Lexus has adopted a rather interesting approach when it comes to the 2022 IS models and trims. Technically, there are two variants (300 and 350) both of which are available in either RWD or AWD. Yet, these four models are split into four separate trim levels - 300 RWD, 300 AWD, 350 F Sport RWD, and 350 F Sport AWD. The base model IS 300 RWD sports a 2.0-liter turbocharger four-cylinder engine with 241-hp. Curiously, the 300 AWD utilizes a 260-hp 3.5-liter V6 mill, which is also used in the 350 F Sport models, with 311-hp. Rear-wheel-drive derivatives use an eight-speed auto, while all-wheel-driven IS models receive a six-speeder.
All IS models are impressively equipped. Dual-zone climate control, NuLuxe upholstery, Bi-LED headlights, power seat adjustment, and the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 are standard.
The 350 F Sport models not only receive more power, but the looks to match. The racier derivatives wear a more aggressive F Sport body kit comprising larger 19-inch wheels (18-inch items are standard on lesser models), along with unique bumpers and, inside, Geometric interior trim. The cabin also receives model-specific aluminum pedals and embossed door trim.
The power-adjustable seats are 10-way (opposed to the 300's eight-way) and also boast standard heating and cooling, along with a heated steering wheel. Something that should be standard on all models (but isn't) is the rear armrest with cupholders. Standard on the 350, IS 300 buyers will have to fork out extra for this fairly common feature.
The only differences between the 350 F Sport RWD and AWD are the driven wheels, automatic gearbox, and, of course, the performance. The former utilizes an eight-speed automatic gearbox, whereas the latter uses a six-speeder. While the all-wheel-drive derivative is the grippier vehicle, it's not quite as fast as its two-wheel-drive sibling. The AWD variant hits 60 mph in 5.7 seconds - 0.1 seconds slower than the cheaper RWD model.
The 2021 Lexus IS price has gone up by nearly $500 at entry-level, with the IS 300 beginning at an MSRP of $39,000 in the USA. With AWD, the IS 300 will cost $41,000. Following this is the IS 350 F Sport at $42,900 and the IS 350 F Sport AWD at $44,900. These prices exclude a delivery and handling charge of $1,025, along with tax, licensing, and registration costs. The base Lexus IS will cost less than the BMW 3 Series, which begins at $41,250, but the Genesis G70 is more affordable with a starting price of $36,000.
On the base IS 300, the $1,950 Comfort Package adds a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, a power moonroof, heated/cooled front seats, and geometric interior trim. The $1,670 Navigation Package adds navigation, a remote touchpad, and a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen. One of the pricier upgrades is the Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package at $2,750, adding a 17-speaker sound system, the larger touchscreen, machined-aluminum control knobs, and more. For $1,400, intuitive parking assist with a panoramic-view monitor and rear pedestrian detection can be added, but this requires the Comfort Package as well.
The IS 350 F Sport is available with the F Sport Dynamic Handling Package, with pricing for this upgrade indicated at $4,200. It includes an F Sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension, 19-inch forged alloy matte black BBS wheels, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. One of the more appealing individual upgrades is the power tilt-and-slide moonroof at $1,100 on the F Sports; on lesser trims, this feature is only available via a full package upgrade.
For $3,900 more than the base model, we think the IS 350 F Sport is easily worth the upgrade at $42,900. We'd stick with rear-wheel-drive so as to not drop down to a six-speed automatic and we'd check the box on the Dynamic Handling Package for $4,200. The forged BBS wheels look phenomenal, especially when paired with the Infrared paint color. We'd then add the 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system separately for $1,080 since Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can handle navigation duties. As described, an IS 350 Sport rings in just below $50,000. Any more than this price and the German options feel like a better buy, though it's worth noting that the six-cylinder 3 Series and C-Class cost significantly more.