2011 Lexus IS250 new car reviews

When equipped with the F-Sport package, is the Lexus IS250 a BMW-beater?

Better than: standard Lexus IS250
But not as good as: F-Sport IS350
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 72.84

The second-generation Lexus IS-series has now been with us since the 2006 model year, but the company recently added something new to the model line: the F-Sport Package. What's that, you ask? Well, we're here to tell you.

This $2440 package of parts basically kicks it up a notch, adding 18-inch wheels wrapped with summer tires; upgraded suspension; an aero kit; sport seats; a sport grille; and a sport steering wheel.

Other staff views

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard

Seemed well made, rather cramped and adequately powered. Seats we uncomfortable. There must be a way to get the bolsters to let go, but I couldn't figure it out. Not impressed overall.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath

When I saw "F Sport" on the sticker, I got kinda excited to try this one. The excitement lasted until I realized it was mostly a badge upgrade. No massive power, no crazy techno 7-speed flappy paddle gearbox, no giant brakes, just an F badge and the pretty blue paint. (I think there's also improved shock calibration over the regular IS250, but shocks by themselves are a pretty minor upgrade.) Maybe this is someone's answer to upgrading a pedestrian IS250, but I think I'd pass on this strategy.

That said, the IS250 is still a solid choice as a BMW alternative. As long as your intentions lean toward posing instead of clipping apexes and lighting up the tires at corner exit, there's not a thing wrong with this Lexus.

Scott Lear
Scott Lear

My daily driver is a first-generation Lexus IS 300—I bought it about the same time the second-gen cars were coming out. Compared to the IS 250, I'll take my 3-liter straight-six any day; the new car is more attractive, perhaps, but I like the IS 300's slightly quirky styling and completely sorted driving experience. The new car does offer better fuel economy, but the old 2JZ-GE is a torquey, smooth-revving engine that's hard not to love.

Other reasons I'm glad I have a first-gen model: better interior space, a more useful trunk and a proper limited-slip differential. Still, I found myself wondering how this F-badged IS 250 would fare at a local autocross. It would probably be fairly competitive in a club that requires street tires in the stock classes, with zero modifications you could have a good time and a reliable daily driver. Still, I think the original has more to offer for less money. Just ignore the numbers when you fill up the tank.

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