The Good The 2014 Lexus IS 350 AWD F-Sport's acceleration and adaptive-suspension-enhanced handling leave little to be desired at this price. The F-Sport package's TFT instrument cluster is one of the best that I've tested. Available voice command responds to conversational inputs rather than laborious, endless prompts.
The Bad The Remote Touch Controller can be annoying for precision inputs. The AWD variant of the 350 F-Sport loses a number of the RWD model's performance upgrades, as well as two forward gears.
The Bottom Line The Lexus IS 350 isn't without its flaws and quirks, but it is a fantastic sport sedan offered at a fantastic value.
Lexus builds a great sport sedan value
A few years ago, Lexus decided to shake its conservative (read:boring) image and set about ladling gratuitous amounts of "sportiness" onto its fleet of sedans. This manifested itself, visually, in massive gaping spindle grilles, LED-bedazzled headlamps, and hyperaggressive bodywork. Lexus' stodgiest models, the LS and ES, seemed to benefit most from the youthful injection; its large sport sedan, the GS, also emerged better than ever.
However, the Lexus IS was already a perfectly good sport sedan. The first- and second-generation models were reasonably sporty, quick both in a straight line and round a bend. It was a car that skewed younger than the rest of the automaker's demographic, loaded with practicality and surprisingly affordable when compared with the benchmark of BMW. The previous IS models were also handsomely (if not a bit conservatively) styled.
What happens when Lexus applies its youth serum to a vehicle that is already youthful? Well, you end up with the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport's front end, a styling mess that looks like it was penned by three different designers who'd never bothered to compare notes. The smallish LED projector headlamps compete with the L-shaped LED daytime running lights, which poke awkwardly at Lexus' signature spindle grille. Styling is subjective, but I don't think that I'm too far off base in saying that this third-generation IS is the ugliest car in its class.