The least costly Lexus IS is the IS200t Luxury, which has the 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine and 17-inch wheels. You can spend more on a different engine, more equipment, or both.
On the engine side, you can pay more for an IS300h, which has the petrol-electric hybrid engine, or more again for an IS350, which has the 3.5-litre petrol V6.
On the equipment side, each engine comes in three equipment levels. The least costly is Luxury (perhaps Lexus is trying to convince you that Luxury is standard on its cars). You can spend more for F-Sport, and more again for Sports Luxury.
The F-Sport brings an adaptive suspension that adjusts the car’s ride automatically to the road conditions and to the way you are driving. You can also adjust it manually from the driver’s seat (to make it firmer, so that the car rolls less in corners). Wheels are bigger, at 18-inches, and the tyres have a lower profile, which makes the steering feel slightly more direct (and for many people looks nicer). The rear tyres are wider, too, for more grip. Front seats in the F-Sport have more substantial side bolsters, and the driver’s seat remembers adjustments for up to three people. There is blind spot monitoring, and a rear cross-traffic alert.
F-Sport visual touches include bare aluminium alloy pedals and a unique front bumper and grille. The instrument cluster swaps the two traditional dials for a customisable tacho, which encloses a large digital speedo. (The tacho tells you how fast the engine is spinning, which is information keen drivers will value.)
The Sports Luxury does without those F-Sport aesthetic changes but gets all of the F-Sport’s extra equipment. As well, it has a sunroof, and an electric blind for the back window. Audiophiles will appreciate the premium Mark Levinson sound system.
Lexus also offers enhancement packs for Luxury and F Sport models that allow you add the sunroof and premium sound system, among other Sports Luxury features.