The IS sedan is Lexus' latest attempt to field a sporty four-door that rivals BMW's well-regarded 3 Series. The IS 250 is the only IS to offer optional all-wheel drive; rear-wheel drive is standard. Competitors include the BMW 328i, Audi A4 2.0T and Mercedes-Benz C300; the more powerful IS 350 plays against beefier versions of those same cars.
The IS 250 comes with a 2.5-liter V-6; the IS 350 and its 3.5-liter V-6 are covered separately in the Cars.com Research section, as is the V-8 powered IS-F. There is also a new convertible version, the IS 250C.
Skip to details on the: IS 250C
New for 2010
The 2010 IS receives a few technology updates: A USB/iPod connector is now standard, and the optional navigation system's voice-recognition software has been improved. A new telematics system has similar functionality to GM's OnStar service.
Lexus' recent LF-series concept cars influenced the IS 250's styling. The company says the latest IS bears a strong family resemblance to its larger, GS series of sport sedans. A long wheelbase and wide stance help give the IS 250 a muscular look. An optional Sport Package includes a sport suspension and 18-inch wheels with grippier summer tires.
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Optional 18-inch alloy wheels
- Optional xenon headlights
- Optional rain-sensing wipers
- Optional backup camera with front and rear parking sensors
Up to five occupants fit inside the IS 250. Bright electroluminescent instruments light up the dashboard. Metallic trim is standard, and wood trim is available. The optional navigation system's voice-recognition software now picks up casual-language commands, and the standard audio system gains a USB port to better integrate iPods or other MP3 players. Lexus' new Enform service, included with the navigation system, can assist in finding street addresses, restaurants and more. It comes with a year's service free; after that, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee.
- 10-way power front seats
- Dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents
- Power moonroof
- Manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel (powered version optional)
- 13-speaker stereo with USB input for portable music players
- Optional ventilated front seats
- Optional dynamic radar cruise control
- Optional navigation system
Under the Hood
A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the IS 250, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The automatic's steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters give the driver extra involvement when desired. When equipped with the manual transmission, Lexus says the sedan can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. The automatic transmission is standard on the all-wheel-drive model.
- 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 with 185 pounds-feet of torque
- Double-wishbone front suspension
- Multilink rear suspension
- All-wheel-drive models send 70 percent of power to the rear wheels by default; they can automatically route power 50/50 (front/rear) on low-traction surfaces like snow or ice
An optional Pre-Collision System uses radar to detect impending collisions. If it does, it can tense up the seat belts and preload the brakes for maximum stopping power. Adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction of wheel travel are optional. Lexus' new Safety Connect service, which automatically notifies authorities in the event of a crash, is standard. Like Enform, a year's service is included, but after that you'll have to pay a subscription. Standard safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management, which is meant to integrate all systems to anticipate skids and react faster than an electronic stability system alone
- Knee airbags for both front occupants
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for both rows
Available with a 2.5-liter V-6, the IS convertible has a retractable hardtop that Lexus says can operate in just 21 seconds. The four-seat interior features anti-glare gauges, plus audio and climate systems that automatically adjust their settings to compensate for top-down noise and temperatures. Other safety and luxury features remain similar to those on the IS 250 sedan. However, the IS 250C convertible is not available with all-wheel drive. Back to top