Just checked out the new Lexus IS (Lexus official site, video), I think it looks nice! 18″ rims and RWD. They almost make it right this time. A couple of problems:
- you can’t get a manual gearbox with the AWD model
- the 6spd paddle shifter is just a slushy with paddles, it still has a torque converter
- Looks like they won’t offer a real manual gearbox for the bigger 3.5L V6 model
- It’s not clear if they will continue to offer limited-slip differential as an option
Still, most buyers of these cars probably would care less about these things. If you’re in the market for an BMW E90 with Steptronic transmission, I would give the new Lexus IS a very hard look!! I hope they put out an IS 350 with the 3.5L engine, LSD, and a 6-speed close-ratio manual gearbox.