BY GERRY MILES
The original IS 250 was a small, pocket rocket that was a blast to drive and with its shorter status reminded me of the tiny runabouts that gained recognition with the Nissan Sentra SE-R in its first iteration. It seemed that the folks at Lexus has tried to infuse, and succeeded, in the seat of the pants thrill that interactive driving provides with a small, sporty package.
Zoom ahead to 2013 and the 2014 model will arrive in showrooms this summer just shy of $36k for the RWD version and escalate from there with three packages and just eight options to customize it your way.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter, 204 hp, V-6 with 185 lb-ft. of torque in the base RWD model. Opt for AWD and you’re spending $38,485 that does not include delivery. But you’re buying a Lexus, so that’s not likely a considerable worry.
The IS 350, which produces 306 horsepower from its 3.5L V6 power plant, has an MSRP of $39,465 for RWD and $41,700 for AWD. The base price for the 2014 IS 350 is 2.1% lower than the model it replaces.
The new IS carries standard features such as HID headlamps, L-shaped LED daytime running lights, Drive Mode Select, paddle shifters, a dual zone climate control system, a next-generation Remote Touch Interface, Display Audio, a color 4.2 inch TFT multi-information display and 10 airbags.
In an industry first, the all-new multimedia system delivers real-time traffic and weather information without a subscription. Lexus claims that $1,400 in previously optional equipment has been made standard for the 2014 IS.
Premium, Luxury and F SPORT packages will be available across the model range. The available Premium Package ($1,050 for RWD models) includes LED headlamps and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury Package ($3,665 for RWD models) includes Premium Package features plus a perforated leather-trimmed interior, linear wood trim, electrochromic exterior mirrors with reverse tilt, rain-sensing wipers, driver seat memory, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, center stack knee pads and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
A revamped F SPORT Package ($3,115 for IS 250 RWD and $3,620 for IS 350 RWD) offers a unique full-mesh grille and front bumper, LED headlamps, 18” split 5-spoke wheels, front sport seats, and a more aggressive sport-tuned suspension. Inside, all F SPORT models feature the attention-grabbing center-mounted tachometer with moving bezel adopted directly from the LFA. The IS 350 F SPORT adds standard Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with a Sport S+ drive mode. For the first time, the F SPORT package is also available for IS AWD models.
2014 IS Pricing:
|IS 250||RWD||2.5L V6||6AT||$35,950|
|IS 250||AWD||2.5L V6||6AT||$38,485|
|IS 350||RWD||3.5L V6||8AT||$39,465|
|IS 350||AWD||3.5L V6||6AT||$41,700|
|Package||IS 250 RWD||IS 250 AWD||IS 350 RWD||IS 350 AWD|
|F SPORT Package||$3,115||$2,675||$3,620||$3,180|
|Navigation System with Mark Levinson||$3,225|
|Power Rear Sunshade||$210|
|18” Wheel Package with All-season tires||$935|
|18” Wheel Package with Summer tires||$935|
|Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS)||$400|
|Intuitive Park Assist||$500|
*MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $895.