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Lexus IS F among Motor Trend's 18 favorite current car interiors

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With the obvious title Our Favorite Interiors, subtitled A Subjective Look at Some of the Cabins We Like Best, the Online Staff of Motor Trend magazine compiled a list, with commentary, of their 18 favorites. (Why 18? Why not 15 or 20?) Among their choices, and as Lexus' only appearance on the list is the IS F interior. Appearing on lucky Page 13 (a reflection of the list's alphabetical order, and not its ranking within the list), here is their commentary:

Lexus IS F
by Carlos Lago

The love begins at start-up. No, wait. It begins with the leather-wrapped key fob. And the perforated leather seats bathed in gorgeous white. The contrasting white-seat-black-cabin interior scheme is a must, by the way. Don't fear dirt or damage; our long-termer arrived last year upholstered so and, some 20,000 miles later, shows little sign of wear.

OK. Engine on. Only the needles in the tach and speedo illuminate, in electric blue. Across a black backdrop they sweep, returning to rest just as the engine fires. The gauges light up in segments as the baritone idle settles. The sequence is seductive and makes you feel like you're about to experience something special. You will: Above 4000 rpm, the blast of the engine engulfs the cabin.

Yes, the M3 is the better car. It's faster. It offers a more involving drive. But inside, the Bimmer's austere. It offers little in embellishment or excitement. It's all very German and, when you're not too busy flogging the car to notice, somewhat depressing. In contrast, the Lexus IS F's cabin is intoxicating. Plus, its infotainment system doesn't involve a joystick or dial. Instead, it boasts intuitively placed controls and a straightforward touch screen. Its layout is clear and easy to read. And there are no confusing submenus.

Of course, there are niggles. One is the questionable use of reflective material surrounding the shifter (not to mention the "PRND" indicator Lexus has used since the ES 250 first appeared). Lexus calls the applique "aluminized composite trim," but it looks like chrome carbon fiber and is as gaudy as that sounds. Also, the sport mode button hides to the left of the start button and behind the steering wheel. Even after quite some time with the car, you may look down, as I did, see the toggle, and say, "Whoa. This thing has a sport mode?"

But these are minor stitching slips in a chic two-piece suit. The IS F's cabin offers satisfying visual flourish accompanied by superlative comfort. With its quality and attention to detail, the interior feels like a treat whatever the scenario.

Lexus IS F: Take Two
by Scott Evans

While Lexus has chased Mercedes-Benz and BMW's luxury status since its inception, the company has rarely tried to match its German rival's sporting pedigrees. That changed last year with the debut of the IS F, a Lexus aimed squarely at the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

Inside, there's no mistaking the IS-F for anything but a driver's car. The seats are heavily bolstered and hold you well, yet still are soft and supportive and keep your backside happy even on long trips. In the back, Lexus abandoned the common fifth center seat in favor of large bolsters for the rear passengers. Back up front, a meaty steering wheel and driver-oriented controls make it clear this car means business.

While this car may be simple and purposeful, it hasn't forgotten that it's a Lexus. On start-up, blue needles light up and sweep across their gauges with no other lighting to obscure the dance. At night, a single, dim LED shines down from the overhead console onto the center console, making the interior feel like the cockpit of a jet. That center console is trimmed with "aluminized composite trim" that looks like carbon fiber made from aluminum and makes for an interesting twist on almost-cliche carbon-fiber trim on sporty cars. The little touches make this car and help remind you that, yes, there is a big L on that steering wheel.

If the attention to detail doesn't convince you, the features will. Plush leather seats, a brilliant paddle-shifted automatic with perfectly placed paddles, radar cruise control that practically drives the car for you, a premium stereo, and one of the best navigation/multifunction displays in the business make this car a joy to drive for commutes and weekends alike.

To view the original Motor Trend IS F interior write-up, <A HREF="">click here</A>. Or, to read the entire 19-page article in order, <A HREF="">start here</A>.
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