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Lexus IS 250 and 350 comparison

The Lexus IS250 and IS350
The Lexus IS250 and IS350Steven Marks

2014 Lexus IS250 and IS350


When manufacturers debut a new model, there are typically several variants or trim levels offered. The trims can vary with packaging or features, distinctive appearance, and even engine choices. Most of the time, a "base" model kicks off the lineup with a smaller engine, basic features, and bland exterior appearance. Lexus doesn't do base.

Launched just a few months ago, Lexus introduced its all-new third generation IS models to market, with the IS250 and IS350. These models play an important role in the Lexus lineup as the introductory staple to a full line portfolio of luxury. The sport sedan segment is highly competitive, and Lexus was determined to become a key player in a segment primarily dominated by the Germans. Mission accomplished.

The new Lexus IS models possess radical styling, performance significance, and plenty of amenities to please. At first glance, it's hard to even distinguish each from the exterior. Both models proudly wear the company's new spindle grill outlined by L-finesse LED lights. Bold styling cues with sharp lines carry through both models that quickly draw eyes to the rear, where you'll find the only distinction between the two models, the rear nomenclature.

On the inside, both models remain identical, and offer various levels of packaging to match buyers to their perfect ride. Leather adorns the interiors, while high quality materials finish off details that underline the luxury that Lexus models are well known for. F-Sport models enjoy a customized instrument cluster that borrows its slide gauge design from the halo sports car, the LFA.

Under the hood is where key differences begin. The IS250 carries an efficient and responsive 2.5 liter V6 with 204 horsepower. Performance is quite impressive even with the small displaced powerplant. The initial take off of the 2.5 liter does offer a slight lag, due to its small displacement and low torque and horsepower. If performance is important, mark the IS350 as a must see on your buying list. Equipped with a 3.5 V6 with just over 300 horsepower, the performance is sure to guarantee smiles for miles, while still maintaining smooth direct power with impressive fuel economy.

While some sport sedans suffer from a clearly varied exterior and trim line features, it's great to see that Lexus still keeps many details consistent on different trim levels. So whether efficiency, price, or performance is your concern, just know that the IS promises to deliver a substantial value for each whether you choose the 250 or 350 variant. For more information on the IS design portfolio, please visit