2014 Lexus IS 250 Long-Term Update 1
Confirming the Verdict
As this is the first update, I'm still getting to know the new IS 250 and determining how much I personally agree Motor Trend's reviews of the car to date. It should be no secret that we don't all agree 100 percent about every car, but so far, my colleagues' assessments have been right on the money. It's all grip and no go.
My 2014 IS 250 is a big upgrade over the previous car, but much of the underpinnings are the same. The 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 (not a typo) makes just 185 lb-ft of torque, or roughly the same total output as the naturally aspirated four-cylinder under the hood of a Honda Civic Si. My luxury sedan, despite having but three options, weighs a bit more.
The transmission's ratios, in the lower gears, are aggressive and help the IS 250 feel peppy enough off the line that it's fine to drive around town. Ask any more of the car, though, and it's going to feel slow. Like in my old BMW 328i long-termer, I find myself constantly putting the IS 250 in Sport mode for better throttle response and longer holding of gears. As with many naturally aspirated motors, winding it out to redline makes it feel quicker as it hits peak power, but sounding like a dishwasher does it no favors.
Given the old IS' luxury car handling, the little V-6's low power didn't stand out so much, but with the greatly improved chassis, I find myself wanting more from the drivetrain. The chassis feels solid and the car stays planted on the road. The steering is surprisingly heavy for a Lexus, responds sharply, and even provides feedback from the road. The body is well-controlled and composed when changing directions, making me want to drive this car like a sports sedan rather than a luxury cruiser. Unfortunately, the engine's not up to it. I enjoy driving this car -- I just wish it were quicker.
To give credit where it's due, the 2.5-liter V-6 is very smooth, as befits a luxury car. Unfortunately, that's its best asset. A turbocharged, four-cylinder, BMW 320i is half a second quicker to 60 mph and gets better fuel economy with less horsepower and more torque. Lexus needs to get its own turbo four-cylinder tech out the door quick, because this powertrain is simply outclassed.
As a result of all this, I'm left wanting more from this car, because there's strong potential here. I'm thankful I need only wait a few months until this IS 250 is replaced with an IS 350, which ought to cure what ails this car.
|Service life||3 mo/4278 mi|
|Average fuel economy||21.5 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||0.90 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||21/30/24 mpg|
|Energy consumption||157 kW-hr/100mi|