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Good Performance Mods for 250

Good Performance Mods for IS250

When the 250 launched globally in 2005, the V6 engine it delivered allowed drivers who wanted more luxury in their lives to have some speed simultaneously.

The 250 would serve the need of executives for a decade, producing several styles that made it fun to hit the road.

Even if you’re just commuting to work, the horsepower coming from the stock setup could put your back into that comfortable seat with a decent jolt.

Some cars don’t age well, but the 250 has continued to be a popular Lexus model. Whether you have an AWD or RWD model, the performance mods that can get added to your setup can maximize the fun you have when getting behind the wheel.

Good Performance Mods for IS250

The Lexus IS250 is an iconic entry-level executive sedan. It delivers sophistication and refinement by offering an excellent combination of form and function through its handling prowess. Drivers can get even more out of this design by incorporating personalized performance mods.

The running joke on the Lexus forums is that if you have a 250 and want to make it faster, the best way is to take it to the dealership, apologize for purchasing the wrong vehicle, and buy a 350 instead.

There’s some logic behind that joke. When you compare the 350 with the 250, you’ll get 50% more horsepower under the hood while cutting your fuel economy by only 10%. The retail price for the 350 in 2007 was also just 10% more than that of the 250.

A lot can change in 10+ years, especially since the 250 is no longer in production. If you love this entry-level executive sedan and want to increase its capabilities, you have a few options to consider.

If you love the 250 and want to make it better, a few upgrades are worth considering. Here’s a look at a few of the options you could consider for your Lexus.

What Are the Best Performance Mods for a 250?

The Lexus 250 was available from 2005-2015. Three options were available during that time: the IS 250, the IS 250 AWD, and the IS 250 C.

All three vehicles use a 2.5L V6 engine with a six-speed transmission. The IS 250 comes with a manual option, while the AWD is an automatic.

When the third generation of the IS vehicles came out in 2014, the 250 became an RWD design, although an AWD alternative was still available. It was dropped in September 2015 in favor of the IS 200t.

If you’ve got a 250 that you want to modify for some extra speed, here are the options you’ll want to consider.

1. Forced Induction Improvements

The primary performance mod that radically changes an engine’s power output is a supercharger or a turbocharger. You can transform your 250 from an entry-level executive sedan into a street racer with this one investment.

It’s possible to add 200 HP or more to your setup with this one modification.

Turbos and supers take a different approach, so it helps to look at each one before deciding the one to use.

  • Turbocharger. This option uses exhaust gases to spin a turbine. That action causes a compressor to turn, forcing air into the engine at a high velocity and increasing pressure. The air ignites with increased fuel, generating more horsepower. You can add intercoolers, downpipes, up pipes, and other mods to an existing turbo for more power.
  • Supercharger. When you use this option, it works like a turbo, but uses a belt-driven compression. You don’t get turbo lag because the boost builds early. It can replace or get built into the existing intake manifold.

The pricing for turbochargers and superchargers is relatively similar. The turbo is slightly superior because it doesn’t have a belt to manage.

2. Nitrous

When you want a boost of horsepower for your 250 right now, but it doesn’t need to be permanent, this performance mod makes sense to use. Nitrous oxide is stable when kept at a normal temperature. After it starts breaking down, it produces a significant boost of oxygen while creating a cooling effect on the airflow.

Most nitrous kits are universal, but it might take a few extra components to plumb it into your existing 250 setup.

Most nitrous boosts deliver about 50 to 100 HP whenever you need some extra speed. Although it is legal to install, most states ban their use on roadways.

The Nitrous Express kit is an excellent option to consider. It gives you the basics you need for a big boost while maximizing the horsepower you get in return.

3. Performance Camshaft

Another name for this mod is a “bump stick.” Once installed, it looks like a metal stick that bumps down its circumference.

The bumps are camshaft lobes that dictate when air gets in or out of the combustion chamber. You receive more precision with the opening and closing process for the intake and exhaust valves.

Even a minor change with the camshaft can deliver 10% more horsepower to the 250. If you match this change with intake and exhaust mods, you can get more than 100 HP added to the mix.

If you used to have decent horsepower with your 250 and that disappeared, there could be an issue with the sensor.

