This week we get to take a look at the 2020 Lexus IS 350F. This 4 door luxury sports sedan was fun to drive and sitting in the cockpit made me feel like I was ready for blast off. The IS has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 horsepower which translated to getting to my destination very fast but with the cozy interior I definitely wanted to spend more time in the car.
The highlights for me are the overall beauty of the exterior, the acceleration and maneuverability, and the elegant interior. I try not to do research before I drive each vehicle so I can base my opinion on experience rather than on marketing material and with this car starting at MSRP $42,180 for the version I was blown away at the value at this entry price.
The IS 350F is still one of the best looking sedans in the market and after seeing a glimpse of the 2021 exterior additions I believe it will continue to be one of the top choices in its class. My version had the F Sport Blackline edition options package which included 18-in five-spoke alloy wheels with black vapor chrome finish, Triple Beam LED headlights and more.
Lexus nailed it on the styling of this vehicle.
Engine / Powertrain
While there may not be a ton of noticeable changes on the exterior from the 2019 model, Lexus has paid special attention to improving the driving dynamics. They are now testing and developing on a track at its new technical center in Shimoyama, Japan. This would account for optimized handling along with exceptional ride quality.
The IS 350 Sport does 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Other drivers of sports cars know this as on several occasions I had camaros, mustangs and even a porsche rev their engines beside me at a stoplight. Tempting but this isn’t the latest Fast and Furious sequel . They know what I know, this car is fast and has sustained acceleration. The engine never lagged on me and I can see how this attained 142 MPH on the track.
I really like the rear wheel drive 8 speed transmission. You can shift with the stick or the paddles on the steering wheel. This car was dialed in , especially in S+ mode with manual and automatic shifting. Eco mode is definitely a noticeable drop in power but I also got way better gas mileage as a result. I tended to average the stated gas mileage at 23 MPG combined , 20 city and 28 Highway.
The interior is what makes this car feel like you can take this car anywhere. The attention to detail that Lexus put into the IS cabin is classy and ageless. The Black NuLuxe seats were beautiful and comfortable. The aluminum pedals add contrast to the interior and also give it that race car appeal. A big part of the F Sport Blackline edition options includes the beautiful interior upgrades.
Lexus has a great suite of safety features built into the lineup. Some of the ones I like for this model are VDIM (VEHICLE DYNAMICS INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT) designed to predict and take steps to help prevent a skid even before it occurs by using a combination of individual-wheel braking, torque modulation and steering torque assistance.
The Triple Beam Headlamp system and daytime running lamps not only adds to the great looks of this car but provides exceptional visibility at night.
Lexus has a solid braking system. With this much power you want to maintain steering control while braking which is definitely something I appreciated while driving around Phoenix where traffic can stop without notice.
Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert plus the backup camera round off what I believe is a top of the line safety platform.
Overall the 2020 Lexus IS 350 F offers a lot of luxury and power for the price. I can’t wait to drive the 2021 version but it would be prudent to see what deals are out there in this model year.
I will end with a quote from Scott Ostler, Service Director of Bell Lexus.
“ My Wife actually owns this version and I love that car. Bottom line for a sporty luxury feel it’s a car you can’t beat. Feels like a high end sports car, user friendly and like being in a spaceship. The IS has some really comfortable seats and we chose that one based on all the features. A timeless vehicle but fun and vibrant feel both inside and outside”
This was not a paid endorsement or advertisement for Bell Lexus. I looked at reviews online and decided to reach out directly to Scott. Turns out they have won quite a few rewards for Best Lexus Service in the valley and the online reviews seem to reflect this.