2013 Lexus IS 350 Performance

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Performance

Lexus has been pushing its vehicles in two different luxury directions--some toward comfort and plushness, others toward performance. And the IS lineup is part of the latter--although in IS 250 form it would be a stretch to call it a sport sedan. 

In fact, we recommend skipping the base 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 entirely, as while it's smooth, it just doesn't have enough power (especially with the automatic transmission). With their 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, IS 350 models are much more enjoyable, but here the six-speed automatic is mandatory.

The 2013 Lexus IS 350 especially is a strong performer, although the IS 250 isn't as athletic as other base sport sedans.

The IS models feel quite agile, but they're not quite on the same dynamic ground as the BMW 3-Series or Infiniti G37. We've noted that rear-wheel-drive models do have better, more communicative steering than the other models, and steering-wheel paddle-shifters help make the most of it.

The F-Sport Package that's available on rear-wheel-drive models includes plenty of appearance upgrades, but with a sport suspension, special steering tuning, and larger 18-inch wheels, it does sharpen the driving feel somewhat.

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