2022 vs. 2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport: What’s Changed?

I can’t be the only person whose family members often bought new cars’ outgoing model years to score deals. Even some luxury car shoppers have undoubtedly employed similar tactics to save some cash. And it works out great if the car you’re eyeing hasn’t changed much from year to year. But is the 2022 Lexus IS one of those cars? And even if it isn’t, is it worth potentially spending more over the 2021 version I’ve been driving recently?

Is the 2022 Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport any different from the 2021 model?

The IS got a few tweaks going into 2021. Lexus stiffened the sedan’s chassis, re-valved the shocks, and installed lighter springs, control arms, and sway bars. The IS also swapped out its lug nuts and studs for wheel bolts, which are lighter and stiffer. And in addition to some minor interior styling changes and more standard tech, the 2021 IS also has an overhauled infotainment system. So, instead of a mouse, there’s a touchpad and an 8” or 10.3” touchscreen.

Also, for 2021, the Lexus IS 350 is the only IS available in F Sport trim. It still has a 3.5-liter V6, but thanks to a new performance intake and active sports exhaust, the engine makes 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Also, it has more blacked-out trim and larger brake-cooling ducts.

The AWD F Sport still has a six-speed automatic, though, and RWD models still get an eight-speed automatic. And the formerly standard adaptive shocks are now part of the F Sport Dynamic Handling Package, which also adds BBS wheels, extra driving modes, and a carbon-fiber spoiler. But if you get a RWD IS 350 F Sport, Lexus throws in a limited-slip differential.

So, what new things does 2022 bring to the IS 350 F Sport? Nothing—well, nothing where standard features are concerned. The 2022 model has the same powertrains and no extra power, torque, or gears. It even has the same interior and exterior color choices.

However, the 2022 Lexus IS 350 F Sport does have a few extra options, MotorTrend reports. There’s a new optional rear power sunshade, for example. Also, the new Memory Package adds a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and an auto-tilt-down function for the side mirrors while reversing. And as the name implies, it gives the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and side mirrors position memory.

How much does a new 2022 Lexus IS 350 F Sport cost compared to a used 2021 one?

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As in 2021, the base 2022 Lexus IS trim is the IS 300, which starts at $39,850 before destination and options. The 2022 IS 350 F Sport, though, starts at $44,275 in RWD; AWD costs $2000 extra. In comparison, the respective 2021 versions started at $42,950 and $44,900.

My 2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport test vehicle, though, had several optional features, including the Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package. Hence why it stickered at $57,015 before destination. But if you equipped the 2022 model to a similar level, it would cost $58,455. And that’s before the $575 Memory Package and $210 power sunshade.

So, the 2022 Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport is just under $1500 more expensive than the equivalent 2021 version. But that’s the price difference from new. Optioned like my tester, the average 2021 F Sport has a $51,200 trade-in value, NADA Guides says. As such, the real-world price difference is more like $7000, if not more. And while the 2022 model is new, a 2021 IS still has a factory warranty.

Is it worth getting a new one instead of a used one?

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Admittedly, Lexus did make some more changes to the 2022 IS lineup. There’s now a V8-powered model, the IS 500 F Sport Performance. Only available with RWD, it also comes standard with the IS 350 F Sport’s Dynamic Handling Package. And with a $57,575 starting price, it’s slightly cheaper than a well-optioned 350. However, if you want the version with the Mark Levinson audio system and navigation, it’s $5000 extra.

Regarding the 350 F Sport model, though, the 2022 model is virtually identical to the 2021 version. So, unless you need those memory functions and sunshade, getting the outgoing model will save you money and deliver a similar driving experience.

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