2014 Lexus IS: Track Tested

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With the redesigned 2014 IS sport sedan, Lexus is trying hard to appeal to buyers intent on getting a compact luxury car that's not only luxurious and well put-together, but also fun to drive. So focused is Lexus on this goal that it's holding regional media drive events at racetracks around the country for journalists to sample the IS' current variations on closed road courses.

We already reviewed the new 2014 IS earlier this year at its launch in Austin, Texas, but we're not going to pass up the opportunity to drive sport sedans around a track. So I trekked out to the media gathering Lexus held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., a track familiar to NASCAR Sprint Cup fans as the home of the Pure Michigan 400 and other races.

The course laid out for us took us onto an infield road course before dumping the cars onto the front stretch of the oval track and then back into the infield course at the end of pit lane. It was a relatively simple course, but it provided a good opportunity to see just how well Lexus has tuned the new IS as an enthusiast's option.

By Aaron Bragman | May 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 BMW 135is Video

While BMW continues to trend toward the large and luxurious, the 2013 BMW 135is espouses the delights of the small and sporty. Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley says the performance coupe's "back-to-basics" approach makes for some fun, road-hugging driving. The 135is' 320-horsepower six-cylinder provides impressive quickness while its sport suspension connects drivers to the terrain without bombarding them with it.

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By Matt Schmitz | May 2, 2013 | Comments (7)

Lexus Prices 2014 IS

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When the redesigned-for-2014 Lexus IS arrives at dealerships this summer, the luxury sedan will offer a number of newly standard features at a 2% discount from last year's price for IS 350 buyers, the automaker announced today. The rear-wheel-drive IS 250 will start at $36,845 and $39,380 for all-wheel drive; the IS 350 will start at $40,360 for rear-wheel drive and $42,595 for all-wheel drive (all prices include an $895 destination fee).

The IS 250 has a 2.5-liter V-6 good for 204 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque, while the 350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 306 horsepower. Both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 250 come with a six-speed automatic transmission, as does the all-wheel-drive 350; the rear-wheel-drive model gets an eight-speed automatic.

Standard features include high-intensity discharge headlights, L-shaped LED running lights, drive mode select, paddle shifters, dual-zone climate control, a new touch-screen multimedia system with 4.2-inch color display, 10 airbags, and real-time traffic and weather information without a subscription. Lexus said the previously optional equipment totals $1,400.

By Matt Schmitz | April 29, 2013 | Comments (0)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

Our video featuring PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams' introduction of the Ford Atlas at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit refused to budge from the top spot on the list of this week's most-watched videos. The concept truck was in good company this week as another video of the Atlas finding its way to the show floor in Detroit entered the list at No. 3. Yet another heavy-duty pickup truck from the Detroit auto show, the 2013 Ram HD 3500, joined the list in fifth place. Check out the top video above and see which others were popular this week:

1. Ford Atlas Concept
2. 2014 Kia Sorento
3. Ford Atlas Concept at the Detroit Auto Show
4. 2014 Lexus IS

5. 2013 Ram HD 3500

By Matt Schmitz | February 2, 2013 | Comments (0)

Most-Watched Videos of the Week

It's the Ford Atlas' world this week, and our other most-watched videos are just living in it. The video, featuring PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams' introduction of the Atlas concept truck at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit hauled straight to the top of the heap. The rest of the top five videos also are from the Detroit auto show, including last week's lone holdover — the show-stealing 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray; it moves up one spot to third place this week. Check out the top video above and see which others were popular this week:

1. Ford Atlas Concept
2. 2014 Infiniti Q50
3. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
4. 2014 Lexus IS
5. 2014 Kia Sorento
By Matt Schmitz | January 26, 2013 | Comments (2)

Lexus IS 350 Gets Fuzzy at U.S. Open

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In the midst of early losses by tennis stars Andy Roddick and Venus Williams, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin of Georgia has shocked the tennis world by advancing to the quarterfinals of this year’s U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Wait a minute… we’re not a sports blog. We’re here to cover cars.  

Lexus has designed another sports-themed car, much like it did with the golf-ball-dimpled LS 460 L at the U.S. Open of golf earlier this year. This IS 350, however, was covered in the yellow felt-like material of a tennis ball. Just how did I stumble upon this car? This past weekend I took a trip to New York City, and as part of my weekend expedition, I made a stop by the U.S Open. Once inside the gates, I noticed a bright yellow Lexus IS 350. This was no ordinary paint job. The car was completely covered in tennis-ball material. As a line of people waited to take a photo with the car, I stepped up and snapped a few photos of my own.

