Make us your home page
Instagram

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport sedan, convertible different animals

When we drove the redesigned Lexus IS 250 last year, we were impressed with the new look, but were left wanting a bit more power under the hood. The IS 350 F Sport, with more power, may be our answer. We drove the sedan, which carries hints of Lexus' future, as well as the convertible, which seems stuck in the past.

Appearance: It's a tale of two generations. The sedan's makeover is dominated by the distinctive hourglass-shaped grille, which gives the car a menacing look. The new sheet metal includes sculpted character lines that sweep up from the bottom of the car and blend into the rear body panels. These lines define the sweep of the body. Lyra is troubled by the taillights; she imagines the designer falling asleep with pencil in hand and his lines trailing off the drawing board. The F Sport package adds 18-inch five-spoke graphite alloy wheels and dual chrome exhaust. It's a sharp-looking sedan. The same can't be said for the convertible, which carries on the previous generation's no-drama design. The rear can look somewhat out of proportion because it has to accommodate the hardtop roof. Otherwise, the convertible has an attractive, coupelike profile when the top is raised. (Lyra thinks the trunk lid, which spans the width of the convertible, is extremely heavy. And there's no power lift gate.)

Performance: The sedan's power plant is a strong and competent 3.5-liter V-6, which puts out 306 horsepower — hardly muscle-car numbers but enough to make for spirited performance that even produces a subtle engine growl. This engine likes to be pushed and really comes to life at higher RPMs. Our RWD tester came with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The steering is sport-tuned with the variable gear ratio steering that adapts to driving conditions. The F Sport package adds an adaptive variable suspension. Plus, the estimated fuel mileage of 19/28 is not bad for a sporty sedan. The convertible is powered by the same engine, but doesn't drive like it. One reason: It has the previous generation's 6-speed automatic, which lacks the sophistication of the sedan's newer transmission. Plus, there's the added weight of the convertible top.

Interior: The sedan's redesign also includes the quiet cabin's contemporary look, which has brushed-satin trim with scale designs and quality soft-touch surfaces. The sedan has Lexus' mouselike controller for the infotainment screen, which can grow on you. Still, it takes your eyes off the road. The convertible doesn't have the mouse and goes with the older and clunkier touchscreen interface. Peter likes the sedan's futuristic instrument-panel display, which is filtered down from Lexus' LFA supercar. The gauges expand, retract and slide sideways. Cool. The convertible has more traditional instrumentation. The F Sport package adds well-bolstered but comfortable sport seats, and the sedan's longer wheel base makes for a roomier cabin, even for rear-seat passengers. The sedan does have some frustrating details: Cup holders sit too far back on the center console, especially for short drivers like Lyra who have to pull the seat forward. We also find the touch controls for the climate annoying. We prefer dials or buttons. In the convertible, there is only one cup holder unless you slide the center armrest back to reveal a second. Again, not practical. But the sedan's voice commands are very good with conversational commands. Example: Say, "It's too hot in here," and the car will lower the temperature by 4 degrees. In contrast to the sedan, we felt the convertible's cabin wasn't as sophisticated in design or materials.

The bottom line: The IS 350 F Sport sedan offers Lexus luxury in a fun-to-drive package. The convertible offers, well, a convertible. We'll wait for the update.

m 2014 Lexus IS 350

F Sport sedan

Price: $39,615 base start, $53,850 as tested

Powertrain: 3.5-liter V-6, 8-speed automatic transmission (electronic control with intelligence) with paddle shifters, RWD

Horsepower: 306 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 277 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm

Curb weight: 3,593 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 110.2

Length, 183.7

Width, 71.3

Height, 56.3

Seats: 5

Fuel economy:

19 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway

Website: l exus.com/models/IS

n 2014 Lexus IS 350

F Sport convertible

Price: $39,465 base start, $48,269 as tested

Powertrain: 3.5-liter V-6,

6-speed automatic transmission (electronic control with intelligence ) with paddle shifters, RWD

Horsepower: 306 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 277 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm

Curb weight: 3,872 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 107.5

Length, 182.5

Width, 70.9

Height, 55.7

Seats: 4

Fuel economy:

19 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway

Website: l exus.com/models/IS

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport sedan, convertible different animals 08/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 1:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.
  5. Kimmins Protégé-Mentor Program a crash course on business know-how

    Business

    TAMPA

    Williams Landscape Management Company was founded 30 years ago with one employee.

    Marisela Linares and Jorge Castro listen to speakers during a workshop at the Kimmins Contracting Corporation on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.   Kimmins Contracting Corporation is handling road construction projects Jeff Vinik's company as he remakes the Channel District. To do some outreach, the company is partnering with three minority contractors, but it's a unique partnership with Kimmins not only giving them the opportunity, but taking them through a series of workshops. It's essentially providing training to the subcontractors so they will be in position to get other contracts.