2019 Lexus IS 350 F Sport new car reviews

For 20 years now, the Lexus IS-series has served as a BMW 3 Series fighter of sort and, like its competition, the range has grown. Today’s IS comes in multiple guises, including rear- and all-wheel drive plus turbo and naturally aspirated power. And there are sporty variants, too.

Our latest tester was the IS 350 fitted with the F Sport package. First, the basics: The IS 350 gets the 311-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. The all-wheel-drive version gets a six-speed automatic, while the rear-driver gets eight speeds.

The F Sport package doesn’t increase output, but it does add a Torsen diff on the rear-drive cars plus 18-inch wheels, optional Adaptive Variable suspension, “LFA-inspired” instrumentation, sport seats and a few other frills.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Remember how I wasn’t super-thrilled with the shift action on the RC F, the brand’s super coupe? The IS 350 F didn’t do that. Instead of being a bit laggy and quick to spoil the fun, the IS’s gearbox delivered quick shifts, even in standard mode.

That little thing made the car a joy to drive. In a world where everything’s becoming some kind of ute, the IS reminds us that a proper sedan still works so well. No, it’s not a race car, but it’s a perfect daily and also a fine machine for gobbling up the highway miles. I’d call it quick, comfortable and competent.

Need even crisper action? Turn the Sport knob.

The F Sport package doesn’t turn it into an aggressive monster, but it adds the right dash of sportiness. The seats are bolstered but not too bolstered. The ride was smooth. I didn’t need much of the Torsen while driving to work, but it was nice knowing that it was back there.

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dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/6/19 6:31 a.m.

I was wondering why Toyota did not borrow from there Lexus line of cars when the wanted to bring back the Supra. Lexus makes some really great cars. 

DirtyBird222 UberDork
5/6/19 7:40 a.m.

I think a lot of enthusiast forget that Lexus still makes RWD sedans. IMO the 3 series looks better;  but, at least you know this thing will run forever

dculberson UltimaDork
5/6/19 11:28 a.m.
dean1484 said:

I was wondering why Toyota did not borrow from there Lexus line of cars when the wanted to bring back the Supra. Lexus makes some really great cars. 

YES! Such a baffling move to partner with BMW on that. It would've made more sense to just slap a Supra badge on the LC. Put in cloth seats and knock $5k off the price.

Vigo UltimaDork
5/6/19 5:50 p.m.

It's sad that the GS is gone but at least the IS is the same weight now. indecision

Flynlow HalfDork
5/6/19 7:12 p.m.

Now that BMW has forgone manual transmissions and any pretense of being a "drivers car" on their non-M machinery, I don't see any reason to buy one over this.  I've driven several IS350s, and they are darn good business-person commuters.  

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/7/19 8:09 a.m.

The Cylon-inspired grill will look 100% normal in another few years.

CyberEric HalfDork
5/7/19 1:27 p.m.

What the... I didn't realize these had wishbones in front. When did that happen? I better get one now! :D

And there's no more GS?! Man, I have a lot to learn about modern Toyotas.

I really liked the ISF I drove a few years ago. Considering BMW doesn't make a manual 3-series anymore, I don't see why one would buy a BMW over this. I guess the front grill is quite ugly to my eyes, so there's that. I admit, I haven't driven them back to back tho.

And who really cares what I think since I am WAY out of the market for either car.

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