After having multiple Lexuses, we choose this as the perfect car for our son as a graduation gift. The safety features are comforting for any parent of an 18 year old and the AWD was a necessity for the New England winter (the car has proven to be amazingly competant in snow, even compared to my GX 470 for so long as there is less than 5 or so inches). The ride and handling is on par with BMW and the maintenance, or lack thereof, is better than the similar contenders from BWM and Audi.The steering is not quite that of BMW, but the car makes up for that in every other aspect. If you are considering anything from BMW, Audi, and especially Mercedes, the IS 250 should be on your short list of contenders.
The keyless ignition is always a fun trick and has proven useful on several occasions. The tiptronic allows for some more free revving fun and the looks of the car, both inside and out, are arguably best in class.
The back seats are a bit tight, but not much different than competitors.