Written by Marco Carvajal
Test driving the new 4th generation 2021 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT, I can feel even better driving performance due to its rigidity, chassis, and suspension enhancements. It rides precisely, firm and fast.
Lexus IS is an elegant executive sedan, produced and sold by Lexus since 1999. The impressive IS was originally sold in Japan since 1998 under the Toyota Altezza badge, the word Altezza translated from Italian means “height” or “highness”. In 1999 the IS was moved into the emerging Lexus brand becoming a premium car.
The IS along with the LS were some of the first steps into the new brand Lexus, ready to compete with premium European cars like BMW. The Lexus IS was introduced in the Lexus lineup as an entry-level sports sedan car below the Lexus ES.
Over the last 21 years, more than a million copies of the IS model have been produced. Many of these copies travel in Europe. Initially, the IS sedan was created with the thought of the European market. Now in the present, the IS has been modernized and making its way throughout the American market.
The Lexus IS is very appealing for its sportiness, exterior, and chassis settings. The IS reinforces its performance statement with a noticeably more powerful engine. The exterior is very attractive, it has been beautifully designed and the new 4th Generation is going further with luxury and sport design everywhere.
New IS 4th Generation
Early this year in 2021, Lexus officially unveiled the 4th generation IS in Japan. The new upgraded 4th generation model has been brought in line with a Driving Signature concept, which promises even more sport and drive, combined with high levels of safety and advanced multimedia capabilities.
Compared to the previous IS 3rd generation, the new IS handling and performance has been completely enhanced. Most safety systems have been upgraded, the body rigidity has become higher, making it stronger and safer, the center of gravity has been lowered becoming even sportier. As a result of several tests carried out by Lexus, the new suspension was completed redesigned to reduce all kinds of sources of vibration and noise. The base IS trim has been upgraded to 18-inch wheels (before it was 17 inches),
Optional for the new IS you can select 19-inch wheels that are standard on the IS F-Sport version.
Lexus IS 350 F SPORT
The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport I am driving is the top-of-the-line trim in the IS family. It is sportier, with better performance and more features, but the difference in pricing is only two thousand dollars more, making the F Sport the most attractive purchase in the IS lineup.
The new fourth-generation Lexus IS 350 F Sport with a 311-horsepower v6 engine is ready to create more serious competition against other sedans. The IS sports character and Lexus luxury style inside and outside are enhanced on the design of this sedan.
The IS 350 F SPORT includes larger 19-inch wheels, gloss black accents around the front grille, lower rocker, and rear lip spoiler to produce a bold F sporty style, very attractive in balance with its good performance.
I have a few reasons to love the IS, not only because of its performance but also because the way it looks with its new design. The new IS sport sedan looks as aggressive as it drives.
The new low imposing stance is 30 millimeters wider than its previous generation. New taillamp that tapers to mere millimeters in the center. New more dramatic character lines. The new IS is not only more attractive on the outside, the new interior is also enhanced by a touchscreen display, a shift knob, and a steering wheel trimmed in hand-selected leather. Accent stitching along with the dash and larger, circular air vents reminiscent of jet turbines and more interior design details.
The new fourth generation 2021 IS 350 F Sport has a smart and efficient V6 engine with six driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport S, Sport S Plus and Custom. Each mode adjusts at what rpms the eight-speed automatic shifts, as well as well as steering speed and effort, and shock absorber stiffness.
IS 350 Sport Technology
Amazon Alexa Integration
The new IS includes very sophisticated 3D audio technologies. A new touchscreen multimedia display placed six inches closer for the driver’s convenience. New Android Auto integration, Voice-activated Alexa allows you similar functions like if you were at home, to listen to audiobooks, stream Amazon Music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings, and more. You can use Alexa to control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat, and security systems.
Advanced Panoramic View Monitor
The available Panoramic View Monitor works with four high-resolution cameras mounted on the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle to give drivers a bird’s-eye view of the near environment. You are driving inside the IS, but its advanced view monitor lets you see and feel as if you were flying outside of the vehicle in total contact with all your surroundings. Moving View and See-Through View options create a composite image of the vehicle’s surroundings as on-screen guides assist with parking and tight maneuvering. This system not only lets you enjoy and feel in control but also enhances safety onboard the fast IS 350 Sport.
