The IS 250 is Lexus' smaller sedan. It is on par with the BMW 3 series or an Audi A4. It has been in production since 2000, with a major update in 2005. The IS 250 is a 5 passenger sedan with 4 wheel disc brakes mounted on 17" wheels. Rear wheel drive is standard with an option to have the engine drive all four wheels. The 250 is available in a retractable hardtop version, called the 250c, but the option for all wheel drive is not available with the convertible.
Power for this platform comes in the form a 2.5 liter V-6 which produces 204 HP and 185 Ft-Lbs. of torque. The engine is Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEVII) certified. Power is routed out of the engine via a 6 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic transmission.
While the standard feature list is impressive, so are the options: Bi-Xenon headlights, Birdseye Maple interior, Navigation with rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control with Bluetooth. A performance package is also available which serves up larger wheels and tires along with some other sportier options.
Body styles: Sedan, convertible
Engines: 2.5L V-6, 3.5L V-6, 5.0L V-8
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic
Models: IS 250, IS 250C, IS 350, IS 350C, IS F
IS 250/350 receives a new grille and front bumper, as well as a new exhaust tip. All-wheel drive is now available on the IS 350. Interior trim has changed; it's now a black metallic finish. Convertibles add a new Luxury Package with new interior colors, while sedans are available with the F Sport Package (18-inch wheels, sport suspension, sport seats). Adaptive Front Lighting has been discontinued.
A new front grille and bumper, plus revisions to the rear end help refresh the looks of the IS lineup. There are new 17- and 18-inch wheels, too. Style is modern and sporty, and the IS F looks lower and meaner.
Leather and wood touches abound throughout the interior of the IS. Heated and ventilated front seats, driver seat memory, 14-speaker surround sound audio, Bluetooth, and navigation are available. The IS F receives new optional orange and black leather seats.
Performance & Handling
The IS has an excellent chassis and provides a fun drive on twisty roads. Ride is a little rough in the standard IS, which is worse in the IS F. Having said that, the IS F is immensely entertaining on the road -- it scoots to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Braking from 60 mph only takes 108 feet.
Dual front airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and front seat-mounted side airbags are standard. The IS line also comes with four-wheel disc brakes, four-channel ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist; traction control; and stability control.
EPA Fuel Economy
IS 250, 250C: 18-21 mpg city/ 26-29mpg highway
IS 350, 350C: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway
IS F: 16 mpg city/23mpg highway
- Fire-breathing IS F
- High-quality interior
- Excellent chassis
You Won't Like
- Stiff suspension
- Intrusive stability/traction control
Good balance of luxury and performance
If You Like This Vehicle
- Infiniti G37
- BMW 3 Series
- Audi A4
- Acura TSX
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class