Sedans & Coupes

The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport Is an Affordable Thrill Ride

You generally don’t find doorbuster deals on luxury models like the 2021 Lexus IS. However, car buyers might not need one after seeing the IS 350 F Sport’s surprising initial pricing.

Many guffawed after learning of the Lexus IS’ lack of updates for 2021. However, the latest pricing tweaks might be just the saving grace the luxury compact sedan needed.

The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport RWD starts at an MSRP of $42,900, which is a $2,475 price reduction from the 2020 model, according to Motor 1. Buyers can upgrade to an all-wheel-drive variant for $2,000. However, the entry-level Lexus IS 300 RWD underwent a small price increase, bringing its starting MSRP to $39,900.

The 350 F Sport trim is worth the upgrade

The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport on display in front of a gray background
2021 Lexus IS F Sport on display | Photo via Lexus

Driving the Lexus IS 300 is by no means a bore, but this model doesn’t quite offer the same thrills as the higher trim. The standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine musters 241 hp on rear-wheel-drive models and 260 on those equipped with all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, the IS 350 F Sport features a 3.5-liter V6, which kicks out 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Those who choose the higher trim will also be treated to interior and exterior visual enhancements via the F Sport package. These upgrades include 19-inch wheels, an exclusive exhaust system, a cold-air intake, F Sport badging, and more. 

Additionally, buyers can outfit this model with the available F Sport Dynamic Handling package. It comes with a new adaptive suspension system and a limited-slip differential on RWD models for sportier handling.

Buyers could equip the F Sport package on any Lexus IS trim in 2020. However, Lexus removed that option from the 2021 Lexus IS 300. Instead, it now comes standard on the Lexus IS 350.

The 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport out-values the competition

Those looking for driving thrills mixed with a dash of luxury have several affordable options, so what makes Lexus’ sporty compact right for you? When pitting the Lexus IS vs. Genesis G70 against each other, critics will point to the G70’s horsepower advantage on the standard and top trims. 

However, the 2021 Lexus IS’ mid-tier trim has become the sweet spot for car shoppers looking for the best value. The 2021 Genesis G70 doesn’t offer any other model in a similar price range, making buyers spend around $3,000 extra for a model faster than the Lexus IS 350 F Sport.

Drivers may even want to choose this Lexus’ compact over BMW’s. The 2021 BMW 330i starts at an MSRP of $41,250, while only providing entry-level features and fewer horsepower than the IS 350 F Sport.

A whole lot of bang for not too many extra bucks

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The entry-level IS 300 may not be the best deal in luxury, but the 2021 Lexus 350 F Sport is certainly a contender. Drivers can harness the power of a lively V6 for just a few thousand extra dollars. 

Alongside Lexus’ previously announced tech enhancements, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa support, the IS 350 F Sport is gaining momentum. Car buyers can expect to find the new 2021 Lexus IS at dealerships beginning in October.