Every car enthusiast seems to come across this dilemma now and then – especially those of us with families and tight budgets. The dilemma? Practical or sick ride? Now I know some of you will say “Why not both?” Been there, tried that and haven’t made it work. So when it came down to my next everyday driver I did what any other car lover would do… Try again! So below is my journey to building a daily driver, custom Lexus IS250 F-Sport.
On the check list: safety, gas mileage, 4 doors, VERY dependable for short and long distance (I used to drive 2 hours each way in Los Angeles traffic so this ride might have needed to take a beating!) Of course, low depreciation rate would be nice as well. 3 years later I know I made the right choice – the Lexus IS250 F-Sport.
My Ultrasonic Blue 2012 Lexus Custom IS 250 F-Sport may not be the fastest car I have owned but it was optioned with a new F-Sport package that incorporated a firmer suspension upgrade, heated sports seats with microfiber inserts, 18-inch dark-finished wheels, grill inserts and an F-Sport badge on the side of the front fender. One quick look and this Lexus closely resembles the top-of-the-line performance oriented ISF.
Although the very tame 2.5-liter V6 producing only 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque refracts any bit of high end ‘sport’ from the IS250, it still comes off as a capable performer visually and in the turns. The 6 speed automatic and engine are as smooth as silk but the paddle shifters really help you get the most get-up-and-go (and you need to use them to squeeze extra low-end speed/power.)
The first mod (because even an every-day driver needs mods!) was a MagnaFlow 3” cat back exhaust. The car was almost silent before and the extra growl was a welcome addition.
Now despite the Lexus IS250 being in need of much more power, the ride is firm and stable at high speeds. So of course to add to that handling I dropped the car 2” in the back and 1.75” in the front with brand new Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs. That combined with the staggered Bridgestone Turanza Summer Tires (meaty 255/40R18s in the back and 225/40s in the front) makes this baby a real canyon carver and lets you take control of those curves!
More mods to compliment the overall aggressive style? Of course! I swapped the stock premium wheels with some wicked Motegi Racing wheels, cross drilled rotors and competition yellow calipers front and rear. This with the Eibach Pro-Kitlowering kit give the car a very unique look and stance – I haven’t really seen too many people spend this much time and money on these cars so it makes you look!
From the rear you also notice the addition of the color-matched rear wind diffuser on the lower bumper and the color-matched spoiler at the top of the rear window.
8-way power sport seats, billet aluminum pedals… The fit and finish of Lexus interiors are always top-notch as it is in the 2012 Lexus IS250. Just about every aspect of the Lexus IS250’s interior screams high-quality. The same can be said about the build quality of the IS cabin overall. The Lexus IS’s interior gives its German competition – the BMW 3 Series, Benz C-Class and Audi A4 – a serious run for the money.
A rear pass-through is only offered for the extra cargo storage instead of folding rear seats. Fortunately, trunk space is at 13 cubic feet which is about the normal capacity for this class of vehicle.
Gas figures for the IS250 are not much different than many in the range. I was able to get a decent 25 mpg in the city and near 31 mpg on the highway, just as the EPA estimates. My overall MPG figures/guesstimates for the IS250 have now shifted to 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
SPECIFICATIONS: Lexus IS250 F-Sport
- Price: Base IS250 $32,645 As-Tested $36,630
- Engine: 2.5-liter 204hp @ 6400 rpm/185 ft-lbs torque @ 4800 rpm
- Drive: RWD
- Wheelbase: 107.4in.
- Total length: 180.3in.
- Total width: 70.9in.
- Total height: 56.1in.
- Track: f/r-60.4/60.4in.
- Turning circle: 33.5ft.
- Headroom: f/r-37.2/36.7in.
- Legroom: f/r-43.9/30.6in.
- MPG est.: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway
- Fuel tank: 17.1 gallons
- 0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
- EPA cargo volume: 13.0cu.ft.
- Curb weight: 3,455
Overall, after 3 years this has been a heck of a fun car that gets looks everywhere I go. Not the fastest car on the block but certainly one sick ride!