Sedans are lifeless, at the least that is the traditional knowledge. The development towards crossovers has seemingly positioned four-door vehicles on dying row, however whereas they’re down, they don’t seem to be out of appeals. New sports activities sedans are nonetheless being launched. Lexus’s up to date 2021 IS350 F Sport is simply such a sedan, however is it ok to search out sufficient patrons to avoid wasting itself from the gallows?
First launched for the 2014 mannequin yr, the third-generation Lexus IS has been reformed by a second mid-cycle refresh in an try to sustain with newer choices just like the BMW 3-series, Cadillac CT4-V, Genesis G70, and the nonetheless beautiful Mercedes-Benz C-class. Designers went to work on the sheetmetal with a smoothed-out profile, squinty headlights, and following the development, a fair bigger grille. It is a killer-looking sedan, particularly when dressed within the IS350’s normal F Sport garb and blacked-out trim.
Whereas the IS’s seems will please your optic nerve, the section is one which emphasizes efficiency. Beneath the hood of the rear-wheel-drive IS350 F Sport is Lexus’s acquainted 3.5-liter V-6 producing a naturally aspirated 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Towards turbocharged fours and sixes, the V-6 appears a step behind the instances. The engine lacks the low-rpm shove that comes from most turbocharged mills, and the eight-speed automated delivers lackadaisical shifts. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 5.6 seconds, and the quarter-mile is gone in 14.2 seconds at 100 mph. Whereas these numbers would have been good a decade in the past, as we speak the IS350 F Sport finds itself aggressive with the bottom turbocharged inline-fours supplied in its class. For a sedan with such seductive seems, it deserves an up to date V-6 with extra energy.
In an effort to enhance dealing with, Lexus has additionally retuned the chassis. There are extra welds within the unibody to strengthen the construction, aluminum management arms exchange metal ones, springs and anti-roll bars have been lightened, and a change to lug bolts as a substitute of nuts saves two kilos. Our take a look at automotive arrived with the $4200 Dynamic Dealing with bundle that features light-weight 19-inch BBS wheels that shave a claimed 16 kilos, adaptive dampers, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential.
All the adjustments sound nice on paper, however on the road there’s nonetheless some structural flimsiness and the steering is not as exact because the CT4-V’s or the G70’s. Lexus matches Bridgestone Potenza S001L summer time rubber that appears tuned extra for consolation than all-out grip. There’s additionally the matter of a stability-control system that reactivates itself above 30 mph. This automotive’s 0.89 g of stick on the skidpad is much from noteworthy. A Camry TRD outgrips the IS350 on the skidpad. Standing on the left pedal at 70 mph stops the IS350 in a aggressive 155 ft, however the drive of the cease appeared to set off a low-oil stress alert. This is not one thing we have skilled with this engine earlier than, so it might be a pre-production bug.
We discovered few issues with the tastefully appointed cabin. Supple leather-based and wooden trim gown up the revised dashboard. The seating place and luxury of the bucket seats is spot on, however our enthusiasm wanes after we begin utilizing the infotainment system’s touchpad. Although Lexus stays devoted to becoming the haptic pad to function the infotainment system, it is simply prevented through the use of the usual 8.0-inch or non-compulsory 10.3-inch touchscreen. Mounted almost six inches nearer than earlier than, they’re a straightforward faucet away. Technophiles will discover solace now that Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay compatibility are normal.
The excellent news for IS350 patrons, is that its $43,925 beginning worth is $2475 lower than final yr’s IS350 F Sport. A looker in and out, the low-stress V-6 may undoubtedly use extra muscle and the dealing with might be extra participating and enjoyable. Add in our automotive’s as-tested $55,200 worth, and we had been in a much less forgiving temper. A brand new engine would go a great distance towards serving to the IS sedan keep off dying row.
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