Thursday, September 29, 2011


Ask people to find a coupe in a parking lot and they no doubt will pick out a two-door model. Ask them to find a sedan, and they will point to a four-door.
For the most part, they will be right.
But there are exceptions.
More goes into defining a car as a coupe or sedan than just the number of openings for getting in or out of it, though exactly what factors do go into that determination (rear seat volume, lack of a B pillar, number of passengers, hatchback or trunk, etc.) is a discussion better left for another day. It gets involved.
For now I’ll accept it when Mercedes-Benz bills its CLS model as a four-door coupe (leaving the company’s claim as it being the world’s first four-door coupe for another day as well). After all, the Germans are generally accepted as having invented the automobile (no, it wasn’t Henry Ford), so they carry some sway here.
Frankly, whatever you want to call it, the CLS is one helluva an automobile.
First introduced as a 2006 model, the CLS moves into its second generation for 2012 as ever so slightly longer (by 1.2 inches) and wider (by less than half-an-inch) than its predecessor, fitting in between the six-figure S-based CL coupe and the less expensive E-Class coupe.
It comes in two flavors, the CLS550 (offered with rear-wheel drive or Mercedes’ AWD 4Matic) and the CLS63 AMG. The CLS550 starts at $71,300 but can get up to the $80,000 bracket quickly with some of the neat options included. The AMG version starts in the mid-$90,000 range.
Both have twin-turbocharged V8 engines with the 550’s power plant getting 12.9 pounds of boost from its turbos to pump out 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. With 18.8 pounds of boost from its twin turbos, the V8 in in the CLS63 AMG gets 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet torque as standard power. Add the extra performance package to the CLS63 AMG an the numbers to up to 550 and 590, respectively.
Can you say zero-to-60 mph in a sneeze?
Each of the engines is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual gear selection capability, and yes, of course, they both drink premium fuel at a pace that may appall tree-huggers but really isn’t all that bad, considering all that power under the hood. EPA ratings are 16 mpg city, 25 highway for the RWD models and a mile higher for each with 4Matic configuration. 
Externally, the CLS has the profile of a coupe. The roof line is a gentle arc that slopes from front to back almost to the rear bumper. There is the traditional Mercedes star in the grille and a small Mercedes badge above it, not the traditional star hood ornament that sticks up and serves as a gun sight.
The taillights are striking, especially at night.
I had a neighbor actually make it a point to come up the street after he had seen them to ask me what kind of car it was. He had been following me for quite a few blocks and apparently just had to know.

Inside, you find the usual touches of Mercedes-Benz luxury. The full leather interior features Burl Walnut trim and a multifunction leather sport steering wheel. Yes, of course, the steering wheel has paddle shifters.
The COMAND system with GPS navigation, which has been simplified somewhat and requires only a bachelor’s degree to operate instead of the initial Master’s Degree, is among standard equipment along with a slew of other features that make a luxury car, well, a luxury car.
There are numerous option packages as well that really add to the car’s panache. I was driving along late one night when a warning popped up in the middle of the instrument cluster telling me I looked sleepy and should pull over for a cup of coffee. Except I wasn’t sleepy and didn’t want coffee, but the thought is what counts.
If I drifted from my lane without signaling my intent to move over, the lane tracking system sent a slight vibration to the steering wheel to give me a heads up. That particular system also includes blind-spot assist. There also is an upgraded lane tracking system that takes a more active role in getting you back in your lane if you desire. (I don’t think I would, but somebody else might.)
Night view assist PLUS with pedestrian detection also is offered as a stand-alone option, but wasn’t included in the vehicle I was driving. But headlights that illuminate the direction you are turning were.
Ah, but the seats. That’s what really grabbed me, fairly literally, in fact.
The first time I drove the CLS and made a turn at a good speed, I felt the sides of seat gently tighten just a bit to prevent me from swaying. They relaxed their grasp at the completion of the turn.
Switches tucked down between the driver’s seat and the center console also let me snuggle up the sides of the seat as much as I desired to bolster support. I also set the seat to give me a firm massaging of lower back, which at the time was kind of hurting.
I’ve driven many cars that let me firm up a seat’s lumbar support, but these supports kneaded the muscles in me lower back as you drive. It’s one of the functions of the Active-Multicontour Driver’s seat, but I’d call the system Active Lumbar Support. (Note to Mercedes marketing folks: Just send the royalty check to me at my home address for that suggestion.)
There is one thing I feel obligated to mention. I have brought up before how annoying it is to have the slim stalk that operates the cruise control sticking out from the steering wheel column just about the turn signal.
If your hands are in the 10-2 position on the wheel and you flick the fingers on your left hand to operate the turn signal, chances are you are going to hit the cruise control instead.
This is something that I have ragged on before about Mercedes-Benz models as it is common throughout the line. For some reason, though, it seemed to be even more in my way on the CLS.
This is also something that I will continue to mention until Mercedes moves the cruise control stalk under the turn signal where it belongs. I’m sure this will upset them to no end.
I should also note that the rear seat will accommodate only two passengers. Though there isn’t a lot of room back there, certainly not as much as you find on Mercedes sedans, neither did I feel particularly cramped.
So, is it that 2-plus-2 seating configuration that makes the CLS550 a coupe? I guess that’s a point in favor of that contention. But then, if you removed that backseat console, making room for three passengers in the rear, but also removed the rear doors, would that make the CLS a two-door sedan?
Another topic for another day.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Some unrelated observations ... 
-- If you are a Netflix subscriber, you probably know by now that the company has made a big change. No longer can you “watch instantly” and still get DVDs in the mail for the same price.
The streaming service is now being broken off into a separate unit with a separate price. According to an email from company co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, the DVD division will soon operate under the “qwikster” name.

