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Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Lexus, First Drives, Luxury

No one was comparing the IS to the BMW 3 Series, and for Lexus that was a problem.

At the beginning of 2011, we rocked up to the parking lot at Southern California's Santa Anita Raceway to test the 2012 Lexus GS. This was the first sedan in the luxury brand's lineup to reset its intentions on the balance of sport and luxury. The previous GS had blanched into mute tepidity, and the new generation we drove on an autocross course and on a canyon road corrected just about everything; we liked its looks, and the Variable Gear Ratio Steering- and Adaptive Variable Suspension-equipped car moved its abilities into the realm of a true sports sedan, and it was great to drive. They absolutely nailed it.

In our review of that car, we wrote that the only other sporty Lexus was the IS, and that our favorite among its rank and file is the IS 250 with the six-speed manual. Specifically, we called it "a spirited little weakling of a car." Down on power but also on weight, it rewarded commitment and skill - it didn't have the gumption to compensate for missed shifts and bad lines, and because it was so easy to get wrong, the momentum carried through right to the smiles when you got it right.

Yet no one was ever seriously comparing the IS - Lexus' third-best-selling car - to the BMW 3 Series, and for Lexus that was a problem. You can't have your entry-level sports sedan omitted entirely from the conversation. So now, finally, it is time for the IS to get its dip into Lexus' spindle-grille-and-F-Sport-performance bath.Continue reading 2014 Lexus IS prototype

2014 Lexus IS prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Dec 2012 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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