2008 Lexus IS 250 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Lexus IS 250 Sedan

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Lexus IS 250 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 204 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Lexus IS 250

  • Athletic poise, impressive build quality and plenty of luxury features put the 2008 Lexus IS 250 high on our list of entry-level luxury sport sedans.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Capable handling, impeccably finished cabin, advanced safety technology, good fuel economy on the rear-wheel-drive automatic model, available all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Cramped rear-seat space, tight headroom, options packages can be pricey.

  • What's New for 2008

    For the 2008 Lexus IS 250, a handful of minor changes take place, including a new "Liquid Graphite" finish for the wheels, revised front seatbacks (to provide more rear legroom), recalibrated steering for better feel and the addition of a coin holder.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (42 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good all around

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

I've been reading all these reviews complaining about the ride quality. That's due to the Potenzas from the factory. I replaced mine with Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires and the ride quality is 1000 times better. Also, buy a car with low profile tires, they WILL get damaged...on any car. This car is getting close to three years old and gets driven hard about 80 miles per day. It doesn't have a single rattle, squeak, or any other flaw. It has been perfect since day one. The engine definately needs more power. This car has decent power, but for the $42K that is costs, it should a lot more. The interior comfort and design are outstanding.

Good for me

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

I've had this car since November of 07 (it's an 08). I, too, had problems with potholes the winter of 07-08 - sidewall damage on 2 tires which had to be replaced with less than 5000 miles on them. I promptly got a set of rims one size smaller with snow tires that were NOT low profile and I've had no problem since. The car handles great in the snow, pulling through the piles of snow our village plows against the end of the driveway. The ride is a little jittery on the expressway, sometimes seeming to find a harmonic convergence with the ridges on the road, but it is comfortable and quiet. I average 25 mpg on my daily drive, up to 31 mpg on long trips, slightly less with the snow tires.

2008 is250 valve spring problem

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

With the exception of horrible visibility especially when backing up and changing lanes I loved my IS. At about 30 thousand miles I started to experience a shutter when coming to a stop intermittently. I had it in the shop twice for the problem and they told me there were no error codes and it may have been bad gas. My car is now at 61 thousand miles and needs the valve springs replaced. This is the same problem that there was a recall for on the IS350 and a few other Lexus models a few months ago. I think they need to add the 250 to that recall.

End of my lease, going

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

I just love this car and my wife gets jealous when I start talking about "Lexi." I am tall so the back seat sacrifice was justified. Two large dogs have no complaints. Poor rear visibility, but the nice big mirrors help. I get 24mpg with spirited driving and 90% manual shifting. I rarely use the paddles and the shift restrictions are a hair too restrictive. If you want 0-60 times get a motorcycle or theme park. ;) However, this car was purely made for on/off ramps and windy back roads. I also really like that I can disable VSC and TRAC by holding a button (must be stopped.) Wish they had a real wagon version as we now have children. Venza and RX350 can't fit large dogs in back.

Navigation & tires

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

We leased our IS250AWD in December 2008. The navigation system is superb, we prefer it over the navigation in our Acura TSX because it signals a beep tone when turn a is approached so there's no confusion. One significant drawback for this model are the Low- Profile tires.We live in the Northeast in a larger City where pot-holes are common. In the first seven weeks we had to replace three tires due to bubbles on their side (irreparable damage, not under warranty). We estimate that over a three year lease period we replaced ca. a dozen tires on this model. Low profile tires might be suitable for a smooth rural road in the south but are not suitable for towns like Boston, N.Y. or Philly.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Worst car i ever had

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Vehicle: 2008 Lexus IS 250 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 6cyl 6A)

This is without a doubt the worse car I ever had; can't wait until the lease is up. The visibility is horrible. I can't see where am going, specially if you are trying to back up. The low profile tires are horrible, I have spent over $1500 on tires and the car has less than 15,000 miles. You feel every bump on the road. Terrible ride.

Full 2008 Lexus IS 250 Review

What's New for 2008

For the 2008 Lexus IS 250, a handful of minor changes take place, including a new "Liquid Graphite" finish for the wheels, revised front seatbacks (to provide more rear legroom), recalibrated steering for better feel and the addition of a coin holder.


