Lexus IS 250 F Sport review

13 Sep, 2013 5:00pm Dean Gibson

We try out the raciest version of the Lexus IS compact executive saloon – the 250 F Sport


While the Lexus IS hybrid makes sense as a comfortable cruiser with reasonably low running costs, the V6 petrol model feels like it’s from a different era. It’s thirsty, and needs to be worked hard to get the best from it. The F Sport looks sharp and is well equipped, but a firmer ride means it’s not as comfortable as it should be.

The all-new Lexus IS is the most convincing compact executive saloon the brand has built yet. When we tested the IS 300h hybrid, we found it a refined cruiser with low running costs, and an attractive alternative to its German rivals.

Now we’ve tried the sporty F Sport version with 2.5-litre V6 petrol power. The petrol IS has a claimed 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds, which is two-tenths quicker than the hybrid’s. It’s still not very fast when compared to rivals, though, and you need to work the engine hard to really get the car going. Sadly, you’re hampered by a slow-witted six-speed automatic transmission that delivers lazy shifts whether you use the steering wheel paddles or let the gearbox take control.

The F Sport has crisper looks than the standard car, but can’t back it up with a sporty drive. While the suspension has been stiffened and larger 18-inch alloys are included, all this does is firm up the ride without making the IS any sharper to drive.

The steering has been tweaked, too, but it still has little in the way of feedback. Inside, sporty touches include new seats and instruments. Yet although you get lots of kit for your cash, the cabin feels small, and navigating the infotainment system takes some getting used to.

Disqus - noscript

Give three stars to yourselves. A bit biased as always towards lexus in my oppinion

I wonder how many stars this POS review would get if this car was badged VW-SS-Deutsche-Gestappomobile?

A great alternative to the default BMW 3 which is after travelling a great distance in one is not the car I was expecting after reading Auto Express review. It was far noisier and not that comfortable . So this Lexus will make a better car to buy .Plus it will be far more reliable better built better serviced and better to own than the BMW. Full stop Yes as been said if it had a German badge it would automatically get at least an extra Star. That,s Auto Express in the pockets of the advertisers which are mainly VAG BMW and Mercedes . We can usually see through you at Auto.Express

Yes, ive noticed that too. I thought this was a very good car to drive and I drive a BMW 320d M Sport!

I think this review is biased and the Lexus is made to look like the bullied nerd at school. Here in South Africa, the latest IS has been lauded for its refinement, build quality, features and price which puts the German competition to shame... which is a great thing since we so used of paying thousands more ticking options lists which Lexus gladly gives us as standard!

I say chaps, sadly it's a Lexus and doesn't have the milleniums of tradition those cars made in Europe do. The value and quality of the car itself (check the Power Surveys), the economy and owner attention that is part of the after sales service and the long term quality of a Lexus count for nought, I'm afraid. If only it had a BMW roundel or a three-pointed
star ...

The new IS is great - stylish, comfortable, very well built and smooth and quiet. Whether it hangs out its tail or goes round corners quicker than something else is really beside the point to most owners. The quality of the vehicle has also to be experienced to understand well done Toyota a really good car.

I really like the Lexus too but you have to question the relevance of a 2.5 V6 petrol auto-only model. Or at least, the wisdom behind not offering the full fat 350 version too here in the UK (as well as a manual gearbox but that's not available anywhere as far as I know). Its emissions would probably look sick next to a C350/335i but I would consider it anyway simply because it is NOT a C350/335i. Same reason I would consider an Insignia VXR, bad emissions and all, although the dealer service might kill that option.

I had 1 gen. 2005 Lexus IS200 Sport and now I own 2nd gen 2011 facelift ver. Lexus IS250 F-Sport and I absolutely love both 1 and 2 gen of this fully loaded with plenty tech. gadgets I am 100% satisfied.

Key specs

  • Price: £30,495
  • Engine: 2.5-litre V6, 205bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph/Top speed: 8.1 secs/143mph
  • Economy/CO2: 30.7mpg/213g/km
  • Equipment: F Sport bodykit and wheels, sports seats and steering wheel
  • On sale: Now