The Lexus IS350 is sort of the middle child of the IS line, with more to offer than the more affordably priced IS250, but not quite the breeding of the IS F. To fulfill its duties in that slot, the 2012 IS350 tries to be the best at what it is: a stylish, sporty, entry-level luxury sedan. In this role, it actually performs quite nicely. While it’s not quite as quick and powerful as some of the serious entry-level sports sedans out there, it can definitely hold its own, and it does so in a stylish, luxurious way that serious, but fun-loving, drivers will definitely be able to appreciate. The 2012 IS350 comes in only one trim, but is available in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive.
New For 2012
The IS350 brings no new tricks to the 2012 model, but it does carry over the changes from 2011, which include:
- All-wheel drive option
- Updated styling
- Appealing options package
The exterior of the 2012 Lexus IS350 is designed to convey luxury and style, with swept back headlamps, an aggressive front grille, sleek lines, a wide stance, and prominent chrome exhaust finishers. The Lexus IS350’s body is not only a head-turner, but fiercely aerodynamic to reduce wind noise, improve the quality of your ride, and provide optimal fuel economy. The Lexus IS350 features remote keyless entry, parking assist, LED brake lights, and available bi-xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps with auto-leveling to keep the headlamps properly oriented. Available colors include Deep Sea Mica, Obsidian, Matador Red Mica and Nebula Gray Pearl. On the 2012 Lexus IS350, you’ll find 17-inch alloy wheels and a remote operated power glass sunroof. Options include upgraded wheels, a rear spoiler, and a door edge guard.
Interior & Cargo
The interior of the 2012 Lexus IS350 continues the theme of style and luxury found in the exterior, with eight-way power leather bucket front seats with power lumbar support (multi-level heating for the driver), along with dual zone climate controls and leather and simulated alloy trim everywhere, including the center console, doors, and shift knob. It also includes a leather tilt/telescoping steering wheel with cruise and audio controls on the wheel. You’ll find power door locks, power heated mirrors, and speed-proportional power steering as well. The IS350 offers a voice activated navigation system and Bluetooth compatibility, along with a USB port, SiriusXM Satellite radio, CD player with MP3 playback and 13 speakers. You actually have a much wider range of interior colors to choose from than you would normally expect, including everything from Black to Ecru to Light Gray. Cargo capacity in the 2012 Lexus IS350 is an ample 13.3 cubic feet. That being said, the IS350 may not be quite as comfortable for rear seat passengers, with only 36.7 inches of rear head room and 30.6 inches of rear leg room. That’ll work fine if your kids are still young; after then, it could become a minor issue.
In addition to the automatic leveling headlights, parking assist, and high intensity headlights with LED taillights, you’ll find a fairly wide array of comforting safety features on the 2012 Lexus IS350, what Lexus refers to as their ""360 degrees of safety."" The IS350 has a full array of airbags, including front and rear and dual front side-mounted, along with a four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System with emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. The vehicle features stability and traction control to keep you on course on twisting roads and in tough conditions. You’ll also find an alarm system and engine immobilizer for theft protection, child seat anchors and rear child safety locks for family drives, and front and rear ventilated disc brakes.
Performance is definitely a plus on the Lexus IS350, especially if you go with all-wheel drive and the F Sport package, featuring a sport-tuned suspension, front and rear spoilers, and 18-inch F Sport wheels. You get a healthy 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque out of the 3.5-liter, V-6 engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel shift paddles. That engine will take you from zero to 60 mph in a little over 5.5 seconds. Fuel economy is not the biggest selling point of the Lexus IS350, recording 19/27 mpg city/highway for the rear-wheel-drive model and 18/26 mpg city/highway with the all-wheel drive option. While some drivers may lament the lack of control related to the failure to provide a manual transmission option, most drivers looking for a reliable entry sedan with an emphasis on style and luxury will appreciate the performance, handling, and power of the 2012 Lexus IS350.
Key Competitors For The 2012 Lexus IS350
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- BMW 335
- Infiniti G37