Driving with Dan: 2014 Lexus

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(KTVI) - When you hear the name Lexus, you think sophisticated luxury.  Now you can add sporty to that resume.

Dan Wiese of the St. Louis Post Dispatch shows us the new 2014 Lexus IS.

1.) IS is available in four versions: 250 rear-wheel drive, 250 all-wheel drive, 350 RWD, 350 AWD. We'll be showing the top-of-the-line 350 AWD.

2.) The 250 gets a 204-hp V-6 while the 350 gets a 306-hp V-6. Both engines are carried over, and all mate to a six-speed automatic except the 350 RWD, which gets an eight-speed automatic.

3.) This third-generation IS is a credible competitor in the compact sport sedan segment for the sainted BMW 3 Series. Who'da ever thought the cushy Lexus luxury brand would field such a performer. Zero-to-60 sprints in the 350 are in the mid 5's. That's about 2 seconds faster than the 250.

4.) The styling shows "The New Face of Lexus": an aggressive "spindle" grille.

5.) This new IS is 3.4 inches longer and a shade wider and taller than its predecessor. Combined with its 2.7-inch longer wheelbase, those dimensions create a roomier back seat.

6.) Our car has the optional F Sport Package, which adds stiffer spring rates and, among other things, a nifty motorized gauge display that has to be seen to be believed. It doesn't add a lot of information for the driver, but it's fun to operate.

7.) The IS F Sport is not to be confused with the IS F, a high-performance specialty sedan with a 416-hp V-8. That one competes with M models from BMW, V models from Cadillac and AMGs from Mercedes.