2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport
2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport
2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport. Click image to enlarge

Review and Photos by Tom Sedens

Oh, Lexus F Sport. You continue to confuse me. F Sport packages throw down with a visual sense of aggression but don’t really match the look with significant performance gains in the straight line. Yes, the vehicles might handle better, but some Lexus vehicles “upgraded” with F Sport suffer as a result. For example, the RX 350 F Sport – sure, it looks a bit meaner and might handle slightly better on the track (because so many RXs end up on the track), but the package also puts a dent in the luxurious ride this large SUV is famous for. So what’s the point?

Let’s see if it makes more sense when it’s paired with the IS then, shall we? I’m hoping Lexus’s smaller sport sedan is a better fit for F Sport.

The IS 250 has received lukewarm reception from many driving enthusiasts. The disappointment starts on paper. It’s tough to get excited about a 2.5L direct-injection V6 that puts out 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm these days. Even tougher when it’s only rated at 184 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. Those numbers were barely impressive 15 years ago.

Lexus pairs the engine with a six-speed automatic and, in this model, an all-wheel-drive system. It’s not a particularly large vehicle, but building a car well (which Lexus does) adds weight – this one weighs in at 1,655 kg (3,649 lb) so it’s no feather-weight. Unsurprisingly, the rated fuel economy isn’t spectacular. The 250 AWD is rated at 10.4 L/100 km (23 mpg) in the city and 7.3 L/100 km (32 mpg) on the highway. I drove the car pretty hard for the week I had it, and between that and dragging my butt along in stop-and-go commuting for the balance of the time, I feel that I did alright, averaging 10.3 L/100 km (23 mpg).

2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport
2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD F Sport. Click image to enlarge

The IS’s tank holds 66 L and this uptown girl drinks premium fuel.

The F Sport IS has a very aggressive front end. The combination of sculpted, mean-looking air intakes and a lower air dam, the wicked grille (currently one of my favourites), stylized HID headlight pods and angrily-hooked LED driving lights combine to make for a memorable fascia and it got a lot of looks wherever I went. Of course, my review car’s beautiful Ultrasonic Blue Mica color definitely helps grab onlookers’ attention too.

The side of the car enjoys some nice sculpting as well, although the lines flow with less visual acuity and aren’t nearly as expressive as they are at the front. It’s a nice profile but it almost seems like a disappointment in contrast to the front end.

The rear end benefits from some cool LED taillight strips. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes the shape of the taillights reminds me a bit of the Acura TSX. Lexus finishes it off with a pair of beefy exhaust tips and nice 18-inch, graphite-finish, five-double-spoke rims shod with 225/40s in the front and massive 255/35s in the back.

I enjoyed the cabin, with its beautiful upscale materials, upholstered panels, contrasting stitching and interesting styling. The design team continued sculpting inside, but it’s not off the wall – just different enough to feel modern and fresh. You drop into the seats and sit low. Headroom is okay, but it’s a snug cabin overall.

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