Regretfully, I canceled my streaming service but am keeping the mail-in DVD service. It is efficient and fast.

The main reason is that though I often sat and watched movies on my computer when the service was first offered, more recently I haven’t had the time or inclination. The second reason is that there are not nearly as many titles available through the streaming service as there are through the mail-in service. And, oh, yeah, the change pretty much doubled my cost.
I’m glad to see that Netflix (qwikster) is taking steps to keep up with emerging technology such as the streaming video, but I think the company should have had a wider spread of titles available first. One example: I ran across lists that showed one season of a TV series being offered (and not always the first one) but not the rest of the episodes. That doesn’t make sense to me.
-- Did you see where the government deported a Florida Marlin pitcher back to his native Dominican Republic because he had been playing under an assumed name?
Pitcher Leo Nunez’ real name, according to reports, is Juan Carlos Ovieo, and he’s actually a year older than the 28 he is shown to be on the Marlins’ roster.
The ironic thing about it is that it has taken the feds to make a move that the Marlins should have made a long time ago, which is to get Nunez out of the bullpen.
Yes, he had 36 “saves” this year, which is pretty good, but there is a “yeah, but” to that.
For those not all that into baseball stats, a “save” is when a pitcher comes into a close game in the late innings and shuts down the opposition, thus “saving” the game for the team that is ahead.

Yes, he had 36 “saves” this year, which is pretty good, but there is a “yeah, but” to that.

For those not all that into baseball stats, a “save” is when a pitcher comes into a close game in the late innings and shuts down the opposition, thus “saving” the game for the team that is ahead.

