Lexus redesigned the IS sedan for the 2006 model year and now offers it in two distinct forms: as the IS 250, equipped with a 2.5-liter V-6; and as the IS 350, powered by a 3.5-liter V-6. The IS 350 is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section. Since the model is still fairly new, it receives only a few tweaks for 2007. A few new paint colors and a sport appearance package are the highlights.
The IS 250 that was redesigned for 2006 was larger than the previous model in every dimension. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the IS 250, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The automatic's steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters give the driver extra involvement when desired.
The sedan has standard Vehicle Stability Control. Two front knee airbags and a twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are installed. A standard Smart Access keyless entry system features a push-button engine starter.
For 2007, Lexus offers an X Package for rear-drive 250s. It includes a sport suspension, sport pedals, a front lip spoiler and 18-inch wheels. Starfire Pearl, Obsidian, Gold Almond Metallic and Sapphire paint options are new, and the trunk and fuel-door openers are illuminated.
Lexus' recent LF-series concept cars influenced the IS 250's styling. The company says the latest IS bears a strong family resemblance to its larger, redesigned 2006 GS series of sport sedans. A long wheelbase and wide stance help give the IS 250 a muscular look.
Standard wheels hold 17-inch tires, but 18-inch tires are optional. Built on a 107.5-inch wheelbase, the IS 250 is 180.1 inches long overall and 56.1 inches high. Despite its increased dimensions, the IS 250 still ranks as a compact car. Adaptive headlights are available.
Up to five occupants can fit inside the IS 250. Bright Optitron instruments light up the dashboard. Metallic trim is standard, and maple trim is available. A 13-speaker sound system includes compatibility with Apple iPods and other MP3 players.
Options include ventilated front seats, dynamic radar cruise control, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a navigation system that incorporates a backup camera that can help with parking chores.
Under the Hood
The IS 250's 2.5-liter V-6 develops more than 200 horsepower and more than 180 pounds-feet of torque. When equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission, the automaker says the sedan can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in the high 7-second range. A new six-speed automatic transmission is optional for the rear-drive IS 250 and standard for the all-wheel-drive model.
Antilock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system, knee airbags for both front occupants and a new twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are standard.