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.)
Have seen some bad reviews of manual trans - I think it is excellent through the first four gears, with just 5th and 6th being a bit rope-a-dope to get there. And the manual really makes the engine come alive. Also, i am comparing to a 2008 328i BMW, and a 2004 Honda S2000 - Honda the best obviously, but I would say IS 250 trans better than 328i.
Rev-happy engine, manual trans, very good handling, intuitive features and controls, very good ride, comfortable seats, good steering feel for most driving.
Handling and steering certainly could be dialed up a couple of degrees for really spirited driving.
A few more horsepower, a slightly bigger back seat, and memory seats and mirrors in basic premium package.
Very comfortable ride, for a small car. I've had it almost 2 years, no major problems. Front wheels, a lot of dust brakes. I'm 6'3", so I need a lot of leg room to drive. There is only enough room for a small kid to ride in the back seat behind me. Why does this car have such a big trunk but no space in the back seat? Every time I reverse, the wheels squeak so much, I don't have even 10,000 miles yet. I've been using plus gas, anything higher is a waste of money. Many times, I smell something overheating from the clutch, it has been checked by the dealer, they found nothing. The service at the Lexus dealer is too expensive, for oil change, basic service, etc. I go to Toyota, it's cheaper.
Head lights, ride of the car, instruments, stereo, fuel economy, brakes, shift gear.
Larger back seat. Larger front windows especially if someone is in the passenger seat, you must be very careful because the view can be the view can be easily blocked. The 3.5 engine is a must with the clutch.
Overall good entry level luxury car. Have had to replace transmission (Manual) once under warranty as well as ongoing trips to the dealer to resolve interior trim panel rattling and cracking noises which are as of now solved. Great gas mileage, good engine, could use more power to be competitive with other makes. Cramped rear seat is a drawback
Great style Fuel economy
Needs more room for front & rear passengers. Needs a better shifting and quieter manual transmission/flywheel assembly. Needs better interior quality control.
This is not a bad car at all setting aside from numerous dealership visits within the 25k miles I have clocked with this vehicle. The engine is very smooth, quiet yet not as powerful as I would like, even with the manual transmission. The down points for this car is various suspension noises & horrible manual transmission/factory flywheel combo. At about 5000 miles, the manual transmission had to be replaced. Right after, various TSB's were performed for interior noises & passenger side front A-Pillar head air bag cover was replaced. Now I hear clanking in the suspension area when going over any type of bump or road imperfection. Also, interior plastic clips are getting loose which make noise.
Good technology for the cheapest Lexus. I like the push button start & instrument cluster illumination. Stock stereo is good but made up for by using 13 speakers.
Lexus needs to improve build quality for the IS. The quirks needs to be fixed so Lexus can keep their motto of "Passionate Pursuit of Perfection".