Earlier this decade, Lexus introduced its first entry-level luxury sport sedan, the IS. It was a decent performer with sharp reflexes, but its cabin was cramped and had about as much sporty flavor as a Scion. A couple of years ago, Lexus upped its game, replacing the IS 300 with the IS 250 and IS 350.

The two cars are more buff, more luxurious and more sporting than their predecessor. As half of Lexus' tag-teaming sport sedan line, the 2008 IS 250 boasts a sophisticated suspension, powerful brakes and a sprightly V6 under its neatly tailored sheet metal. The cabin is a model of refinement and classy design, with most cutting-edge luxury features either standard or optional. The IS 250 isn't as powerful as the 350, but it is less expensive and the only one of the two to offer all-wheel drive.

Like its forbear, the 2008 Lexus IS 250 faces competition from BMW -- in this case, the 328i. In addition, there's also the Audi A4, Acura TL and Infiniti G35 to think about. And honestly, you can't lose with any of them. The Infiniti and Acura, in particular, boast considerably more power and roomier backseats. Meanwhile, the BMW still takes the trophy for ultimate driving enjoyment. But with its athletic moves, impressive overall quality, reputation for reliability and generous features list, the well-rounded IS 250 remains worthy of strong consideration.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Lexus IS 250 is a compact luxury sport sedan that's offered in one trim level. Standard equipment is generous and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, leather seating, power front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control and a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Optional features (mostly bundled into packages) include 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, driver seat memory, rain-sensing wipers, a power rear sunshade, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. Heated front seats are standard on the all-wheel-drive model and optional on the rear-wheel-drive versions. Both IS 250s can also be had with ventilated front seats. A sport suspension package (not available on the AWD version) dubbed the "X" package is available and features firmer suspension calibrations, 18-inch wheels, larger tires and alloy foot pedals.

Powertrains and Performance

As one may infer from the model name, a 2.5-liter V6 powers the IS 250. It makes a respectable 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Buyers may choose either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. One may have either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic in the rear-drive IS 250, while the AWD version is automatic only. Our test of a manual-transmission IS 250 yielded a respectable 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds, but expect automatic-equipped models to be at least a half-second slower.

Revised fuel economy estimates stand at 21 city and 29 highway for the IS 250 automatic, which is excellent for this segment. The manual gearbox and the AWD versions produce average results, with 18/26 and 20/26 respectively.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control and a full complement of airbags (front-seat side and full-length side curtain) are all standard. Optional is a pre-collision system (PCS) that is packaged with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. PCS uses a radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. If the computer determines that a collision is unavoidable, it pre-emptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and pre-initializes brake assist so increased braking is applied the instant the brake pedal is pressed.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the IS 250 earned a "Good" rating (the best possible) for its performance in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2008 Lexus IS 250 boasts impressive interior materials, a handsome design and plenty of luxury features. Impeccable fit and finish is evident everywhere, from the soft-touch dash and door panels to the supple leather on the seats. Lexus also offers one of the best electronics interfaces in the luxury game, with easy-to-use controls all around. The optional navigation system and accompanying touchscreen are particularly friendly.

Most compact sport sedans aren't generous with rear-seat legroom, but this is particularly true with the IS 250. Even with this year's marginal improvement in legroom (that comes via scooped-out front seatbacks), adults or even large children may not be happy in the rear seat on long road trips -- especially with a taller driver up front. Headroom is also in short supply in both front and rear. If you're at all above average in size, the IS may prove to be no more spacious than a luxury coupe.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Lexus IS 250's manual transmission allows drivers to wring out the most performance from the car's small V6 engine, though most buyers will be suitably happy with the automatic that delivers better-than-average fuel economy. On a twisty road, the IS 250's precise steering and buttoned-down suspension inspire confidence. The ride is controlled yet comfortably supple, and the plush cabin, devoid of noise and vibration, is a fine example of tranquility.

Talk About The 2008 IS 250

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs