High points of this version of the Lexus IS include eye-catching styling and a silky smooth V6 . Performance is rather pokey though. We originally tested the 2.5-liter V6 version, which delivered just 21 mpg overall. Beginning with the 2016 model year, the 2.5-liter was replaced by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and fitted to a new trim line: IS 200t. The new engine produces 241 hp and is mated to an eight-speed automatic. The IS 200t is rear-wheel drive only. Also new is the all-wheel drive IS 300, which uses a 255-hp version of the 3.5-liter V6 and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic. The IS 350 was unchanged.
Handling is nothing special. Body roll is fairly well contained, but the car isn't particularly agile. The steering is appropriately weighted, but feels vague and doesn't telegraph much feedback. When pushed to its handling limits at our track, the IS was secure and forgiving, but overly pronounced understeer diluted the handling finesse and enjoyment drivers expect from a sports sedan.
Moreover, the IS' ride comfort doesn't compensate for the car's lack of agility; it's neither plush nor tied down.