Very good torque throught the manual gears, especial 1 thru 4; holds turns very well; easy to handle/steer - good wheel feel; powerful breaking; and still quite, espec. when touring; AND signif. more power to the rear wheels than the automatic. But ... nothing like the MT in my 1994 Lexus ES300.
I had many problems with IS manual trans. After buying IS250 as CPO with only 2k miles, all kinds of MT came up: the worst being the flywheel was warped and I could get the car to move away in 1st from a stop -smoothly and with no jerkiness. It was maddening; had to argue and convince Lexus to take it seriously.
Finally, 13,000 mi later, they replaced flywheel, which showed hot spots throughout.
Handling, especially through fast turns.
This, including good torque coming out of the turns and great breaks going into the turns.
Even with the mediocre man. transmission, it's fun to drive and spunky.
Compared to the auto. trans. IS250 (which I drove as a loaner car), the extra power to the rear wheels provided by a man. transmission is clearly noticeable in performance -
espec. accelerating out of turns or just straight ahead or coming "off the mark."
Lexus, please don't install a cheap transmission in an good car.
(Note: I believe Lexus stopped making a model
with manual transmission, starting in maybe 2012.)