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!
This car doesn't have acceleration nor the power of the BMW 328i. However, it has the feel of a luxury automobile. The styling is great inside and out. I love the fighter jet cockpit feel. The seats are wonderfully comfortable. Of course the heated seats are great but the ventilated seats are divine. With the Lexus you get BMW quality and Lexus reliability.
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.
1/13/17 Update - my IS is still rock solid. I now have 26k miles and is a joy to drive everyday. I replaced the tires at 19k miles with Michelin Pilot Super Sports and it handles much better than when I 1st purchased it.
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.
previously owned a lexus is AWD 2008, exchanged and bought this one, truly love this car, nice lights with very good illumination at night, cabin feel is very good, seats are very comfy even on long rides, lay over / interior is very good quality, road noise is unnoticeable, accelaration very nice and sound rewarding, back seat space better, electronics very nice, sound system is basic but has everything, nuluxe seats are fantastic, steering feel is great.
favourite part is the F sport front grille, simply adore it.