2023 Lexus IS 500

For the 2023 lineup of the IS, the changes are mostly focused on minor adjustments to its features. However, one notable change is that F Sport styling is now included as a standard feature for IS 350 models.

EXTERIOR/INTERIOR

With the same spindle-style grille and curvy flanks that have maintained a consistent look across the brand’s lineup for the last decade, the design of the IS remains familiar.

Despite its relatively taut proportions, the hourglass-like shape of the car gives it a plumper appearance. The IS boasts a busy design from every angle, but the slim strip of taillights at the back is particularly appreciated.

All but the base models now come standard with F Sport styling, which includes larger wheels and bigger intakes on the front bumper. Our test car, which was equipped with 19-inch Matte Black BBS Forged Wheels, came in Infrared.

Setting itself apart, the interior of the car is where the IS truly shines. Lower-end models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 10.3-inch display with improved speakers. Despite having more buttons and knobs than most competitors, they are nicely integrated. It should be noted, however, that even the most expensive IS model comes with synthetic leather upholstery.

PERFORMANCE

Lexus provides multiple performance options for IS buyers, including a 2.0 four-cylinder turbo (241 horsepower), a 3.5-liter V6 (311 horsepower), and the high-performing IS500 with a 5.0-liter V8 engine (472 horsepower). The 2023 Lexus IS 500 Premium model includes the full suite of performance upgrades, an 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters, and the powerful 472-hp V8 engine for a complete package.

Since the IS500 is solely available in RWD, having extra grip assistance was critical. The steering was generally swift, and grip around fast corners was steady. Nonetheless, we noticed that sudden use of the throttle or sharp turns could cause the vehicle to slide sideways.

During real-world driving, the V8 engine performs exceptionally well. It remains calm during stop-and-go traffic, but when you take charge of the shift points using the paddles or center console shifter, and maintain revs around 5k, it provides a powerful and growling experience. The 2023 IS500 is a powerful vehicle that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds according to Lexus, and switching between the Sport and Sport + drive modes can offer even more flexibility.

VERDICT

The MSRP of the 2023 Lexus IS 500 Premium we assessed was $62,020. After including the cost of the 19′ Matte Black BBS Forged Wheels ($2,450) and the $595 Premium Paint, the final price totaled $66,525.

Competition

BMW and Audi are capable of matching the IS lineup in terms of poise and performance, but they usually come at a higher cost. However, they offer a level of refinement and style that the IS may lack.

The Mercedes C-Class has a sleek and timeless appearance, but its price might come as a surprise to some.

With both medium and ultra-hot Blackwing models available, the Cadillac CT4 is a small luxury sedan that should be considered by those seeking high performance.

If you’re looking for a compact luxury sedan with personality and poise, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a great choice that deserves attention during the car buying process.

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