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2023 Lexus IS Evaluate, Pricing, and Specs




Overview

Not only does the 2023 IS wear Lexus’s spindle grille better than most of its stablemates, but it is also prettier than most of the other cars in the compact sports-sedan class. It’s a shame then, that its performance doesn’t quite match that of cars like the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Genesis G70. Even the top-spec IS500, with its range-topping V-8 engine and the IS’s best suspension, fails to be as crisp-handling and rewarding as we’d hope for in a sports sedan. The entry-level IS300’s turbo-four feels underpowered but the middle-of-the-road IS350’s V-6 is more refined—even if it’s not particularly quick by sports-sedan standards. The IS does a better job emulating Lexus’s other built-for-comfort luxury cars, with a ride that’s compliant and easy-going. Similarly, the cabin is nicely built with premium materials and generous features. So, perhaps the IS is the sedan for people who want a car that looks sporty but drives chill.

What’s New for 2023?

For 2023, the IS350 F Sport and IS500 F Sport models get new wheel designs, with the latter coming with 19-inch Enkei rollers. A special appearance package for the IS500 F Sport Performance Premium model includes Molten Pearl exterior color with black faux-leather interior upholstery and unique BBS forged alloy wheels; only 150 will be built. The IS350 F Sport also gets a new appearance package, but instead of the Molten Pearl color, Lexus has chosen Incognito exterior paint with an Obsidian-colored hood; only 480 of these will be offered for sale.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Although we’re most intrigued by the high-performance IS500 model, its price may put it out of reach of many shoppers. If that’s true for you, we’d think the mid-range IS350 F Sport with rear-wheel drive offers most of the IS’s performance charms. The F Sport package not only offers more aggressive exterior styling but also comes with unique 19-inch wheels with larger rear tires, a cold-air intake system, a limited-slip rear differential, an F Sport exhaust, and sport seats with heat and ventilation. We’d also opt for the Dynamic Handling package, which includes an adaptive suspension system.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The 2023 IS has three engine options: a 241-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the IS300, a 311-hp V-6 in the IS350, and now a 472-hp V-8 in the IS500 F Sport Performance model. We haven’t been fans of the four-cylinder in previous tests of the IS300, as its dull character isn’t well matched to the car’s athletic chassis and refined, upscale personality. Ordering the V-6 allows the IS to shine and unlocks the F Sport package, which brings numerous performance upgrades such as a limited-slip rear differential, staggered 19-inch wheels, and an optional adaptive suspension. When we tested a rear-wheel-drive IS350 F Sport, we recorded a brisk 5.6-second zero-to-60-mph time—average for this swift class. Looking for the ultimate IS? The V-8-powered IS500 model is the one to consider. At our test track, it pulled off a solid 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA has given the most efficient IS—the four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive IS300 model—fuel-economy estimates of 31 mpg highway and 21 mpg city. The V-6 IS350 is rated as high as 28 mpg highway and as low as 19 mpg city; the IS500 is rated at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. When we drove an all-wheel-drive IS350 on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, it delivered 30 mpg. For more information about the IS’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

While not nearly as spacious or deluxe as Lexus’s flagship LS sedan, the compact IS still offers a premium experience. Power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start are all standard features, while a power sunroof and leather upholstery are options. When the IS was redesigned for the 2021 model year, Lexus made few changes to the interior, but a discerning eye will notice relocated cupholders, round air vents near the door panels, and an infotainment system that’s been moved closer to the edge of the dashboard.

Infotainment and Connectivity

An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard and also uses a console-mounted touchpad; a larger 10.3-inch display is optional and comes bundled with in-dash navigation. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa are compatible with either system. As in the previous-generation IS, a Mark Levinson premium stereo system is available as an option, but this time it has 17 speakers and 1800 watts of power.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Lexus continues to offer a suite of driver-assistance features as standard on the IS lineup. For more information about the IS’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The IS has comprehensive coverage that’s highlighted by the best powertrain warranty. The first year of scheduled maintenance is included at no charge.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
  • Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance

Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $57,575/62,075

Options: Premium (heated steering wheel, 360-degree camera, power rear sunshade, parking assist, Mark Levinson speakers, triple-beam LED headlights), $4500

ENGINE

DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection

Displacement: 303 in3, 4969 cm3

Power: 472 hp @ 7100 rpm

Torque: 395 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: control arms/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 14.0-inch vented disc/12.7-inch vented disc

Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001L

F: 235/40R-19 92Y; R: 265/35R-19 94Y

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 110.2 in

Length: 187.3 in

Width: 72.4 in

Height: 56.5 in

Passenger Volume: 92 ft3

Trunk Volume: 11 ft3

Curb Weight: 3969 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 4.3 sec

100 mph: 10.4 sec

1/4-Mile: 12.8 sec @ 112 mph

130 mph: 17.5 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec

Top Speed (gov ltd): 149 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 159 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.89 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 15 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)

Combined/City/Highway: 20/17/25 mpg 

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

VEHICLE TYPE

front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED

$55,220 (base price: $43,925)

ENGINE TYPE

DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection

Displacement: 211 in3, 3456 cm3

Power: 311 hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink

Brakes (F/R): 13.2-in vented disc/11.7-in vented disc

Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001L, F: 235/40R-19 92Y R: 265/35R-19 94Y

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 110.2 in

Length: 185.4 in

Width: 72.4 in

Height: 56.5 in

Passenger volume: 92 ft3

Trunk volume: 11 ft3

Curb weight: 3801 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 5.6 sec

100 mph: 14.2 sec

130 mph: 26.0 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec

1/4 mile: 14.2 sec @ 100 mph

Top speed (mfr’s claim): 143 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 155 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.89 g

Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 26 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/city/highway: 23/20/28 mpg

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

More Features and Specs

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