Lexus isn’t resting on their past success in the luxury sport sedan segment. They have stepped it up a notch with the 2014 IS350 F-Sport with a bold new look and sharper driving dynamics. We found out the 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport will definitely hold its own on winding roads and on the track.
What’s new for 2014?
The 2014 Lexus IS350 gets a new, rear-wheel-drive platform with an upgraded chassis that has been strengthened with additional bracing and new technologies like adhesive bonding. The 2014 Lexus IS350 more than 20 pounds lighter than the outgoing model. It also gets a larger interior and a longer equipment list.
Interior updates include a revised climate control panel that uses electrostatic controls for the temperature. On this F-Sport tester, it gets a cool TFT display from the IS-F and replaces the standard instrument cluster in front of the driver. The F-Sport package ($2,550) also includes heated and cooled leather trim seats, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates and sport steering wheel and shift knob.
Outside, this IS350 F-Sport also gets extra goodies to set it apart. It features unique front lip spoiler and sport grille, F Sport badging, dark graphite 18-inch alloy wheels and dual chrome exhaust tips. This rear-wheel-drive model included an adaptive variable suspension with Sport S+ driving mode.
Under the hood of F-Sport
All 2014 Lexus IS350 models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft., so the engine is not upgraded on the F-Sport. But it will sprint from 0-60 mph in a quick 5.6 seconds. We tested the IS350 F-Sport on the track at High Plains Raceway near Denver and it performed better than expected. The F-Sport suspension, 3.5-liter V6 coupled to the six-speed automatic was a good combination for the tight corners and elevation changes on the track. The ventilated front and rear disc brakes did get a bit hot and needed to be cooled down with all the hard braking during the track day. The F-Sport model had Sport S and Sport S+ modes that was perfect for the track and more spirited driving.
The new multi-link rear suspension was redesigned for 2014 and this F-Sport tester had minimal body roll as we took the tight corners at track speeds. The updated suspension kept the car firmly planted. The 6-speed automatic gearbox was smooth and shifted in the right spots.
The 3.5-liter V6 has plenty of power when needed, and enough torque to get the two-door coupe moving quickly. We could toss the car around the track and push the boundaries without fear of it getting out of hand. On the highway, this tester was responsive and a joy to drive in traffic. The ride was relatively smooth, although we did notice road and wind noise, especially on rough and dirt roads. Fuel economy estimates are 19/27 mpg city/highway with rear-wheel-drive.
The 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport Convertible is a performance enthusiast’s car. With the F-Sport package, Lexus steps it up a notch and comes close to competing with the Germans. Lexus is now able to compete in the ultra-competitive luxury sport compact segment with cars like the 2014 Infiniti Q60. This is a car that offers easy drivability and will make anyone feel like a better driver on or off the track. For those who want a bit more performance, but will never take it to the track, the F-Sport package is a good option even if you just drive it to the office.