Lexus Test Drive Reviews 

2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Test Drive Review

The 4-door Lexus IS350 has long been the Japanese manufacturer’s answer to cars like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. With similar dimensions, a well-designed exterior and good power it offers a performance combination that many buyers are looking for. This 2016 IS350 F Sport RWD benefits from such updates as an 8-speed automatic transmission (6-speed auto in the AWD model), updated 18-inch wheels and adaptive variable suspension. All of these culminate in a sporty, fun-to-drive sport sedan that’s priced competitively in a market with some very stiff competition.

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2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Exterior:

The first thing you’ll notice about the IS350 F Sport is that massive black mesh grill. It encompasses half the front end and is flanked on both sides by some very stealthy looking bodywork. Massive lower twin scoops, LED running lights, and twin projector beam headlamps lend to a very aggressive look and feel. Move further back and you’ll notice a high beltline with chrome window trim, organically flowing bodywork and a short rear deck lid with highly stylized rear LED taillights. A blacked out lower rear fascia and twin chrome tipped exhaust ports help to round out a very stylish body.

Wheels are special F Sport 18-inch split-five-spoke alloys wearing 225/40R18 performance tires up front, and 255/35R18 inch tires out back. A 110.2-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 183.7-inches and special F Sport badging also means the IS350 has great curbside appeal.

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2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Interior:

Crafting a great interior is no easy task. Designers must combine style, comfort, and technology along with a comfortable ergonomic layout in a fashion that works for hundreds of miles at a clip. Leather, soft touch plastics, and perfectly spaced panel gaps are not only beautifully done, but are on par with sports sedans costing much more.

One of the main themes of the 2016 IS350 is the seamless integration of technology. The sliding gauge cluster for instance, is almost identical to the one found in the Lexus LFA supercar. The Lexus Enform system with safety connect not only lets you monitor your vehicle from your mobile device, but also gives you subscription free access to some of your favorite online apps. A small joystick that sits on the right of the center console controls the system. However slow, imprecise movements can sometimes make the system frustrating to use.

The front seats are some of the best I’ve experienced and I would’ve like to have enjoyed them in a different setting. Rear seating is adequate for full-size adults and trunk storage space comes in at 10.8 cubic feet.

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2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Performance: 

The beauty of technology is that it allows enthusiasts to have a fair bit of fun without getting into serious trouble. Thus is the case with the IS350 F Sport. Thanks to the F Sport package the driver can adjust the suspension to the tune of four different settings – Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport +. There is also “Snow” mode in case of inclement weather. Overall ride quality in “Normal” mode was just fine, however driving in “Sport” or “Sport +” meant a very firm suspension that was great on only the tightest of roads. Feedback through the thick-rimmed steering wheel was much better than expected and hard braking was met with a firm pedal and consistent stops.

0-60 mph comes up in 5.6-seconds with the top speed being electronically limited to 143-mph. Those are pretty good numbers considering a curb weight of 3,737-lbs. The 3.5L V6 produces 307 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque at 6,400 rpm and is put down by way of an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Shifting in manual mode was enjoyable, but I found it best to leave the transmission in automatic and let it do its thing.

This is a car that grows on you from a performance standpoint. The more you drive it, the more comfortable you become and during that time period you’ll soon realize that the IS350 is much more of a performance car than many had originally thought. Mileage is EPA rated at 28-mpg highway, 19-city and 22-mpg* in combined driving.

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2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Safety:

A major selling point of any performance vehicle is safety. Lexus understands this and has equipped the 2016 IS350 F Sport with a host of features to keep you and your passengers out of harms way. A pre-collision system detects an imminent frontal collision and retracts the front seatbelts while automatically preparing the Brake Assist to begin braking before impact. There are LED head and tail lamps, 10 airbags, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, anti-lock brakes, rain-sensing wipers, a tire pressure monitoring system and a standard backup camera.

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2016 Lexus IS350 F Sport Overall:

Not all sports sedans are created equal. However the 2016 IS350 F Sport is doing its best to level the playing field. Great exterior styling, a luxurious tech savvy interior, wonderful performance and proven reliability means that this is an automobile that will provide consumers with a very nice alternative to segment competitors. Drop by your local AutoNation-affiliated Lexus dealership today to check one out!

 

*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.

**Vehicle MSRP of $40,870.00 (sticker price $49,205.00) excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.

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