But there are two kinds of saves. There is the kind the Yankee’s Mariano Rivera gets when he comes into the ninth inning with a one-run lead and sets down the opposing batters 1-2-3.
And there is when the closer goes into the ninth with a three-run lead, gives up two runs, but gets the last out on a fly ball to deep right field. That’s the kind Nunez specialized in. 
-- There was another debate among Republican presidential candidates last night. I haven’t watched much of these put-up events for one main reason. My calendar says it is still 2011. The election is in 2012. Wake me when it matters.
But I did catch a few minutes of last night’s opening segment before I left my wife to go upstairs and catch more of the college football game (even at 44-14, Cincinnati-North Carolina State had to be more interesting).
They were probably four five questions into the debate before one of the candidates gave an answer that actually responded to the question. That candidate was Herman Cain.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Nissan rolled out the Murano back in the 2003 model year as its first entry in the emerging crossover vehicle (i.e., SUV-like body on a sedan platform) segment.
I kind of shrugged it off. Its butt was a bit too bulgy for my tastes, and the toothy grille reminded me of a chart I had once seen in my dentist’s office.
Apparently, not many agreed with me. I have seen a lot of the Murano on South Florida roads over the years, and a neighbor a couple of doors down has one in his driveway. Or had. He may have moved.
Nissan’s boldness with the Murano’s styling obviously has paid off.
Recently, I had the opportunity to drive one around for a week and found that the Murano is very easy to like.
Its interior had the ambiance of an entry-level luxury vehicle with obviously high quality materials used throughout the cabin and not just slapped together either but with attention to fit and finish.
You can operate some functions off the navigation screen or the knobs and buttons below it that operate the audio and climate systems. You’ll also find redundant audio controls mounted on the left side of the steering wheel. (Cruise control functions are the right).
You can operate at least the basic functions of all the technology, including the optional navigation system, without having to delve deep into the owner’s manual. That’s a big plus in my book right there.
The Murano fits into the midsize class and fares well when stacked up against its competitors as far as room and comfort. It is a five-passenger vehicle and offers no third-row seating to get capacity up to seven or even eight, but here’s the way I look at that.
Every vehicle that has third-row seating has to give up a lot in the way of rear storage space, so I’m not sure if you don’t lose more in that tradeoff in the long run than you gain.

If you need that third row and storage space as well, you probably should be looking into a minivan or one of the old full-size conversion vans, if you can find one of those on a used car lot.
What really sets the Murano apart, however, its its handling and driving characteristics.
It comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that is rated at 18 miles-per-gallon city and 23 highway while providing punch of up to 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. And it does so on regular fuel, not the premium stuff.
Nissan mates that engine with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). There are no little bumps as the transmission shifts from first to second, second to third, etc. because there are no first, second, third, fourth or fifth or sixth gears, per se. The CVT is constantly monitoring the proper gear ratio to send power to the front wheels. (All-wheel drive is also available on the Murano.)
Frankly, I’m not a real fan of the CVT, but then, I’m one who prefers to shift my own gears with a manual transmission and clutch, though I would accept an automatic in a crossover as long as I could manually select gears, too.
I have driven CVTs that have “false” shift points that allow you to simulate, say, holding the transmission in third gear, but that wasn’t the case with this Murano.
The Murano’s suspension provides a very comfortable ride for both driver and passengers, and drivers will appreciate the steering response.
As for the exterior, the 2011 Murano retains the distinctive styling of the original model. You aren’t going to confuse it with its competitors, like the Subaru Tribeca, Chevy Traverse, or Ford Edge, for example.
At the same time, it doesn’t seem quite as radical as it did went it first came out. Translation: The butt doesn’t seem as bulgy. I wonder if J. Lo knows about this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Unless you are a close, and I mean very close, follower of college football you’ve probably never heard of Marino Casem.
I met him back in the late 1970s when I took the job as sports editor of the Clarion-Ledge in Jackson, Mississippi. Casem was the football coach and athletic director at Alcorn State University, a tiny school tucked down in the southwest corner of Mississippi south of Natchez.
The school listed the small town of Lorman as its location, but the truth is, it was off in the woods somewhere off the main highway. It was one of those places you just didn’t pass through on your way to some place else. You had to hunt for it, and with the program Casem built, a lot of people, particularly NFL scouts, did.
I covered one football game there, and when I sat down, the guy sitting next to me was Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the New York Knick great guard.
He was there to watch Alcorn play Mississippi Valley State, another tiny predominantly black university also tucked away in a small town but farther north in the state, Itta Bena.
Mississippi Valley had a receiver named Jerry Rice playing for it that day. You may have heard of him. You can make the case he was the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.
After the game, which Valley won despite an “off” day by Rice (only nine catches), I went down to the sideline to talk with Marino. It remains the only interview I have ever done with a coach who was sipping on a can of beer at the time. (No, he didn’t offer me any.)
Any way, I was thinking of Marino the other day as news continued to break about college football programs leaving one conference for another. The ACC announced Sunday morning it was accepting Big East teams Pittsburgh and Syracuse as new members of the ACC.
Texas A&M apparently is on its way to the SEC, though frankly it’s hard to tell. As this is written, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State may be on their way to the Pac-12, joining teams like Southern California, Stanford, Cal, and Oregon. I’m sure they have a lot in common.
Who knows what else is coming.
The reason I was thinking of Marino is this. Back in the 1970s, he made this comment when asked about college football:
"In the East, college football is a cultural experience,” he said. “In the Midwest, it's cannibalism. On the West Coast, it’s a tourist attraction.
“And in the South, football is a religion, and Saturday is the holy day.”
Not any more. Before this season ends, they will have played games on every night of the week, and I’m not referring to bowl games but to regular season affairs, all for the sake of television dollars.
Here is what I would say today:
In the East, college football is all about money. In the Midwest, it’s all about money. On the West Coast, it’s all about money.
And in the South, college football is all about money, and Saturday (not to mention Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night) is the payday.
That is what is behind all of this. School presidents, who are moving to a more prominent spot on any list of hypocrites, may talk academics, but that’s a joke. You think the ACC Pittsburgh wanted to get into the ACC because of its chemistry labs?
The power brokers are casting aside what made college football what it is today -- the traditions, the regional rivalries, the geographic balance (TCU in the Big East?) -- for the sake of the television dollars, or what they hope will be the television dollars.
With the creation of so-called “super conferences” of up to 16 teams each, what they are headed for is NFL Jr., for which I have one word: Boring.
A little anarchy, which is what we have had in college football for years, can be a good thing. Debating the assets of the Big Ten (before the addition of Penn State and Nebraska) against those of the SEC or Pac-12 can be fun.
It adds spice to the game. Gone will be the day when a school like Boise State stuck up in Idaho can have an impact on the college scene. Super conferences aren’t going to let that happen.
There is one aspect to all this upheaval that nobody apparently is thinking of.
Again, back in the ’70s, every once in a while someone would make the observation that wouldn’t it be something if the college football powers like Ohio State and Michigan from the Big Ten, Alabama and Tennessee (this was before Florida’s rise) from the SEC, Penn State from the East, Texas from the Southwest, Nebraska and Oklahoma from the Big Eight, Southern California from the West Coast and Notre Dame from, um, Notre Dame would all join together and compete in the same conference.
To which Boyd McWhorter, who was SEC commissioner at the time, wryly noted: “Don’t those people realize that somebody is going to have to finish last in that super conference? How do you think they’re going to like that?”
Today, how is Oklahoma, say, going to like it when it gets nosed out of the Rose Bowl by Southern California when it could be playing in the Fiesta Bowl but can’t because no spot is available? Or Pittsburgh loses the opportunity to play in a BCS Bowl because it no longer can win the Big East, which had one of the six automatic berths in the top tier postseason games, but instead is an also-ran in the ACC?
What’s that you say?
We will have a real playoff, not bowls?
In other words, NFL Jr. Yuck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


