The 2023 Lexus IS can't compete with its German rivals in terms of pure acceleration, no matter how much you resort to driving with a firmly planted right foot. For example, the base IS 300's turbocharged four-cylinder manages 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, directing power to the rear wheels, but it takes 6.9 seconds to complete the 0 to 60 mph run. By comparison, the base BMW 330i needs only 5.6 seconds to do the same, the same as the quickest model in the Lexus lineup, the IS 350 F Sport in RWD guise - which is what we had on our test drive. With AWD, this model takes 5.7 seconds to reach 60, presumably due to its old-tech six-speed transmission. All IS trims have the same 143-mph top speed. Based on our Lexus IS review, it's evident that the absence of forced induction on the top end means that the IS simply can't match the performance of its rivals in the US market. The BMW M340i xDrive with a 382 hp turbocharged inline-six can reach 60 mph in a far more impressive 4.1 seconds.
Starting off the range is the IS 300 which is RWD and uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine with 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, allied to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Confusingly, the similarly named IS 300 with AWD trades the four-pot for a 3.5-liter V6 with 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, along with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. All F Sport Design and F Sport versions use a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 with 311 hp and 280 lb-ft; once again, the RWD version uses an eight-speeder with paddle shifters and the AWD variant reverts to a six-speed auto.
Even though the four-cylinder engine features adaptive transmission control for improved responsiveness, it remains an average performer. To its credit, the more powerful V6 endows the IS with a decent turn of speed and it feels much more enjoyable than the base four-pot, but it still lacks the grunt of its rivals, especially in the low RPM range. We've never sampled the IS with the six-speed transmission and AWD, but the eight-speed fairs decently when you treat it like an automatic and leave it to its own devices.
|Lexus IS Trims||Lexus IS Engines||Lexus IS Horsepower||Lexus IS Transmissions||Lexus IS Drivetrains||Lexus IS MPG/MPGE|
|IS 300||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||241 hp @ 5200 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||25 MPG|
|IS 300 AWD||3.5L V6 Gas||260 hp @ 6600 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD||22 MPG|
|IS 350 F SPORT Design||3.5L V6 Gas||311 hp @ 6600 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||23 MPG|
|IS 350 F SPORT||3.5L V6 Gas||311 hp @ 6600 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||23 MPG|
|IS 350 F SPORT Design AWD||3.5L V6 Gas||311 hp @ 6600 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD||22 MPG|
|IS 350 F SPORT AWD||3.5L V6 Gas||311 hp @ 6600 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||AWD||22 MPG|
The most efficient Lexus IS is, unsurprisingly, the IS 300 RWD with its four-cylinder engine. This model returns 21/31/25 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. However, both the RWD BMW 330i (25/34/29 mpg) and the base Audi A4 quattro (24/33/28 mpg) are markedly thriftier. The IS 350 RWD manages 20/28/23 mpg, while the least fuel-efficient models are the IS 300 AWD and the IS 350 AWD, both of which return an identical 19/26/22 mpg. Every Lexus IS has a 17.4-gallon gas tank, which means that a maximum mixed driving range of 435 miles will be possible.
|Lexus IS Trims||IS 300||IS 300 AWD||IS 350 F SPORT Design||IS 350 F SPORT||IS 350 F SPORT Design AWD||IS 350 F SPORT AWD|
|Lexus IS Tank size||10.8 gal.||10.8 gal.||10.8 gal.||10.8 gal.||10.8 gal.||10.8 gal.|
|Lexus IS Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||21/31||19/26||20/28||20/28||19/26||19/26|