Lexus IS350 Origins
Lexus introduced the IS350 in 2006, and it continues to be something of a Lexus staple. This car has great handle reflexes and some serious V-6 power to go along with aggressive lines and sport sedan styling that broadcasts its intentions as an athletic performance vehicle. Throughout the history of the IS350, Lexus has not once waivered from the stated goal of making an entry-level luxury sedan that emphasizes performance above all else.
This Lexus sedan is a beefier version of the IS250 and comes in a few variations. The IS-F boasts even more performance while the IS350C is the hardtop convertible version. These cars in the IS series compete in class with the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. That’s a tall order for a vehicle that is basically a Toyota with fancier seats and a wood-grain trim. The BMW and Mercedes models bring to the table a greater brand name value and a longer history of high-end vehicle production.
The IS series shows little change throughout its production run thus far. On the one hand, ""If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,"" on the other hand, time has caught up with the IS series as its competition has switched to newer, more efficient, and high-performing turbo charged four-cylinder engines for similar products in the entry-level luxury performance sedan class.
The IS350 replaces the IS300, a sedan and wagon model made from 2000 to 2005. The IS300 is inferior to the IS350, but still offers an affordable used luxury car option.About the Lexus IS350
This Lexus sedan is all about the performance. Over 300 horsepower from a V-6 with impressive handling characteristics marks the IS350 as more performance than luxury. There are some things missing, which consumers can expect at this price. Some offer minor complaints about the steering and its inability to let the driver feel the road. The interior can be a little cramped in the back. But small issues aside, this vehicle delivers a respectable performance, especially for an entry-level prospect.
Other factors that contribute to the IS350’s reputation include a surprising amount of features for a performance-oriented car. Available in a base package with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD), this Lexus sedan comes loaded with 17-inch wheels, leather seats, xenon headlights, power front seats, a sunroof, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and a 13-speaker sound system. To the base package, buyers can add options such as a voice-activated navigation system; adaptive headlights; heated and ventilated seats; a Mark Levinson, 14-speaker surround sound system; 18-inch alloy wheels; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and a backup camera with front and rear parking sensors. For real performance enthusiasts there’s the F Sport package that includes a sport-tuned suspension and sport seats.
Lexus IS350 Features
The 2012 Lexus IS350 continues to use the 306 hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 277 lb-ft of torque coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. It employs larger brakes than the IS250 to stop all that power. The convertible has rear-wheel drive only, but the base and F models continue to offer four-wheel drive as an option.
This model year boasts Lexus' Safety Connect service, which automatically notifies authorities in the event of a crash. It’s a standard feature but requires a fee for use after an initial first year on Lexus. Other standard safety features include all-disc anti-lock brakes; an electronic stability system; Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management, a feature meant to integrate all systems to anticipate skids and react faster than an electronic stability system alone; knee airbags for front row occupants; side-impact airbags for the front seats; and side curtain airbags for both rows.Lexus IS 350 Evolution
As mentioned earlier, the competition in this vehicle’s class is being updated with cutting-edge design revisions and additions while the IS350 remains largely unchanged since its debut in 2006. Without a major revision or change, Lexus has made only minor alterations to the appearance, and it upgraded the interior technology in 2010, adding a new iPod interface, enhanced Bluetooth, and a hard-drive-based navigation system. Most notable is that all 2006 to 2010 IS350s offer rear-wheel drive only.