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So I drove an IS300 today. There are lots of other postings of driving experiences, so I won't cover everything.

The car is very refined and composed. It is easy to drive and didn't seem to have any noticable vices in the handling department.

I had a salesperson in the car, so I didn't push it that hard, but a few fast corners and quick lane changes felt very controlled.

The car does feel (to me) like there is a bit more emphasis on luxury (and less on sport) than I expected. It was very quiet and smooth (Lexus like) but a tad less fun than I was hoping. Cars like the MR2, Rx7 and Boxster are all noticably more fun to drive. Not to say that it is not a fun car... just a bit less than I expected.

The driving position was excellent. The seats felt great, and all the controls seemed well placed.

I played around with the e-Shift and was a bit disappointed. It is not that there was something wrong with the e-Shift, rather it just doesn't have the sportiness of a manual transmission. I came to the conclusion that I would be far more inclined to leave the car in automatic mode than I would to try and use e-Shift to control the gear selection.

I hate to say it, but I think I am ready for a car that pampers me a bit (at the expense of some removal from the driving experience), so I am still fully inclined to get this car.
I would not compare the driving experience to an Integra Type R, S2000 or other "raw" sports cars.

Positives:
* The door closing sound is wonderful. Not like a heavy bank "vault" door. Not like a cheap econobox. More just a magical click which sounds like all the latches line up with a precision that I have not experienced before in a car.
* The autotrans shifts so smoothly that you can almost think that there is no shifting at all. Just imagine a one speed car with a huge torque band.
* The engine is quiet but has a hint of a wonderful noise going on. What little you do hear sounds great.

Negatives:
* The engine is so quiet that it is hard to listen for shift points. I am used to shifting without having to read the tach, but I found that I couldn't do this with the IS300 in e-Shift "M" mode. Another reason why I will probably stay in full-auto most of the time.
* The center arm rest is way too low for my elbow to hit, so I find that my right arm is left dangling in space. This is very annoying and I will have to find some way (aftermarket riser, pillow, ?) to address this.
* There was quite alot of tire noise in the car on the freeway. I am hoping that the Goodyear Eagle GS-D tires (which seem to be showing up on alot of IS300s) have less tire noise than the Bridgestone Potenza RE040s which were on the car I test drove.
 
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