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If you are a fan of naturally aspirated V6 power wrapped in a premium package, the 2015 Lexus IS 250 AWD might be just the ticket. However, you might want to hurry to the dealer lot if you are seriously in the market ― this is the last year the current power plant is available. Just announced, the 2016 model brings a smaller displacement 4-cylinder turbo to the IS lineup and a new model name, the IS 200t.

The Numbers

  • MSRP: $39,085
  • Tested Price: $46,650 (MSRP plus $925 destination fee and a $6,640 option list, which included Luxury Package, Accessory Package, Park Assist, navigation system, and upgraded wheels and tires)
  • 2.5-liter direct injected V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters (tested)
  • 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft. of torque
  • 20 mpg in the city
  • 27 mpg on the highway
  • 23 mpg combined
  • 91-octane unleaded fuel is required

Our tester came with the Luxury Package ($3,095), which includes LED headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, leather interior, wood trim, heated/ventilated front seats, memory driver controls, and blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert; Navigation system ($1,885), which includes backup camera, apps, and 1-year trial to Lexus Destination service; Park Assist ($500); Accessory Package($255), which includes trunk mat, cargo net and wheel locks; and upgraded wheels and tires ($935), which includes 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires ($935).

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Hits

  • All-wheel drive system helps deliver tight turn-in and sure-footedness around corners
  • Excellent stopping ability due to 11.65-inch ventilated front disc brakes
  • Very quiet, smooth ride ― even at highway speeds
  • Driver-focused cockpit with all quick-access buttons and controls within reach
  • Comfortable, supportive front seats
  • Well-appointed interior with smart application of soft touch surfaces, wood trim, and bright work
  • Ventilated seats were appreciated during a recent summer heat wave
  • Infotainment system is easy to use and its apps played well with Bluetooth-connected devices

Misses

  • Steering feels a bit numb and doesn’t provide enough feedback from the road
  • Acceleration is somewhat slow (8.3-second 0 ‒ 60 mph time) and left us wanting more since the vehicle feels so planted in turns
  • Gas-thirsty engine requires 91-octane according to Lexus documentation
  • Middle seat is almost unusable if three average-sized adults sit in rear passenger area

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Value Retention

In regards to value retention, the Lexus IS sits in second place (out of 12) within the three-year-old luxury compact segment by holding 56% of its value in 2015.  Lexus’ sporty sedan handedly outperforms the segment value retention score average of 51.1% for 2015.

Our Verdict on Twitter

@NADAUsedCarGde says, “.@BMWUSA #3series: Is the @Lexus #IS250 the next quintessential sports sedan?”