2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport: Up Close

The Lexus IS' dominant design theme is its oversized spindle grille, which looks great in the F Sport trim on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. LED daggers below the headlights complement the pinched upper area of the grille, and the dagger theme is mimicked in the taillights.

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The interior sees even bigger changes than the outside, with an all-new dashboard design that adopts the slightly industrial, stacked design of other recently redesigned Lexus models. The F Sport's black-and-red interior looks great, too.

Unfortunately, the cabin adopts touch-slider controls for cabin temperature, which is something that's annoyed us before in the Lincoln MKX crossover. Perhaps Lexus' system is better, but our usability concerns remain with this technology.

From a comfort standpoint, the biggest improvement to the 2014 IS is its much roomier backseat. It's the result of an extra 3 inches to the car's wheelbase, and it means taller adult passengers (I'm 6-foot-1) have good legroom — something that was sorely missing in the prior-generation IS. The sedan also gets a new split-folding backseat, but it doesn't lay flat with the cargo floor; there's a ledge that's about 6 inches tall.

Pricing hasn't been announced, but Lexus General Manager Mark Templin said the new car's price will be comparable to the outgoing one, which starts around $36,000 for the 2013 IS 250 and around $41,000 for the IS 350 and its more powerful V-6 engine.


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