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2014 Lexus IS 250 Review - Premium, Small Coupe

Lexus has been striving lately to break through in the luxury market by creating true BMW competitors. The new 2014 Lexus IS 250 is one such offering. It is a premium, sporty coupe ready to take on the German luxury cars. I recently got a chance to drive one for a week, here is my review.

2014 Lexus IS 250 Review - Premium, Small Coupe

The exterior of the Lexus IS 250 cuts a striking image.

The Lexus IS 250 is an AWD sedan powered by a small 2.5L V-6, 24 valve, dual overhead cam, direct injected, variable valve timed engine. This engine puts out 204 HP, 185 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed transmission. My test model came with the following packages:

  • All weather
  • Luxury + Technology
  • Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio
  • Intuitive Parking Assist

It had a MSRP price of $47,140. Fuel economy averaged at 23 combined mpg with 20/27 city/highway. During a week of driving, I mostly got the sticker fuel economy average.

2014 Lexus IS 250 Review - Premium, Small Coupe

The rear ties in nicely with the styling lines of the front and sides.


The exterior of this Lexus has been seriously reworked from earlier versions. The new spoiler design really grabs your attention. The hood and side accents bring the bold, yet stylish look together. The fact is that this is one sharp car. The lights and mirrors do a great job of showing this car as a sporty AND luxury offering.

2014 Lexus IS 250 Review - Premium, Small Coupe

The interior is much like a cockpit and it forms to fit the driver.


Not to outdone by the exterior, the interior is amazing. The driver’s seat feels more like a cockpit with the steering wheel and seat automatically moving you into position. Every knob and button is within easy reach and I never felt squished. The leather and build quality is what you would expect in a luxury vehicle.

My test model came with the sunroof – a must option – and the upgraded sound system. That sound system really was spectacular and the clarity of music from the speakers was head and shoulders over base offerings.

While I did have difficulty at times getting in and out of the vehicle, I always thoroughly enjoyed the driving position each time I drove it.

Driving Impressions

This Lexus is a remarkably fun drive for daily driving. Many critics have pointed out that when you really push it in the corners, it feels heavy with the small V-6 not able to keep up. For the average driver though, it holds the corners at a high rate of speed, makes quick work of turns and is relatively quick from a dead stop. While it doesn’t hold up so well on the track, for the average person this car in ideal drive with plenty of grip and power to get from point A to point B.

While my test model wasn’t the “F Sport” option, I didn’t feel that it lacked anything. I have driven the F Sport offering on other Lexus models and while it is a tad bit more fun for the average driver, I haven’t seen the value of the $3,500 upgrade over the base model.

Ultimately, this vehicle has many competitors (Audi, BMW, Cadillac, etc…). Lexus though has its targets set at the BMW 3 Series – the perennial luxury leader. Can this car steal customers from the competition? That remains to be seen, yet with its AWD offering, it is more of a competitor (especially in snowy regions of the U.S.) than ever before.

Written by Tim Esterdahl