The Denso 196-1001 Camshaft Sensor could produce better results without needing a core charge.

4. Cold Air Intake

When your 250’s engine gets more air, that means it can produce extra horsepower. That’s why performance air filters exist. By improving the flow rate to the engine, you have a simple way to generate more power.

Air filters can only do some of the work by themselves. Swapping the factory intake for a performance model can deliver some impressive results.

The 250’s bay gets hot when you drive. A cold air intake pulls colder, denser outside air into the engine. Some designs removed bends or improved the tube diameter to maximize the results.

When denser air reaches the engine at a higher velocity, you can easily see 10 HP or more come from the upgrade without needing a tune-up.

The Injen Technology Polished Mega Ram intake system creates this result for the 250. It uses TIG-welded hardware to ensure you receive a durable experience upon installation.

The manufacturer uses aerospace-quality aluminum in its construction while maintaining the factory air-fuel ratio.

The intake system comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

5. Full Exhaust

You could expand the diameter of your exhaust tips, but that investment won’t deliver improved performance results.

When you want to see a real power increase and sound improvements when operating, this mod is a great option to consider.

A full exhaust improvement goes from the headers to the back.

Long tube headers usually work better than shorter ones, especially when you get rid of different bends in the system.

You might need to lift the 250 to install some systems, but the result can be a massive increase in horsepower.

The MagnaFlow 16764 is a stainless steel performance kit that takes the 250’s capabilities to another level.

Although it doesn’t fit the convertible model, it will create a superior driving experience for all others while delivering a better sound.

The manufacturer uses CNC robotic manufacturing and premium components to ensure you get the outcome you want. It uses a straightforward bolt-on installation.

Some exhaust modifications won’t meet the emissions standards for some states. You’ll need to consider local restrictions before deciding on what mods make the most sense for your situation.

6. Improved Fuel Pump

When I was growing up, the biggest and baddest mod in the entire automotive industry was to put a Corvette fuel pump into a Camaro.

It took a few hours in your garage to do, but it made that muscle car improve its fuel economy while delivering some extra speed.

ECUs and fuel systems have come a long way since then, especially for the 250. You can adjust fuel trim levels in the software to match improved airflows, but some serious changes might be necessary with extensive mods.

It might make sense to install a high-flow fuel pump to ensure your engine isn’t starved of fuel with the increased performance you’re asking for it.

The GSS342 high-flow electric in-take fuel pump isn’t going to rock your world with the performance increase it offers, but it can provide a nice little boost to enjoy.

Since the 250 will need this upgrade at some point as it ages, it’s worth putting it on when you’ve got the car up for other modifications.

7. Get It Tuned

When you’ve done any modifications to your Lexus IS250, it’s time to give your vehicle a tune-up to maximize its power.

The ECU controls the engine functions by taking readings from each sensor to calculate the most efficient burn.

If you’ve changed your cam or headers, it won’t always see the updates. That means you’ll need to do some programming.

The fastest way to do this update is to pry open the ECU’s case, remove the engine chip, and put in a new one for older vehicles. You can re-tune the 250 by using an OBD-II scanner and your diagnostic port.

After connecting the tuner, set your modifications and select what you want. It’ll take a few minutes for the ECU reprogramming to occur. Once it’s finished, you can get behind the wheel and drive away.

Should I Make Performance Mods to My 250?

Modifying a Lexus IS250 is a great way to combine luxury and performance in one package. This reliable vehicle offers a comfortable ride that comes with fantastic power when you streamline your setup.

When I went to mod my vehicle, I decided that the exhaust system was the first place to start. It seemed logical since the car I’d inherited had a bit of rust underneath.

Getting the initial exhaust system off turned out to be a headache. Nearly all the bolts were corroded to the point where they would snap off. I needed to drill out all but one of them, and my kit didn’t include new ones.

That meant I had to source them from my local dealer because the auto parts shop didn’t have them – and this was long enough ago that e-commerce wasn’t really reliable yet.

Once I got those bolts on and the new exhaust in place, my car purred like a million bucks. It was so much fun to drive around the city, especially when I floored it out of a red light.

These performance mods make sense for the 250 because each serves a different need. Think about what you want to accomplish, then create a plan that achieves those goals.


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