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The Best car for the Money: $50,000 Edition, 2014 IS350 F Sport

Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Comparisons, New Cars, Reviews - No comments

Looking to spend $50k on something that is fast and handles well? If you were reading this 10 years ago, your options would be really limited. Today, there are so many options it can be overwhelming; we’re here to make it simple. The 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport is the leader, by far, but there are other notable choices.

1. Lexus IS350 F sport [91%]
Pros: Steering, Seats, Interior Space, Style
Cons: Understeer, Lacking a little power

2014-lexus-is-350-f-sport-interiorThe all new Lexus IS is a car that has gone from forgettable to the class leader, basically overnight. The car used to be middle of the pack in just about every way, from the boring engine to the tired exhaust note, the car was ho-hum. Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota (parent company of Lexus) knew that Lexus was a forgettable car brand selling cars to the older folk who like a nice comfortable ride to take them from A-B and wanted to change that. He vowed to create some purist sportscars to rival the great 3 from the Eastern end of the world, and created the new “L finesse” design language that has nicely evolved the brand and even given it atitude.

Welcome the all new 2014 Lexus IS 350 F sport, which is simply awesome. It is better than all other rivals in the class and boasts some of the best seats, better than cars that cost close to double the price. The car is simply one of the most fun cars you can buy at this price; the car has phenomenal handling (you must disable traction control!), excellent throttle response, one of the best transmissions, excellent braking and unbelievable poise. Taking the IS 350 F sport on the canyon can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have, with excellent control at every spot. The power is given evenly and in the Sport+ mode, the car is happy to downshift and eager to redline– you may not even need to use the wicked-fast paddle shifters; the car simply knows when to shift. We’ve seen 0-60 launched in at 5.4 seconds, but to measure the IS 350 F sport by it’s straight line acceleration would be a crime; it is so much more than that.

2014-lexus-is-350-f-sport-sideThe 350 has much improved interior space, the seats are the most comfortable available in just about any car under $100,000 and trunk space is ample. The interior style is gorgeous, giving off a feel that is reminiscent of the Lexus LFA, complete with the moving speedometer.  One of the main problems with the car is the relentless understeer, which is a real shame. I’d also love to see around 30-50 more horsepower, but that is what the upcoming ISF is going to offer. If Lexus can sort out the understeer (tires, power, chasis) this car may just well be perfect.

Other cars in this price range, and why we chose the Lexus over them:

BMW 335i:
The BMW 335i used to be one of the best cars money could buy you, but the car has slowly become less of a leader and more of a “middle packer”. After driving the 2013 BMW 335i M sport, I was expecting to be blown away with BMW style and BMW control. I was left disappointed: the car is slower than a lot of competitors, the amazing steering feel we have all fallen in love with is gone completely. I’d venture to say that the BMW now has one of the worst steering response/feel in the class. The car has less horsepower than many competitors, it handles worse. Sadly, the Bimmer needs to go back to the drawing boards and come out with something that it can be proud of.

Infiniti Q50:
It’s amazing how Infiniti, a brand known for purist sports cars that are RWD beasts full of power would sell out so much and come out with what I can describe best as a powerful Lexus ES350… You would never know it’s an infiniti based on the way it drives, looks, feels and handles. The Q50 is now more of an Accord than a RWD sports car, the dimensions have grown, the car feels bloated, and the rear tires are nervous, ready to break traction at almost any input given by the driver, should he be brave enough to take the car to its limits. The car needs to be tamed.


Yosef Adelman on Google+

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