You probably have heard by now that a fat guy is suing a restaurant because, he says, the booths in the place aren't big enough to accommodate his lard ass.
I saw it Monday on the Drudge Report. so it was on a lot of the cable networks on Tuesday.
That seems to be the way things work these days. Something shows up on on the Internet and then goes national on the networks, cable or otherwise.
Any way, I am thinking that this is another sign that we are approaching the Apocalypse and, in fact, if the court doesn’t throw this guy out on his butt (with help, of course) then we are already there.
Here are the details. A 64-year-old guy who lives in Nanuet, New York (surprisingly, not Florida or California) says he stopped by a White Castle, ordered his “favorite meal” -- two double hamburgers, fries, and a Coke -- and then went to sit down.
The chair he attempted to sit on was one of those that are fastened to the floor, and he wouldn’t fit between the table and the seat. He banged his knee, causing pain. Oh, the humanity.
This was two years ago, and when he complained then, he said he was told by the restaurant that changes would be made. When they weren’t, naturally he sued.
His case is being filed as a violation of the Americans’ With Disability Act, which illustrates another point. No matter what the intent of a law when it is passed, it can have all sorts of unintended consequences.
Tell me, do you think accommodating fat people going into a restaurant of their own choice was what they had in mind when they passed that act? Or was it, maybe, designed so that people in wheelchairs wouldn’t have to stand in the rain at bus stops or go a block out of their way to get around a curb?
I’m just guessing here, but I’m thinking it’s the latter.
Of course, now they’re even talking about making the ADA cover ugly people. Maybe you heard about that. It was in an op-ed in the New York Times (where else?) that a professor made the case that ugly people should be compensated under the ADA for, well, being ugly because his surveys show good-looking people make more money.
(Perhaps the New York Times has a vested interest in this. At the very least, the newspaper should be required under full disclosure to release what percentage of its reporters and editors are ugly. I know I never have confused newsrooms with backstage at a Miss America contest, if you get my drift.)
I’m thinking things can’t get more ridiculous, but I’m sure they will. In a way, I’m sort of regretting that I didn’t think of something like this back when I was growing up playing baseball. I had a disability that kept me out of the majors. I couldn’t throw a curve, and I think it was because I had broken my right wrist twice. I should have sued for a roster spot on the Cardinals.
Maybe all is not lost, however.
In that same report about the fat guy and White Castle (Could there maybe be a correlation there?), which appeared on myFox New York TV, another customer is asked his thoughts about the booth suit. 
“If you’re too fat to fit in a booth, you should stop eating burgers,” the guy in the drive-thru says. “It’s as simple as that.”
Imagine that. A nugget of common sense!

