Lexus IS F-Sports vs. Acura TLX type S

dnewton3

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I realize these cars are (nearly) made from unobtainium in today's market, but ....

I am trying to decide if I'd like to get one ...

- IS350 F Sport is down a bit on power compared to the IS500 and TLX S, but the IS350 is a proven powertrain and in RWD has good reviews.
- IS500 F Sport is powerful; perhaps a bit too much so, as some of the realworld complaints are that it's practically undrivable in rain/snow because it's hard to control so much power in a relatively light RWD car (aka Mustang, Camaro, etc).
- TLX type S is powerful and has great handling reviews, but is loaded with tech in the drivetrain (turbo engine; SH-AWD) that may not hold up as well in the long term?

Genearlly I prefer simple over complex... naturally aspirated engines over turbos, RWD over a FWD/AWD system, etc.

Today I sat in a TLX (base model) and the interior is very nice and there's a decent amount of room. Unfortunately, there's no IS models (300,350,500) in my area to see in person. I've read that the IS series is a tad smaller, especially in the back seat area. While it's just my wife and I at home, we do occasionally have another couple go with us to dinner or short trips and I don't want to "cram" friends into a back seat.

I've done plenty of research on the 'net and YT, but I'd like some direct honest perspective. Most of the videos on the internet are based on brand new cars that are "reviews" ... few of those folks ever actually buy a car and have to live with it for 5+ years. It's easy to praise or punish a car that you don't have any long-term interest with.

Anyone here own any of these three cars? Comments on the likes/dislikes?
 
The IS is considerably smaller than the TLX and you will feel it both front and back. If you want a usable backseat for adults then the IS is out of the running right there IMO.

SH-AWD is one of the best systems on the market and I wouldn't be concerned with it as far as reliability goes...haven't heard of any failures. Other than fluid changes there's nothing to touch.
 
All I can tell you is we flat out love our '13 GS350 F Sport. If there is any decent used ones in your area, I recommend driving one.
Good luck and happy car hunting!
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Any reason to discount the Chrysler 300 or charger. They're not bad at all. Sure they're getting a bit old but they're surprisingly reliable not just by dodge standards but in general. I'd be fine with the v6 as i drove one as a rental and it being a full sized sedan it was actually more comfy compared to the more cramped 2019 escalade i had before and about as roomy as the 2021 escalade i have now but the 3.6 was surprisingly powerful for being the weakest and most fuel efficient engine. I thought It was gonna be a dog but it goes. But get a v8 if you want. Rear leg room and comfort is also great.
 
Between those two, I'd have to drive both before I could decide. If I still couldn't make up my mind, I'd base my choice on the rarity of the two, and choose the rarer car. (y)
 
IS just bcs. it is RWD platform and longitudinal engine.
I would go IS500 although it is vanilla attempt to be performance car. Anyone understanging performance vehicles saw some basic issues, but I think it is excellent concept and probably soon you will have aftermarket parts to address excessive understeer.
However, nothing can help you with the fact that TL-X is FWD platform and horizontal engine set up.
 
Why not consider an ES350 F-Sport?

More rear passenger room than the TLX, much much simpler powertrain, when you don’t want to be aggressive you can run regular fuel and get great gas mileage too.
 
A manager under whom I worked in the past had an IS 350 F-Sport, and from ample seat time in the car (front and back), I can tell you that anyone of adult size riding in the rear seats is going to be uncomfortable. Fine for solo piloting with first officer alongside, but if you're carrying guests behind you, I'd be cautious. However, if you're favoring natural aspiration and RWD, there aren't many other choices beyond Stellantis' offerings.

As for the IS 500 F-Sport...maybe those guests would find that sweet V8 sound entertaining enough to ignore their discomfort.
 
I would take the acura. After driving many rear and awd vehicles awd is just much better in the real world. When you have to pull out into traffic quick you dont have to always worry about traction. It just seems more driver friendly.
 
I actually did some looking around tonight regarding the J30AC that they're using in the TLX Type S. Far from a clean sheet design, it looks like it is a very beefed up (6 bolt mains!) J Series with DOHC heads. From all appearances, it looks like this 'new' motor should be just as reliable as most J motors (Provided that they don't screw it up with VCM). Yes, I'm a big fan of the non-VCM J-Series engines.





These guys seem to be mostly about straight line racing, but they give a good look at the new block and heads.
 
To live with on a daily basis, the Acura may have better interior packaging. I find the IS interior to feel narrow and confining, though the seats of the one I sat it spanked Acura all the way home.

