The 2011 Lexus IS 250 is a sporty looking luxury sedan with a smooth and comfortable drive, a luxurious and quiet cabin, and an outstanding reputation for reliability.
While it may look the part, the strength of the IS 250 isn't "sport sedan" handling and performance. Instead, its road manners are compliant, secure and unflashy, while its primary emphasis is on luxury and comfort, as evidenced by its high-quality interior, premium features, excellent workmanship and quiet ride ... to the point of near silence on the highway.
With its edgy lines and multiple selling points, the 2011 IS 250 has a lot going for it. Even so, carbuyers are always well-served by checking out top rivals before making a final buying decision. Worthy competitors also earning high marks for comfort and luxury (as well as more space) would include the Acura TL, the Audi A4, the Cadillac CTS, the Mercedes C-Class and the Volkswagen CC. Buyers who place a higher value on performance may want to take a look at the BMW 3-Series as well as the Infiniti G37 Sedan.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Lexus IS 250 is a compact luxury sedan that is available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. The convertible and high-performance IS F versions will be reviewed separately.
Standard features on the 2011 IS 250 includes leather upholstery, 8-way power front seats, full power accessories, 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, foglamps, keyless entry/ignition, heated mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 13-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a 6-disc CD changer, an iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary audio jack. The all-wheel drive (AWD) models also come with heated front seats.
In terms of available optional features, the Navigation System package includes a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice controls, real-time traffic, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phonebook downloading and Lexus Enform enhanced telematics. In addition, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system can be added to this package. There's also a Luxury package that includes ventilated front seats, driver memory settings, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, wood trim, automatic wipers, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and xenon headlamps. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) models also get 18-inch wheels.
And new for 2011 is the F Sport Package that includes a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch F Sport wheels, front and rear spoilers, heated F Sport seats with leather bolsters and grille inserts. Other features that can be added to the F Sport package include a sport clutch (for manual transmission models only), 19-inch wheels for RWD models, 18-inch wheels for AWD models, sport suspension components, upgraded brakes, a quick-shift kit, a performance exhaust system, a performance air intake and a carbon-fiber engine cover and shift knob. Front and rear parking sensors are also available as a stand-alone options.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Lexus IS 250 is a 2.5-liter V6 engine that outputs 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, paired with a choice of either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Transmission choices fow RWD models are either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. AWD models come only with the 6-speed automatic.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for an IS 250 with an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive is 21 mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the manual is rated at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Gas mileage with the AWD comes in at 20 and 26, respectively.
Standard safety features on all IS 250s include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and Safety Connect (a telematics service with automatic collision notification, an emergency assistance button and stolen vehicle locator).
In performance tests, a 2011 IS 250 with 18-inch wheels and all-season tires was measured in a stop from 60 mph in just 113 feet, a better than average result. In government crash tests, the IS 250 earned four out of five stars for frontal-impact protection for both the driver and front passenger. In side-impact tests, the IS 250 received four stars for rear passenger protection and five stars for the driver.
The 2011 Lexus IS 250's cabin is about as good as it gets in this segment. It's attractive, sporty and well-made with excellent fit and finish. The quality of the leathers and wood or metallic trim are top-grade, while there's soft-touch materials covering almost all other surfaces. Gauges, controls, instruments and the optional navigation system are easy to see and user-friendly, although the iPod interface has a longer learning curve.
The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear, however, the IS 250's sporty dimensions result in a lack of legroom in the rear quarters. While the rear space is adequate for most children, adults will likely find it tighter than in other compact luxury sedans and more typical of that found in coupes. That said, the trunk still has a cargo capacity that's around average for this segment at approximately 13 cubic feet.
The 2011 Lexus IS 250 is confident and secure on the road, and also handles quite well in tight cornering. But it really isn't designed for thrilling acceleration and dynamic athleticism. Although it possesses a sharp and sporty look, it's engineered to emphasize a smooth and quiet drive with competent but not inspiring performance abilities, which it does very well. Those looking for a bit more pizzaz on the road would likely prefer one with the F Sport performance enhancements.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try a Wholesale Auction in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.
2011 Lexus IS 250:
RWD, manual: list price: $32,645, invoice price: $29,369
RWD, automatic: list price: $33,815, invoice price: $30,433
AWD, automatic: list price: $36,275, invoice price: $32,646