Friday, September 9, 2011

THOSE $@!*#)(%! IRISH!


Brian Kelly is the Notre Dame football coach. He has been catching some heat this week, and not just because his Irish lost their season opener to South Florida.
In cased you missed it -- though you had plenty of opportunities to catch parts of the game last Saturday because delays for lightning stretched the afternoon telecast into prime time -- Kelly was shown getting into his players’ faces as they came off to the sidelines. And yelling at them. And cursing at them.
Certainly they had given him plenty of reason to be upset with all the turnovers and mistakes they were making, errors that cost them the 23-20 setback even though they had come into the home ranked in the top 20 and were facing an unranked opponent.
Now some critics, among them a blogger for the National Catholic Register, are speculating as to whether Kelly went over the line.
The blogger, Matthew Archbold, wondered asked if perhaps Kelly shouldn’t be fired for his rants and ravings.
Wrote Archbold: “While what happened on the field was disappointing, I think what occurred on the sidelines was worse. A purple-faced Brian Kelly cursed and screamed at not only at his players (who are 18-23 years old), but he did it on national television for people of all ages to see. And let me tell you something, you didn’t need to be a lip reader to figure out what he was saying. By the look on my 11-year-old’s face, she figured it out pretty quick.”
Kelly didn’t really apologize a couple of days later, but he did tell USA Today he needed to do a better job of controlling his emotions.

