When Torque News first reported that we had driven the new 2014 Lexus IS 350 on track back to back against the BMW 335i and found the Lexus the winner people sent us hate mail. Then Road and Track tested the cars back to back on and off track and they gave the win to the Lexus. Then Car and Driver tested the BMW 335i and the Lexus IS 350. Guess what? They gave the win to the new Lexus. The discovery that we made, then Road and Track and Car and Driver made, was confirmed by an explosion of Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 sales so abrupt and so outside of expectations that Lexus needed three months just to catch up to the surprising demand. Now some other more mainstream publications are finding the Lexus.
In its new test drive report Bloomberg tried the IS 350 in all-wheel drive (AWD). The rear-drive IS 350 is our choice, but we know that the AWD sports sedans at Lexus sell much better. People assume they need the added traction of the all-wheel drive system. Maybe they do, but we would either put our sports sedan away for the worst winter weather or get snow tires before we would opt for the fuel economy sacrifices, weight gain, and handling changes that come with the AWD system on any sports sedan. But that’s just us.
Bloomberg loved the new IS 350 AWD. They even liked the exterior styling, which Motortrend has repeatedly slammed. Bloomberg tester Jason Harper nails the idea behind the changes that Lexus made to its sports sedan, saying “...the latest IS is a sporty mid-size sedan with an attractive exterior and a youthful vibe.” With regard to the car’s performance on slippry winter roads Harper said “Whatever the weather, the IS feels stable and almost unerringly competent, even on slippery surfaces.” Gripes included the big hump under the driver’s foot that results from adding AWD and fuel economy. Harper also notes he found the Cadillac ATS more sporting and opines that the BMW might be a better back roads car. Notably, he did not test the competitors AWD cars back to back with his test Lexus to make that assessment. He may have been surprised if he had.
Fox news also recently discovered the 2014 Lexus IS 350. Tester Gary Gastelu hits the main points of Lexus’ redesign right away, saying of the IS 350 “the new third generation model throws down the gauntlet with the most convincing performance yet, wrapped beneath the eye-catching facade of an angry alien set on destroying humanity. Somehow, this is highly appealing.” Another confirmation by someone other than a BMW employee that sees the new Lexus design as attractive. The highest compliment of the IS by Fox was this quotation which illustrates that the tables have turned in the sport compact sedan market. Gastelu says “Even with the F-Sport’s stiffened suspension and low-profile tires, the IS350 ain’t half bad to cruise around in, but being plush ain’t what it’s about. Along with the 3-Series, the IS has able sports sedans like the Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 to contend with, or perhaps it’s the other way around.”
Gripes again included the drivers hump found in the IS 350 AWD but finding lemonade in lemons the writer said of the hump underfoot “It’s odd, occasionally annoying, but can be utilized as a leg rest on long journeys.”
In general at Torque News we go easy on re-writing other publications' reviews. However, we thought that given the fact that Lexus in the process of completely rewriting the pecking order of premium sports sedans that our readers might like a quick summary of some tester’s opinions other than our own.