Lexus is upping its game. The luxury brand has built a reputation over the years for elegant luxury vehicles, reliability and customer service. But now Lexus has made aggressive design and performance a priority and the changes are striking. The new design direction is most noticeable with the new spindle front grille that immediately grabs your attention and gives the vehicles a much sportier look. But buyers looking for even more aggressive design and performance packages will look to the Lexus F Sport lineup which now covers six of its vehicles. Buyers choosing the F SPORT packages will get increased handling along with unique design cues that set the vehicles apart.
I was on hand at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Lexus took the opportunity to show off the F SPORT lineup with challenging autocross and track courses. The idea was to push each vehicle in standard drive mode and then run the same route again in sport mode. The cars handled fine in standard mode but then became very impressive in sport mode, gripping the corners as we powered through the turns. With its F SPORT lineup Lexus offers worthy competitors to the top sport sedans on the market, along with designs that will attract the attention of younger buyers (and those who are young at heart).
We had the entire F SPORT lineup on hand at the track, including the IS 250/350 sport sedan, the GS 350 luxury sedan, the LS 460 flagship luxury sedan, the CT 200h premium hybrid compact, the IS 250/350C hardtop convertible and the RX 350 luxury utility vehicle.
We also had the two stand-alone F performance vehicles – the LFA supercar and the IS F performance sedan. These are completely distinct models built for optimal track performance.
The day started for our group on the tight autocross course with four F SPORT models – the CT 200h, the IS 250, the IS 350 AWD, and the GS 350. The course had plenty of quick and tight turns, and with each model we drove it in standard drive mode for one lap and then switched to the Sport or Sport+ mode for the second lap with a very impressive improvement in handling and stability around the corners. We could push the cars even harder as we got accustomed to the course.