The redesigned 2006 IS series of performance sedans debuted at the 2005 New York auto show. 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 350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 that whips up more than 300 horsepower. Lexus also offers an IS 250, which is powered by a 2.5-liter V-6 and is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The automatic's steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters give the driver extra involvement when desired.
A Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management stability system is standard. 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 the 350. 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' LF-series concept cars influenced the IS 350's styling. The automaker says the latest IS bears a strong resemblance to its larger, redesigned 2006 GS series of sport sedans. A long wheelbase and wide stance help give the IS 350 a muscular appearance.
Standard wheels hold 17-inch tires, but 18-inch tires are optional. Built on a 107.5-inch wheelbase, the IS 350 measures 180.1 inches long overall and 56.1 inches tall. Despite these dimensions, the IS 350 still ranks as a compact car. Adaptive headlights are available.
Five occupants can fit inside the IS 350. 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 when parking.
Under the Hood
The IS 350's 3.5-liter V-6 cranks out more than 300 hp and more than 275 pounds-feet of torque. A new six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Antilock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system, knee airbags for both front occupants and a new twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are standard. The VDIM stability system is designed to let drivers push the car toward its handling limits, but it discreetly applies braking, throttle and steering control as needed to avoid loss of control.