Just traded in my 08 cadillac CTS on this new 2014 IS350 AWD. I have been a GM guy all my life and decided to go with my first import car. I looked at BMW, Audi, Ford Fusion and a few others. If you are looking for a true sport sedan, look else were. This is more luxury than sport. It has a very comfortable interior and perfectly laid out. It does handle great and has very impressive performance. I still think BMW does handle a little better. Audi was a little too stiff riding but had a lush interior. But Lexus fit all my requirements this time. I have only owned it for a couple months, so far, so good. I hope it's reliable as they say. Updated Oct.09/16 Reliability has been OK. Something drained the battery one day, and when taken to the dealer, they had no explanation. This happens to my friends GS350 constantly. The voice activation/navigation is a joke and Lexus should be embarrassed. Lots of road noise for a car of this price. I will be trading this car in for another brand once the warranty is due.
I wanted to drive mine for a few months before rating it. My first impressions were nothing but positive, so I thought I would drive it for a bit before advising others. Here are the categories that are important to me: Looks: Exterior: I love the way my IS350 F Sport looks. I've read that it's polarizing, and I think that's pretty accurate. For me, it's perfect. Looks: Interior: I love the interior. This was the main reason I chose Lexus over Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. Since I'm on the inside, I care about that more than the exterior. The mouse takes some time to get used to, but now it's like 2nd nature. I love the way it clicks into position depending on which screen I'm in. It doesn't just free float like a traditional mouse. It knows where each button is on each screen, and gives physical feedback as you toggle. The guages are one of the best features. It's extremely easy to have the info you want clearly visible. Performance: I almost always drive in Sport+ mode. The only time I drive in Normal mode is on the interstate (for the extra gas mileage). In town, it's just too much fun to drive in Sport+ mode to worry about the gas savings. The F Sport in the RWD is the way to go due to the 8 speed transmission. Every gear is so smooth and acceleration is adequate for normal driving. One of my favorite parts of driving in Sport+ mode is the throaty engine sound when the RPM go above 3k. It gives the extra feel to the experience of driving a sports car without having it become obnoxious.
I am a self admitted car guy. I have had no less than 8 cars since 2000 and have either driven BMWs or Volvos. I see a lot of posts about Lexus vs. the BMW. I would ask the BMW owner to specify when they are reviewing their car-is it before or after 50,000 miles. I have had a 3 series, 5 series, 2008 X-5 4.8 L and a 2014 X-3. In 50% of my BMWs, I had major mechanical issues in or around 50,000 miles. Without hestitation, my favorite car was my 2008 X-5. It was fast and luxurious, but after spending 3 days at the dealer for a high pitched transmission whine, I decided not to wait for the full repair bill. I recently picked up a 2014 Lexus IS 350 F sport with 19" wheels. The car is an absolute blast to drive and the interior is amazing. I find the sport+ mode super responsive with an engine that has no lag and keeps giving. What makes me love this car is the reliability. With the BMWs, I was constantly worried about a major repair bill-with the Lexus, which I bought with 39,xxx miles, I feel like the car is just getting warmed up. It's a car that is both reliable and fast and one I can see myself driving for a long time. It clearly is not as fast or tight as a 335, but it's way more reliable.
Great looking outside, definitely! Lots of power. Sadly the interior kills this car: Being a 2014, Lexus really missed the mark, specially for today's modern electronics. Poorly designed are: compass pointer appears to point in the opposite direction. Default on the main screen is not Home; poor map utility; no change holder for coins; cup holder is too narrow for anything other than a small cup; no place to put your phone; radio missing many featured buttons such as Scan button; no memory setting for seats/mirrors; poor turn signal design; poor dash display; radio highs are muffled; mouse does not click so you have to fiddle a lot to get it where you want.
Love the feel and handling of this car. It's so fun to drive. Only qualms: Car vents for air conditioning could be stronger, I have to turn air all the way up to feel anything and then it's loud and annoying. Also, I should have opted for the better quality sound system. However, I feel confidant that it will always take me to and from wherever I have to go...safely. Previously I had 2 BMWs. I love the way my IS350 drives better than the 3 series I had. I also had the X5 and loved it but it was too big. I opted for this smaller sporty car and have the same fun driving this as I did the X5 even though they are two completely different vehicles. I wouldn't trade this car for anything.