Before purchasing I drove the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C 350 Sport, Infiniti G35, Audi A4 and Acura TL-S. The C 350 was the only car in class that can hold a candle to this car in all-around characteristics. The IS 250 in the 6 speed manual, gives you the performance that you're looking for. While other cars in the class will be slightly faster, none had as nice of a feel in shifting and ride comfort at the Lexus.
The suspension and handling is phenominal! The interior is ultra-sleek and still sporty.