Edmunds has posted a road test of the IS 250 with the X sports package, and save for the gripes about the embarrassing shift stick and its rubbery gear shifts, Lexus seems to have created a sports sedan capable of competing with the best in its class:
Though it’s often overshadowed by the 306-hp IS 350, the IS 250 is actually Lexus’ best effort at renewing some of the connection between the driver and the pavement that you expect in a sport sedan without giving up too much comfort in the process.
Although the new Lexus X Package is offered for both the IS 250 and the more powerful IS 350, it’s more worthwhile when paired with the six-speed manual in the IS 250. It all adds up to a livelier Lexus, one with more personality.
As the only Lexus with a manual transmission, the IS 250 has to balance two conflicting aspects, appealing to the driving enthusiast while maintaining the company’s central goal of comfort and luxury. Judging from this review, I’d say Lexus is almost there.
(Here’s a photo of the offensive shift stick):