I bought the IS to replace my '09 TL SH-AWD which was getting long in the tooth. And yes I lost over 100 hp but the engine and transmission work so well together that the IS 250 is deceptively quick and very responsive. So far, I don't miss my TL. I chose the Atomic Silver with the Red interior and it is definitely one of the best color combinations Lexus has to offer. Based on how I drove my TL, the IS 250 F Sport has plenty of 'real world' power. The IS 350 is nice but the additional 102 hp not necessary to enjoy the features of this sports sedan.
I traded up from the previous model IS250 (model year 2009) and I couldn't be happier! While the cars may share an engine and drivetrain, the 2015 model is a significant improvement over the previous model. Lexus has really changed the dynamics of the car with the chassis and steering; the car feels incredbily sharp, if not overwhelmingly powerful. 204 HP may not be tops in this class, but it has always felt sufficient to me for what I require. Forget the AWD and save weight and mpg, you aren't going to drive this car in the snow anyways (the ground clearance alone won't allow it). In RWD the IS250 has enough power to satisfy, and you will always look better next to a C class or 3 series!
Comfortable heated/cooled front seats; new voice commands; exellent standard audio system; Lexus app suite and Enform remote, upgraded wheels and performance tires; dash layout (like a cockpit) with drive select mode now more accesible; love the NuLuxe seats (which I wasn't sure about vs. leather); vastly improved rear seat room/access.
I do miss the old touch screen a bit, with the mouse not feeling as intuitive or accessible. However, overall I absolutely love this car and think Lexus has really hit the mark. Coupled with the dealership experience, I am confident this is the best car for the money in its class.
The navigation/infotainment screen could be larger (like in the GS model), and I miss the old touch screen, even though the dash layout wouldn't allow for it. The steering wheel is a bit thin (previous model was worse), so would be nice for it to be a bit thicker, especially considering how great the steering feel is. Memory seats should be standard, not an option.
1st time lexus owner, extremely happy with our purchase. Don't let the 206 hp rating discourage you, the car is quite quick and responsive. Power is very linear with strong pull all the way through the rev range. It feels much faster than it actually is, which is a huge plus in the fun factor. Steering is very precise, and the car stays flat through the corners at high speeds. Ride is firm, yet forgiving over small bumps. You quickly see where your dollar went when you drive it, Lexus has this suspension dialed in. Road noise is minimal. Great visibility. Base level stereo is great. Would recommend this car to anyone who can see the value in a performance oriented car.
Despite the rather low peak hp, engine is surprisingly strong and extremely smooth. Transmission shift points are perfect. Love that the manual mode is a true "gear selector" rather than an "up-shift limiter" like most cars have. Ride quality is top notch. Dash layout is very user friendly. Love the old school analog clock in the dash, very retro chic. AWD handles the black ice with ease. Haven't had it in deep snow yet, but am confident it should do fine. LED headlamps are awesome, they light up the road like you can't believe and look amazing.
There is a seam at the bottom of the front seat back that causes some discomfort on long rides for me, the wife doesn't notice it. Memory seats should be standard. Side mirrors are oddly shaped and a little taller than necessary. MSRP is about $2k higher than it should be. Odd hump that protrudes into drivers side leg area, I am assuming that this has to do with AWD?? It is a little obtrusive.