Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2017 Lexus IS turboCooley drives the new, little, hot sedan with the 2.0L turbo four.
Well you probably know Lexus is in the middle of a pretty good revamp these days. To one end, to become hipper, cooler, sportier. Look at the NX, look at the RC, look at the coming LC. But don't leave out the sleeper of the bunch, the baby sedan with the baby power plant. Got one right here. Let's drive the [INAUDIBLE] Lexus IS turbo. Check the tick. [MUSIC] Now the IS itself is not a new model of course. It was in many Anyways, the first of the hipper, trimmer Lexi back in the day. Soldiering on nicely, we have an F Sport in this 2017. You can tell that quick spotter's guide is that face which is very polarizing. I happen to like it. A lot of folks think it's too scary monster. You've also got a mild body kit, these wheels, and some very nice sport seats I'm gonna check out in a moment. Now, what does this guy compete with? Just about everything. This is a really vibrant class. It starts with three series, goes on to C class. Audi A4, Infinity Q50, Cadillac ATS, and I'm at a screen room or I'd put more up there. [SOUND] The cabin ergo on this IS is fantastic it's got this really great layback console that first appeared with the Lexus CT a number of years ago. There's not one thing in this car that doesn't fall to my hand properly. The little tack on rails. It's cool, I'll grant you that, comes off the LFA Supercar but when don't I wanna see the menus to the left of the tach? We have the F sport seats that are very supportive but they are also very soft, so they're sculpted like a sports seat but upholstered like a luxury seat. Why can't the Germans get that right? Okay, now things start to go. Downhill as my hand falls to one of the controls. This stupid thing, this upside down putt controller, remote touch, the call it at Lexus. It's the worst way To run an automotive interface you'll just overshoot all the time and you constantly gotta be looking up to confirm, is the pointer where you think it is based on where you've moved this thing. And speaking of the screen that interface is looking long in the tooth, I don't think it's changed in the history of Lexus navigation head units. And isn't that background from PowerPoint 97? Similarly I'm thinking, you've got radio and you've got media. You can do search for destination from nav but you gotta poke a little bit. Or you can go to the apps and search for destination. Few cars cry out more for Android auto and Car Play and don't offer it. [MUSIC] Now once you slide your Act to worry you think you want it. Its very clear of the back you are driving a two liter turbo for it. Can have a lot of car on its plate from time to time. It's just the nature of this small, high strung males. Keeping it fed is forth and direct injection and a single but twin scroll turbo charger. Power is 241 horse and 258 lb. ft. of torque. You only have one choice on transmission, 8 speed automatic. It's smooth, not the quickest. Rear world drive or step up and you can get all wheel drive on larger engines. 3,600 lbs. of IS gets to 60 in about 7 seconds. That's tepid compared to a number of its competitors. You'll get over 30 on the highway, 26 average. But none of that's a revelation, what is is what's under me. This car is all chassis. Toss it, throw it, fling it, flip it, there's no flipping. I didn't find one turn or curve Well I didn't think, hey I'm a better driver than I thought I was, it's the car, and unlike some competing German cars that handle as well or a little better, this one doesn't make you pay for it with the ride quality of a vegetable truck. Perhaps the only downside to the overall package, maybe it sounds better outside, but in the cabin it. Sounds like a four cylinder engine. Okay let's place our sporty little pal. An IS turbo that's the bottom of the line for this class is 38-8 but we have the s sport pack. That gives you, that adds 3,500 more. Now there's Navigation and Levinson together for 2,800. I have almost no value for that Nav so I don't feel great about it. Blind spot and cross traffic alert is at reasonable $600. There's also the option of some lowering springs for under 700. I'm not sure what they do with the ride quality. And on a Lexus, I think I'd want to preserve that. All in Cnet style about $545,800. Turbo, F Sport with just about all the tech. Where does this guy fit? The IS is not as fast, nor as much of a hard driver's tool as some of the German competition or even a Cadillac in some cases. But what you're looking at here is a vehicle that brings the Lexus DNA of comfort and luxury credibly into the mix with about as much performance as you're likely need. [MUSIC] More cars driven CNET style, standing by now at CNETOnCars.com. Click on the road. [MUSIC]