2014 Lexus 350 F-Sport
So, if you are anything like me. You love the idea of a fast 4-door car. It makes you seem like a responsible grown-up while enjoying all the trappings of a 300hp rocket. See, 2-door owners get a bad rep. They are either seen as being in the middle of a midlife crisis or being a boy-racer. Many guilty parties exist in both camps, so the only true way to avoid the entire stereotype? Buy a sports car that is all business on the outside and all fun in the inside.
The Lexus 350 F-sport looks very executive both inside and out. It has all the right bodylines and wears all the proper badging. But, It does not display its sport car nature on the cuff; it quite frankly tucks it all in and waits for you to get behind the wheel to show you what’s in store
Love or hate the Lexus grille, its distinctive and sets apart the brand from everything else on the road. Which is a great brand strategy when you consider how watered down the word “luxury” has become. Brands like KIA and Ford even talk about the luxury offered in their lineup of vehicles. Frankly, they do have a point. The modern family sedan can offer you 75% of the amenities you will find in a car costing six-figures more.
What separates the King from the unwashed masses? Well, for car designers it all comes down to attention to detail and radical designs. Something manufacturers can’t afford to do with a beige grocery wagon looking to be sold at bargain basement price. So, I get it and I respect it. But, I am not sure I love it quite yet.
The rest of the sheet metal on the IS350 F-Sport is superb. It simply holds the right balance of attitude and sleekness to make it a future classic.
Out of all the vehicles I have driven this year. This was the only one that I really wanted to test its RWD variant. But, the stars did not align and we were given the AWD model. I have probably driven more AWD cars than anything else in my life. So, I know what to expect and the grip levels were impressive from the jump.
That was the problem. I wanted to get the car loose and hold it on the edge of its handling limits. With an AWD vehicle, the limit is about as fun as riding a stationary bike. Take a turn too fast and the car will understeer like crazy and you will track off the race line in a very predictable and neutral manner.
The 306hp V6 is a potent and great sounding engine. It develops power like any other V6; you gotta hit the revs in order to wake it up. The star of this whole ensemble is the very well tuned suspension. Everything is balanced and it even handles Michigan potholes like a champ
The 350F-Sport was one of my favorite sedans. It is equipped to be a versatile daily driver that is far away from boring. The 3.5L V6 is a good performer and the suspension is great. We would like to see a bit more power in the future model years, specifically in the AWD variant. The driveline losses and added weight deserve an extra 40hp to 50hp over the RWD version. The interior is well done for its class and it has all the gadgets you need and not one button more. Interior space is going to be comfortable, but don’t expect four full-sized adults to be happy on a long road trip. Just remember that with all sports cars, passengers are optional.