BUT, thats where I, as a GS owner, would urge you to look at the GS. It’s not just that the IS and GS are RWD, it’s also the sum of the drivetrain. Even in the 3.5 v6 guise, it’s a built motor with the snappiest automatic I’ve had the pleasure of hustling about. The paddle shifters are actually usable, it snaps into gear, and actually rev-matches itself on high rpm downshifts for quick, snappy, and accurate power transfer. The RWD gets the power to the ground very well, and does not leave me wanting more. Whereas a performance FWD always reminds me that it’s limited on front traction, the RWD reminds me that it’s capabilities are beyond my own. And, the GS is quiet, comfortable, lugs along patiently, and totally blends in like a Camry. I write like a hothead, but 99.9% of the time am probably the guy you are passing due to going below the general cultural average speed.

where the GS misses the mark is that it has to be prodded to dance. It takes a bit more body English to set it up to carve a turn, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing. I actually downsized the wheels to a 17” model with very close width and offset to oem, and it has transformed the vehicle in the best ways.

another downside to the GS family, and probably IS as well, is they like premium and drink it freely. It averages 1 mpg better than my f150 (22 and 21 mpg, respectively). The Lexus makes sure you are comfortable, and I’ve watched it keep a lower gear when the AC compressor is engaged to make sure comfort is kept king.

additional thoughts.

i wouldn’t worry about turbo engine and long term ownership. We’ve got 3 turbos in the family, including the honda 1.5T, and they’ve all been great to live with. The 1.5T takes a lot of heat on the internet, but as an owner, the concerns have been easily mitigated and we just haven’t had problems with turbos. Acura doesn’t build junk.

conversely, when we bought our GS used at 6 years old, it had a failed seatbelt, sunroof motor, 2 door lock motors, and a recalled fuel pump. In addition, the 1-2 shift is a little soft. While I suspect the 1-2 shift was due to a hard life (this car scoots! and I don’t think it was maintained well at all, and had been in an accident), the other failures would not have been exacerbated by abuse. The complexity of Lexus does get some side-eye glances with small electronics failures, like mine.
 
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I tend to like Acura products. But that's just a personal preference. I also love turbocharged engines, so there is that. In fact every single performance car I've ever owned has been turbocharged or supercharged. My current Jag F-Type is supercharged, and I do love the car. But I prefer turbocharging as a general rule.

However, in this price range, consider a Tesla Model 3 performance. I know, I know, it's not what you want. But good god they are so much fun, all the downsides just evaporate for me. I find them really comfortable, quiet, and the acceleration is addictive. Take a look at the road-race lap times for some idea on how capable these things really are.

I'm not a huge EV fan. Instead, I'm a enthusiastic performance driver, and quite simply, that is where I concentrate my opinions. On the facts of real world performance.

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However, in this price range, consider a Tesla Model 3 performance. I know, I know, it's not what you want. But good god they are so much fun, all the downsides just evaporate for me. I find them really comfortable, quiet, and the acceleration is addictive. Take a look at the road-race lap times for some idea on how capable these things really are.
I was afraid to mention the Model 3 Performance. But from a performance standpoint, everything else pales. Other performance cars have great qualities, but the MP3 renders other cars "old skool".

This car will make life miserable for any supercar you can buy today.

I bought our Mid Range in Dec 2018 as a gift to my wife. Sue is in charge of the Industry 4.0 iniative at a large Silicon Valley company. Tech is everything. Embracing the future is necessary in high tech or you will be lost. An MP3 is on the horizon for us once I learn what major improvements have been incorporated.
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I was afraid to mention the Model 3 Performance. But from a performance standpoint, everything else pales. Other performance cars have great qualities, but the MP3 renders other cars "old skool".

This car will make life miserable for any supercar you can buy today.

I bought our Mid Range in Dec 2018 as a gift to my wife. Sue is in charge of the Industry 4.0 iniative at a large Silicon Valley company. Tech is everything. Embracing the future is necessary in high tech or you will be lost. An MP3 is on the horizon for us once I learn what major improvements have been incorporated.
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He probably has one at home:
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I realize these cars are (nearly) made from unobtainium in today's market, but ....

I am trying to decide if I'd like to get one ...

- IS350 F Sport is down a bit on power compared to the IS500 and TLX S, but the IS350 is a proven powertrain and in RWD has good reviews.
- IS500 F Sport is powerful; perhaps a bit too much so, as some of the realworld complaints are that it's practically undrivable in rain/snow because it's hard to control so much power in a relatively light RWD car (aka Mustang, Camaro, etc).
- TLX type S is powerful and has great handling reviews, but is loaded with tech in the drivetrain (turbo engine; SH-AWD) that may not hold up as well in the long term?

Genearlly I prefer simple over complex... naturally aspirated engines over turbos, RWD over a FWD/AWD system, etc.

Today I sat in a TLX (base model) and the interior is very nice and there's a decent amount of room. Unfortunately, there's no IS models (300,350,500) in my area to see in person. I've read that the IS series is a tad smaller, especially in the back seat area. While it's just my wife and I at home, we do occasionally have another couple go with us to dinner or short trips and I don't want to "cram" friends into a back seat.

I've done plenty of research on the 'net and YT, but I'd like some direct honest perspective. Most of the videos on the internet are based on brand new cars that are "reviews" ... few of those folks ever actually buy a car and have to live with it for 5+ years. It's easy to praise or punish a car that you don't have any long-term interest with.

Anyone here own any of these three cars? Comments on the likes/dislikes?
I like Toyota/Lexus products but if I had to choose between what you're giving us I would go with the Acura. Reason being we're not getting any younger and I think the turbocharged engine would be lots more invigorating plus I don't believe you would have a reliability issue in this case. Also more room doesn't hurt. Tough choice though. Either way, good luck.
 
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