2015 Lexus IS350 F-Sport Review

If you’re are familiar with the name “Altezza” you are either a fan of Japanese domestic market (JDM) cars, or you may have made poor choices when purchasing aftermarket taillights.  The name belongs to Toyota, and is Italian for “highness”, but the car it is attached to is better known in the US as the Lexus IS.  The original IS project was led by Nobuaki Katayama who was responsible for the legendary Toyota AE86, and upon its launch, it was a shot directly at German performance sedans of the day.  The aforementioned taillights, made popular by the JDM Altezza spurred thousands of crappy clear lens imitators and became known as “altezza lights”.  But this is about a car, which is much more than its rear taillight design.

Generations

Production began in October 1998, but the IS300, our first version of the Altezza, showed up in the States in 2000 as a 2001 model.  Personally, I was very excited.  I was just starting my first “grown up” job and, with designs on corporate domination, was enthralled by the new RWD Lexus.  I scored an invite to a Lexus Ride-&-Drive event here in DC where I got to hurl the new IS around a purpose-built track, and also got to go for a ride with former touring car drivers hired by Lexus to scare the ever loving shit out of you.  It was an eye-opening event, and even though the IS300 debuted as an automatic-only sedan, I wanted one.  The mix of athletic design and luxury materialsnot to mention relative affordability as the entry-level model—kept my attention.  Its 2JZ-GE 217hp inline 6 engine with 218 ft. lbs. of torque wasn’t bad either, upping the ante when compared to entry level fare from BMW, Audi, etc.  Unfortunately, my entry-level corporate paycheck ($26,000/year) didn’t quite add up to a Lexus payment back then, but nevertheless the IS stayed on my radar.  Fast forward to 2012 or so and I ended up owning my first IS!  Enter the second generation IS, and my 2009 IS250 AWD.  Sporting a larger engine, a 2.5L V6, the IS250 was actually down on power from the previous car, with 205hp and only 186 ft. lbs. available in a curvier, but heavier, package.  It could get out of its own way.  Just.

Enter the Dragon

A few weeks before Christmas in 2006, Lexus delivered something much better than an ES with a red bow on it, they gave us the IS-F.  F as in like F-you and your BMW.  With its quad stacked exhausts, hips that didn’t lie, and a big ole 5.0 V8 with 417 hp and 371 ft. lbs. of screw your AMG.  It wasn’t perfect, and may not have actually won any comparison tests against the mighty M3, but made it clear that Lexus was capable of bringing the heat.  Other offerings helped too, like the bonkers LF-A (that is still mysteriously in Lexus commercials despite ending its production run almost 3 years ago) and the new, incredibly lust-worthy, RC coupe.  It also established F as Lexus’ performance arm.  F is to M as F-Sport is to M-Sport?  Got it?  That finally brings us to the car we’re here to talk about.  This 2015 Lexus IS350 F-Sport showed up in my driveway the day they collected the fabulous Mustang GT that I had been driving piloting for the week prior.  So how did the Lexus do, watch the video for more.

Specifications

Trim: RWD F-Sport
Trans: 8-Speed Auto
Engine: 306hp 3.5 L DOHC V6
Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive

Exterior: Atomic Silver
Interior: Black leather F-Sport seats

2015 Lexus IS350 FSport

MSRP: $40,065
Destination Fee: $925

Packages & Options

Blind Spot Monitoring w/Rear Traffic Alert & Auto-dimming Mirrors $600

F-Sport Package $3740

  • F-Sport bumpers & Spindle grill
  • LED headlights
  • 18″ F-Sport split 5-spoke Wheels (225/40R18 front 255/35R18 rear)
  • TFT (LFA’like) instrument cluster
  • Heated and ventilated F-Sport seats
  • Perforated leather steering wheel and shift knob
  • Black headliner
  • Aluminum pedals
  • Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) & Sport + Mode

Variable Gear Ration Steering (VGRS) $400

Navigation System $1855
(Also includes Backup Camera, Remote Touch Interface, Voice Command, Lexus Enform destinations, and App Suite)

Accessory Package including Trunk Mat, Cargo Net, & Wheel Locks $255

Total MSRP: $47,840

Bonus Images

2015 Lexus IS350 FSport 2015 Lexus IS350 FSport 2015 Lexus IS350 FSport 2015 Lexus IS350 FSport 2015 Lexus IS350 FSport 2015 Lexus IS350 FSport