 while the F Sport package added $3,180, the premium navigation system with a Mark Levinson sound system added $3,225, the blind spot monitoring system added $600, the Dynamic Radar cruise control added $500 and the cargo net added $64. When you add up all of those numbers with the $895 destination fee, my test car had a sticker price of $50,164 so while this isn’t exactly a budget sedan; the 2014 IS350 F Sport AWD offers an incredible amount of content for that price. When you look at what you are getting and compare the price to other vehicles with the same level of comfort and performance –the price of this Lexus sedan is actually quite reasonable.

The Exterior
Since the Lexus IS lineup was introduced in the US for 1998, it has had a sportier, edgier exterior design than the other models under the brand halo so while the 2014 IS350 sports the same basic design language as the rest of the brand including the sexy spindle grille, the new IS sedan is easily the most aggressive of the current Lexus sedans. The F Sport package takes that aggressive look a step further, adding a unique front fascia and grille that is unique from the non-F Sport models and the result is a car that clearly looks the part of a modern luxosport sedan.

2014 is350 front

While there are plenty of cars in the compact luxury sedan segment with an aggressive exterior, there are few cars that offer the level of sporty design in a non-premium model like the BMW M3 or the Audi S4. There will likely be a new Lexus IS F sedan at some point in the future and at that point, there will be an even more aggressive looking Lexus compact sedan but for the time being, the IS350 F Sport is unquestionably the sportiest looking car in the segment.

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Comments

I have also driven this car and agree with all the points. It is a really nimble and sporty car to drive. Plus, using the paddle shifters in Sport+ mode puts a smile on any driver's face. My only disagreement would be with the seats. While, I am not a supermodel nor a 280 lb. linebacker, I did find them incredibly uncomfortable. Different strokes for different folks I guess. -Tim
I have an IS350C with the same engine and trans and I agree that more engine is not at all what the new generation needed. Finding roads where I can put that power down safely is rare. So pleased to read your comments on the AWD. I agree 110% Lexus does itself no favors adding the AWD to so much of the production that goes to showrooms. It also takes up space in the cabin. As an owner, and former Supra owner, I look forward to the IS 200t (turbo). With about 260 ft lb torque, in RWD this car might be a very sweet car. - PS the equivalent BMW 335ix tested by MotorTrend had an MSRP of $62K. Great review.

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