What’s next on Lexus’ list of sports-themed cars? A basketball-leather-covered RX 350 or a ES 350 wrapped in the rubber material of a hockey puck? We’ll be sure to keep our eyes open for these in the future. For now, check out more photos below.

By Matthew Raskin | September 8, 2009 | Comments (7)

2010 Lexus IS Convertible: First Drive

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The 2010 Lexus IS C convertible is rolling into dealerships now, and we hope to bring you a full review as early as July, but I got to tool around in a few pre-production models, so here are some early impressions of the brand's first entry-level convertible, which is based on its IS compact sedan.

Car fans who saw the film "Three Kings," set in the first Gulf War, may remember yelling at the screen as soldiers played by Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube argued over whether Lexus had a convertible. (It didn’t in 1991, when the film was set, and it still didn't when the movie came out in 1999.) It was 10 years after that war — and, coincidentally, just months before the U.S. stormed the Gulf again —  that Lexus introduced its SC 430 convertible as an early 2002 model. Replacing the tragically underrated SC coupe, the convertible's claim to fame was being one of the first retractable hardtops of the modern era — that and being priced above $60,000. Like the second Gulf war, the original SC 430 and its high price remain today ($66,805 for the 2009 model), but Lexus says a redesign is finally in the works. In the meantime, the retractable-hardtop IS 250C with a 2.5-liter V-6 opens its doors for a palatable $38,490. An IS 350C adds a 3.5-liter V-6 and stickers at $43,940.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | July 7, 2009 | Comments (3)

Lexus Announces Pricing for 2010 RX 450h and 2010 IS Convertibles

RX450h Lexus released pricing information for the 2010 RX 450h, a hybrid SUV, as well as the 2010 IS 250C and 350C retractable-hardtop convertibles.

The RX 450h will retail for a base MSRP of $41,660 for the front-wheel-drive model and $43,250 for an all-wheel-drive RX 450h. There’s also a destination fee of $875. This compares favorably with the outgoing RX 400h, which had a starting MSRP between $42,080 and $43,480.

The IS 250C will start at $38,490 with a manual transmission, while the pricier IS 350C will start at $43,940. Again, these prices do not include a destination charge of $875.

The IS goes on sale in late May, while the RX 450h will go on sale later in the summer.

More Lexus RX News
More Lexus IS News

By Stephen Markley | April 24, 2009 | Comments (15)

Recall Alert: 2006-08 Lexus IS, GS and LS

08LexusGS Lexus has issued a recall for 214,500 GS, IS and LS vehicles from model years 2006-08, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall is due to corrosion in fuel pipes that can lead to a leak.

Lexus has found that certain ethanol fuels with low moisture content can cause the pipes to rust. This may cause the dashboard indicator lamp to signal a malfunction, but that won't happen in every case, which is why it’s important to have your vehicle checked out. Lexus has contacted owners by email and will replace the affected parts free of charge at its dealerships.

For more information, you can contact Lexus at 800-255-3987 or the NHTSA hotline at 888-327-4236.

By Stephen Markley | January 19, 2009 | Comments (6)

2008 Paris Auto Show: 2010 Lexus IS 250C Convertible

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  • Competes with: Infiniti G37 convertible, Volvo C70, BMW 3 Series convertible
  • Looks like: Lexus destroyed all the cool lines of the IS sedan
  • Drivetrain: Same 208-hp, 2.5-liter V-6 that’s found in the IS 250 sedan; six-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2009

Lexus has let its SC convertible wither on the vine, and now we know why. The company is going downscale with its next retractable-hardtop convertible, tapping its entry-level IS line of sedans to serve as the basis for the IS 250C retractable-hardtop convertible.

While the new IS 250C is decent-looking with the top down, we’re a bit taken aback that the distinct, somewhat masculine lines of the sedan are all but absent here. What we’re left with is more of an inheritor of the SC and a competitor with the Volvo C70 than it is something dramatic – like the early look we’ve seen of the Infiniti G37 convertible, which, by the way, will also pack a lot more power.

We do like the three-piece aluminum roof though … well, not the way it looks when up, but how it stows efficiently enough to pack a full-size golf bag into the trunk.

Check out the photos below and let us know if you think this new Lexus convertible will be a hit.

By David Thomas | October 2, 2008 | Comments (26)

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