Motor Trend Reviews the 2014 Lexus IS

Lexus IS Motor Trend

Once again, Motor Trend has driven the 2014 Lexus IS, and found it to be an extremely enjoyable experience.

Key quote: “The result is a Lexus IS that’s worlds better than its predecessor.”

Read the Motor Trend IS Review


  1. Without a manual, the IS350 F-Sport can only be so good, never great. Benchmarking a legendary sports sedan with a manual, then making one without is not a great job in benchmarking. This is dry humping vs rocking the house. But Lexus' work is appreciated as always. Within the limitations, I'm sure it is fun, to a point.... BD
    • I use to agree, as someone who learned to drive on British sports cars with manual gear boxes, and still drive a manual every day, I too thought that only "true sports cars" have a manual. However, being fortunate enough to re-learning how to drive with a double clutch gear box I have to completely disagree now. I was fortunate enough to drive a Ferrari California for a few hours in 2010 on back roads unrestricted, and it changed my thought process. I had previously driven F-1 cars and preferred the manual to the F-1. I found even as an amateur driver that I was able to pay attention the the feel and sound of the California so much better. It was a MUCH more engaging and full filling experience. The Porsche PDK soon followed and and again found myself enjoying dirving the PDK over a Manual.....Who knew?? Ferrari has done away with the manual, Lamborghini has as well, and with the introduction of the new GT3 with out a manual option I can only assume these companies who are know for the "driving experience" have some idea of what they are doing. I don't think for one second that not having a manual with hold back the new IS. If one could get the opportunity to drive a duel clutch or new semi-auto gear box and keep an open mind of relearning how to drive a "sporty car"....One might surprise themselves.
    • That would be a fair assessment if you drop a 911 Turbo manual and then a Turbo PDK, for example. Let's keep this apples-to-apples. I doubt driving a IS350 F-Sport is as fun as a 335i M-Sport Manual. Not gonna worry about that.... BD
    • MT

      I don't want to offend you but I think you don't get it right. Isn't sport about being fast? And you are faster and more precise in an AT/DSG car than in a plain "row yourself" machine. I drive a manual car myself and while it is more entertaining than an AT and cheaper to buy you are certainly slower and can not focus that much on the road and steering wheel cause you always have to sort the gears. On mountain roads you are a one handed driver and the right hand is on the gear lever half of the time. Now that makes for some lousy turns, bet on it! If you go through a hard turn with your hand ending up in the 6 or 12 o'clock position the G-force will make that turn look like an egg by pulling on your hand. If you leave both hands on the wheel you might have the wrong gear in through half of the turn. So either way the automaitc is superior. The feeling that a manual is sportier might come from old days where all of north america was filled with 3 and 4 speed ATs that didn't have torque converter lockup.
    • You can go fast in Jeep Grand Cherokee Hemi. Just because a car has a lot of power and can go fast, doesn't make it fun at all, much less more fun than a Porsche Boxster or Scion FRS with a manual. Fast doesn't equal the most fun. Funny cars are faster than any of these cars. There's a difference in fun when you drive the car and the car drives you..... BD
    • Agree, that fast isn't necessarily =fun, Cherokee is the perfect example. and that handling dynamic plays a huge part in "fun". That is why the Mazda Miata (MX-5) has been such a great car. And that is one of the reason that when Lexus built the LFA, highest horsepower, top speed and 0-60 were not the bars they used to measure. it was all about the drives involvement, and being part of the car. All I was originally saying is that I thought a manual was the only way to go in a "sports car". But when I had the opportunity to "re-learn" how to drive a double clutch gear box and found that it was far more enjoyable and engaging that a traditional manual.
    • I have driven a 335i with both a manual and DKG coupe (2009 or10 believe) I guess it is personal preference but I much preferred the DKG. don't get me wrong I think a manual is better than most automatics out there but the technology in the current transmissions are adding to driver enjoyment. I am not sure which I would prefer to drive, a 335i m sport or IS350 F-sport, however every car I have driven in both double clutch and manual I have preferred the double clutch (minus the A-3). I just speak form my personal experiences.
    • Dual Clutch DSG etc are no good.. Their shifts and all very clunky and jerky. They also have problems with reliability.. The IS350 is gonna have the ISF's 8-speed and that's one of the best and fastest torque converter auto. The 335i is nice, but the now previous gen IS350 F-sports was also awesome. Two of the best IMO
  2. MT

    I am not so sure if you get the idea of a manual transmission right. Here 80% of the cars come with manuals. And a sports or sporty car doesn't have a manual transmission. It has automatic transmission! 1. Shift times are much faster in a good AT. You either have a 1 second gap when shifting, or alternatively you can ruin your cars dry-clutch if you want to rush have the clutch suck up a 2k RPM difference. 2. When fast shifting and slamming in gears you have a torque peak which will severely reduce traction and grip in corners. 3. You have to take one hand of the wheel to shift. This might not be a problem on 1/4 mile runs, but as soon as you start turn and burn maneuvers you will be much less precise and have less control over the car. --> Sum that up and you see, that a AT car is superior for engaged driving. It might not feel this way but the AT will deliver better performance (if it comes with some good shift logic and/or manual mode). The manual transmission has other advantages. 1. It is more efficient, as it has less mechanics, bearings, stuff in it and it has no torque converter that is inefficient. 2. You can always choose the gear that is most efficient / most suitable for the upcoming situation in advance, at a time where the AT can not yet know what gear to put in. 3. More entertaining and less boring. 4. Much cheaper to manufacture. I myself prefer the manual transmission. But that has nothing to do with sportiness. Here in Austria driving an AT car also means somehow, that you can't properly drive a car :-)
    • A Faster car and more fun car are two different things. Australia knows what's up. Americans have become lazy and decadent. But that's why the 3-series will stay ahead of the IS in perception as a better driver's car. It has ALL the tools you need to be great. That's the latest. Back to you! BD
  3. manual is right idea!!
  4. Its odd how they are dissing the past gen IS but reviews of the past gen IS was good when it first came out
  5. We'll see how the comparison test he referenced goes. Judging solely off of the recent "politics" of Motor Trend I'm going to guess: #1 - Cadillac ATS #2 - BMW 3-Series #3 - Lexus IS Anything deviating from this will come as a surprise TBH.
    • The GS did beat all comers in the last MT test to feature a Lexus And this "Son of GS" might be a chip off the old block! The last comparison between the ATS and 3-series showed both are far from perfect, and can be picked off by the right product, dynamically. Sales rarely move at all based on these tests, though..... BD