Here’s the thing. There is a lot of this kind of thing that goes on during a game that many fans are not aware of. Even the most mild-manner of coaches often are guilty of such behavior.
I remember back in 1972 when I was covering my last game in Bloomington, Ind., before I went to the Courier-Journal in Louisville. I asked John Pont, then the Indiana coach, if I could spent that last game on the sideline in the bench area.
Pont was a real gentleman, perhaps because he had coached at Yale before he came to Indiana, but a gentleman nevertheless. I wouldn’t say he was a quiet guy or anything like that, but he was about as far from the Hoosiers basketball coach at the time, Bob Knight, as one could get.
Or so it had seemed.
Any way, Pont reached into his desk drawer. pulled out a sideline pass, and tossed it to me.
I was in.
There have been so many games my memory sometimes fades, but two things I recall about that game day, the last IU game I have seen in person, as it turns out.
-- Indiana won and won big, beating a Wisconsin team that featured one of the Big Ten’s best running backs, a little strong guy named Rufus Ferguson (and nicknamed Roadrunner).
-- Pont was an animal on the sidelines.
Both caught me completely by surprise.
The win because it was so unexpected, and rare, and Pont because he was such a gentleman away from the field.
But that day Pont probably was a red-faced at times as Kelly was last week, but since things were going well for the Hoosiers, Pont eventually could cool down.
But any player who had made a mistake pretty much was told about it in no uncertain fashion as he came off the field.
And everybody survived.
Of course, that was nearly 40 years ago, and times have changed. Coaches have had to change their ways because players have changed.
Imagine Bear Bryant today putting players through the kind of meat grinder preseason camp he did his first year at Texas A&M. (See the made-for-TV movie The Junction Boys.) The media would have roasted him and had Bear out of College Station and college football by mid-October. Or tried to.
By comparison, the Kelly’s rants are kind of tame.
Of course, there is the religious aspect to this, a point Archbold brought up.
“We can argue about how Catholic Notre Dame is,” he wrote, “but the fact is that Notre Dame is the most well-known Catholic institution. Screaming and cursing at young students like that just isn’t acceptable.”
To me, much depends on exactly how the cursing is worded. There is a difference between “you f*cked up” and “you’re a f*ckup” with a lot of adjectives throw in as well. Nothing personal to the former. Just business.
I have a suspicion, too, that at times I’ll bet even the legendary and sainted Knute Rockne had a few choice words when things went against the way he thought they should be. He didn’t call on The Gipper every time.
Sometimes “Please don’t fumble again” just doesn’t cut it.
Sometimes “tough love,” and tough words, are what is needed.
Back when I was first in the service I was having some problems (as I look back, I see I was being stupid) and went to my company officer expecting some sympathy and kind, understanding words.
What I got was a kick in the rear and told to get it in gear or I would be out of there.
I got it in gear.
I suspect, too, that the Irish players got Kelly’s point. And it is the players who hold the key here. If Kelly went to far, they will quit performing, and maybe others won’t show up at all in South Bend in the future.
If they get it in gear, Kelly’s tirade will be forgotten.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I’ve always looked at the IS as kind of the stepchild in the Lexus lineup since it was launched in 2000, and not just because that until the CT 200h Hatchback came along, the IS was the least expensive Lexus on the market.
Not by much, just a matter of a few thousand dollars under the starting mid-$30s price tag for the ES, but still the cheapest nonetheless.
That didn’t make it a bad car, just one that didn’t make you sit up and take notice like its competitors, the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
While peppier than its sibling ES, the IS lacked the zip of its Teutonic competitors, and at least in my book wasn’t even close to Infiniti's G sedan in either looks or performance.
But I’m not as adamant about that as I once was.
Six years ago, Lexus split the first generation IS, the IS 300, into the IS 250 and IS 350, putting a better performing V6 under the hood.

The 250 still wasn’t quite as powerful as its predecessor (or the 350 either), but it was slightly bigger and more refined than the first generation sedans. Soon it began collecting awards, among them was one from J.D. Power and Associates naming the IS 250/350 the “Most Appealing Entry Premium Car.”

In 2010 the Japanese automaker revised and expanded the IS even further, producing an all-new all-wheel-drive IS 350 and offering a new F Sport Package for IS 250/350 rear-wheel-drive models.
I recently had the opportunity to drive the 2011 IS 250 for a week, and maybe it was because I was just coming out of two weeks with a full-size sedan and then a large crossover vehicle, which may have distorted my perception, but I got a kick out of the performance the IS 250 offered.
This particularly IS 250 came with the F Sport Package, which basically meant it had the all the amenities of the IS F sports performance sedan but one: the F's 5.0-liter V8 engine that pumps out 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.
The IS 250's power plant is a 2.5-liter V6 rated at 204 hp and 185 lb.-ft. of torque, which means you're going to take about three seconds longer to get from zero-to-60 mph than the 4.8 seconds the IS F requires.
With the F package, though, you get microfiber inserts (they’re like suede) in the seats to add to the cabin’s ambiance and 19-inch wheels to ride on, and there also are upgrades to the braking and suspension systems to enhance the driving performance.
As I said, you get just about everything but the power of the F’s engine, but if you work the accelerator right on the 250 you aren't going to feel deprived.
There are steering wheel-mounted  paddle shifters so you can select whatever gear you want with the six-speed automatic transmission.
Frankly, I usually don’t fool with them unless for some reason, like accelerating to merge into and expressway, I want to stay in a lower gear to keep the revs higher to have more torque available. (Sometimes I’m just showing off.)
Like all Lexus models the IS 250 runs on premium fuel. Interestingly, there’s not a big difference in mileage ratings in the 250 and the 350. The 250 checks in at 21 mpg city, 30 highway, and 24 combined with the automatic gearbox to the 20/27/22 for the 350.

But the 350 sedan nearly touches the $40,000 mark, about $6,000 more than the 250.
You make the call.
Oh, yeah. There are also convertible versions of both the IS 250 and the IS 350. That’s where the fun really starts.