2016 Lexus IS200: New luxury sedan gives BMW pause

James Raia

The 2016 Lexus IS200 is a new vehicle, replacing the IS 250 as the upscale brand’s entry level luxury sedan. It features three models, including a more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbo-charged engine with 241 horsepower.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

My weekly driver test drive was the Lexus IS200t with the F Sport Package. Lexus is known for its generous list of standard features, among other qualities. The new IS lineup in no exception.

The 2016 Lexus IS200 is a new vehicle for the upscale brand
The 2016 Lexus IS200 is a new vehicle for the upscale brand. All images © Bruce Aldrich/2016.

Standard equipment across the line includes: 17-inch wheels (18-inchers on the IS 350), xenon headlights, LED running lights/foglights/taillights, heated exterior mirrors, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power front seats with driver power lumbar, “NuLuxe” premium vinyl upholstery.

There are also 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch color display with a console-mounted control dial, voice command functionality, Siri Eyes Free and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio and dual USB ports.

Video filmed and edited by Bruce Aldrich. Narration by James Raia.

The F Sport package, an option on all trim levels, features: a full-mesh treatment for the grille, a revised front bumper (which loses the foglights), LED headlights, staggered-width 18-inch wheels (with either summer or all-season tires), a sport-tuned suspension (with adaptive dampers on the IS 350 RWD), upgraded brake pads, an intake sound generator that amplifies engine noise during acceleration (not available on IS 200t), heated and ventilated front sport seats with enhanced bolstering, a black headliner, perforated leather trim and a special sport-oriented gauge cluster.

While the equipment list and advanced technology is impressive, it’s equaled by the car’s superior driving qualities. It’s not the fastest sports sedan, but 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds in plenty sufficient.

The Lexus IS 200t F Sport has a spry, in-control feel in city driving. On the freeway, it accelerates with ease, particular at speeds greater than 40 mph. The overall ride quality is composed, the handling and ride are smooth.

While the new Lexus IS 200t is classified as an entry level luxury sedan, the quality of the interior materials, the exterior design and the pleasant drive all add up to propel it into a more upscale category.


Athletic and sleek appearance with sports car overtones.
Superior overall comfort.
Superior materials quality.
Handsome, race car design in a compact luxury sedan.


Difficult entry and exit.
Tight rear seat leg room.
Pointed door edges.

Facts & Figures, 2016 Lexus IS200t f sport

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.9 seconds.
Airbags: 10.
Fuel economy: 22 mpg (city), 33 mpg (highway), 26 mpg (combined) eight-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 241.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $37,325.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.lexus.com.
Price As Tested: $45,650.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Corrosion, 8 years/70,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“The 2016 Lexus IS’s blend of style, comfort and power makes it an appealing choice for a small luxury sedan.” — Edmunds.

“It’s gorgeous. It’s powerful. It’s comfortable. If I could have driven it through my front door and up into my bedroom each night and tucked it in. — Forbes.

“In the highly competitive entry-level luxury-sedan market the 2016 Lexus IS is an enticing choice, with high style, advanced technology, impressive performance, indisputable prestige, impeccable detail, relentless — Kelley Blue Book.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“A handsome, well-appointed entry level luxury sedan with a sports car feel. It maneuvers well in city traffic and is appreciably quiet on the freeway. It provides good competition for the well-entrenched BMW 3 series.”


Article Last Updated: May 10, 2016.

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