2016 Lexus IS300 AWD sedan: The stealth bomber with the velvet touch

21 Jun 2016 | 1,013 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Lexus' IS300 AWD is just the ticket for those who want to avoid the obvious, and go for the road less traveled. Just about everybody aspires to own a BMW Three Series or perhaps nowadays, an Audi A4. But those of us who loathe anything that "everybody" has, and wants to make a statement with their choice of a sports sedan can go with the 2016 Lexus IS300 sedan. 2016_Lexus_IS_350_008_BD547FC815436CB80B75629CF932AD66C81F1819   If you are wondering what people I'm talking about, consider yours truly. Though I own  a 100 year old Arts and Crafts Bungalow in Pittsburgh, (my favorite style an design), I tend to the strictly groundbreaking and unusual. Though I don't have a Lexus budget--yet---all of the recent products that Lexus has been introducing hit the spot with me. They convince me that Lexus has its eye on me with cars designed for ME, not people who blindly do what their neighbors are doing and wouldn't recognize something determinedly different if it bit them on the butt. I am extremely sensitive to design, especially automotive design. Three boxes don't get it.  I like controversial, interesting looks. And the IS 300 is chock full of it. Dramatic character lines. Straight out of the Origami School of Design as I call it. And that spindle front end--I LOVE it! Admit it--when you see the grille in your review mirror, you know it's a Lexus. Case closed. Let's do something eye-opening for a change, you know?  I have already fallen I love with both of Lexus' newest SUVs, and can't wait to get my eager mitts on both for a week. And the RCs?  Bring 'em. Our IS300 AWD four door sedan  has a base price of $39,700. Standard equipment includes drive ode select with ECO, Normal, Sport and Snow settings; double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension; vehicle dynamics Integrated Management Antilock brakes electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist; 17 inch aluminum wheels; location specific tire pressure monitoring system; high intensity discharge headlamps; dual chrome exhaust, power slide and tilt moon roof with one touch open and close;  and SmartAccess with Pushbutton start and stop. Other standard features include: rear view mirror with automatic dimming and HomeLink Garage Door opener; drivers ten way power seats including two way lumbar adjustment; Bluetooth; Lexus premium Gracenote Album Art, MP3 Player with USB Integration, CD, Sirius Satellite system and other features; Atrium display audio system that include HD Radio with real time traffic and weather, 60/40 split folding rear seat; multi-information display that includes audio, phone and trip information; Blue Safety features that are standard include: automatic collision notification system, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button for SOS; enhanced roadside assistance; Lexus Enform Remote, ten airbags of various kinds and locations, along withPush-Button Start/Stop. Options included 18  in wheels, a liquid graphite paint finish, a Luxury Package with LED head and taillights, rain sensor wipers; leather trimmed seats with wood trim; power tilt and telescoping steering wheel; heated steering wheel with paddle shifters; a Memory Package for seats and mirror, and blind spot monitoring system, After it was all said and done,  the iS300 we tested $47,315. The car is powered by a 3.5 liter, 255 horsepower V-6, with a six speed automatic transmission. IS300 is rated at 16miles per gallon of gas in the city, 26 on the highway and 21 miles per gallon overall.  It uses 4.8 gallons of gasoline per 100 miles driven, and you will spend $2,750 more in fuel costs over five years than you will for the average new vehicle,   and the annual fuel costs is $2,350, based on driving 15,000 miles year for five ears at gasoline that costs about $3,00 a gallon. Most people who drive a sports luxury sedan in the segment of the market that this car competes in with BMW Three Series, Audi A4 and the rest, expect lots of excitement, sound and drama with acceleration and performance. but you won't get that with the Lexus Is300. It is a Lexus, remember, and Lexus is associated with quiet, effortless, seamless driving, and that is what you will get. Engage the Sport mode and the acceleration pace picks up considerably, but again, don't expect fireworks. You will be gently pushed back into the drivers seat, and if you are not careful, you will be driving very fast without so much as a hint. Meanwhile,  the handling--good by any standard--becomes brilliant with that mode, and you had better be ready with quick reflexes. In other words, the IS300 may be quiet, but it is far from slow.. very far from slow. Which is why we call it the Stealth Bomber with the Velvet Glove.  You will never know what hit you, but the policeman who tickets you for speeding will know exactly what is happening! But the real joy comes with the interior and how you feel behind the wheel.  The IS300 happens to have the coolest, most driver-centric cockpit of any of the sports luxury cars out there.  It is molded around you, and psychologically you feel that you are piloting the Stealth Bomber that we nicknamed this car. You and the controls, and the car are one, and I don't often feel that with cars in this class.  By the way there is plenty of room front and back, and the trunk is quite nicely sized too. The warranty is  for four years or 50,000 miles for basic coverage, five years or 70,000 miles for the powertrain, and five years of unlimited miles for corrosion perforation warranty. There is simply nothing to complain or niggle about---Lexus hit a home run with this one-- and I'm convinced it was designed for me--and just me. That's a heckuva feeling!      

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