Smart Lexus App
Manage your vehicle on the go with the upgraded Lexus app. One of the features of the Lexus App is that it lets start your vehicle remotely with your smartwatch or schedule a service appointment.
Lexus Safety System 2.5
The new Lexus Safety System 2.5 is a class-leading integrated suite of the most advanced standard active safety equipment ever offered on a Lexus. This safety system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist.
Lane departure alert with steering assist system works with a camera to monitor visible lane markings. if inadvertent lane departure is detected at speeds above 32 mph, the system warns the driver to steer back into the lane. This lane departure system can even take slight corrective measures to stay within the visibly marked lane.
More safety features include intelligent high beams, all-speed dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist
Trims and Pricing for the 2021 Lexus IS
Lexus knows how to produce premium and luxury cars at a low price. As a premium brand, part of Toyota, Lexus keeps similar value compared to its pricing. If you buy a Lexus you know you can get a very luxurious and durable automobile that is worth every penny of its price.
In the case of the Lexus IS, the starting base price of $39K is not high if you think about all the luxury, quality, great materials, great V6 engine, and performance you are buying.
Compared to a regular sedan, the IS $39K base price may seem expensive but is not when you count all that you are getting for your money. Lexus (just like Toyota) is able to sell a huge volume of its cars giving customers the advantage to pay less due to this massive production, reducing costs and margin profit per single unit.
- 2021 IS 300
- 2021 IS 300 AWD
- 2021 IS 350 F SPORT (the one I am test driving)
$42,950 RWD / $44 ,50 AWD
The IS 350 F Sport is the top of the lineup and as a high-end trim model, $42K for the RWD or $44K for the AWD is actually a low price. The base model IS 300 and the IS 300 AWD are just a little bit cheaper at $39K and $41K. I think it is totally worth buying the top-of-the-line IS 350 F Sport just for an additional two thousand dollars.
The F Sport is the way to go if you are going to purchase a Lexus IS.
The fast 2021 IS 350 with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 311 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque.
The IS 350 Sport rear-wheel-drive model uses the same eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission found in the IS 300 RWD, while the IS 350 F Sport AWD version includes a six-speed automatic.
The IS performs incredibly fast, the IS 350 RWD goes from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.6 seconds, while the IS 350 AWD goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Experience thrilling responsiveness with the new revised sport-tuned suspension of the IS F SPORT. For additional exhilaration and even higher performance, the available optimized Adaptive Variable Suspension delivers enhanced cornering and stability.
The Lexus IS is a great machine to drive with very good driving performance and style. The RWD V6 engine works very smoothly with the eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, it feels great! it is fast, efficient, it responds very precisely to the driver’s commands.
The driver has the choice of five different driving modes like Eco, Normal, Sport, Custom, and more. it is a smart car, efficient and fun to drive.
The Lexus IS on the corners literally sticks to the road. It has a powerful engine ready for performance.
With all-wheel drive the IS 350 F SPORT AWD automatically allocates engine power between the front and rear axles from 30/70 to a 50/50. The system can help provide enhanced traction on a wide range of road surfaces and conditions.
2021 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT Highlights
- 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque
- 3.5-liter V6 engine
- Available as RWD or AWD
- The IS 350 Sport rear-wheel-drive model includes an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission
- IS 350 F Sport AWD version includes a six-speed automatic.
- S 350 RWD goes from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.6 seconds
- IS 350 AWD goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
- F Sport exterior styling
- F Sport 19-inch staggered-width wheels
- DOHC, 24-valve, with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)
- Certified Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV III)
- Dual-zone climate control
- Electronic parking brake
- NuLuxe interior trim
- SmartAccess with push-button Start/Stop
- Illuminated entry system
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Four-way adjustable headrests
- F SPORT bolstered heated and ventilated front seats
- Heated leather-trimmed steering wheel
- Black Geometric trim
- Embossed interior door trim
- Aluminum sport pedals
- Rear armrest with cup holders
- Lexus Multimedia System with 8.0-in touchscreen color display
- Lexus app (Enform Remote engine start, service scheduling, Vehicle Health Reports/Alerts, and more)
- Apple CarPlay integration
- Amazon Alexa compatibility
- Android Auto integration
- Active Sound Control
- Anti-lock Braking System
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
- Electronic Power Steering system