The IS sedan is Lexus' latest attempt to field a sporty four-door that rivals BMW's well-regarded 3 Series. The IS 350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 that whips up a robust 306 horsepower. Competitors include the BMW 335i, Infiniti G35 and Mercedes-Benz C350; the entry-level IS 250 plays against some of those cars' less-powerful siblings.
Lexus also offers an IS 250 and an IS-F, powered by a 2.5-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8, respectively. Both are covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
New for 2009
Lexus dives into the suspension and steering systems for the 2009 IS 350 and tunes both for improved vehicle stability and control.
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 GS series of sport sedans. A long wheelbase and wide stance help give the IS 350 a muscular appearance. The IS 350 ranks as a compact car. An optional X Package includes a sport suspension, sport pedals and a front lip spoiler. It also swaps the standard 17-inch wheels for 18-inchers.
- 17-inch wheels
- Available high-intensity discharge headlights
- Available rain-sensing wipers
- Available 18-inch wheels
- 107.5-inch wheelbase
- 180.1 inches long overall
- 56.1 inches high
Up to five occupants fit inside the IS 350. Bright electroluminescent instruments light up the dashboard. Metallic trim is standard, and maple trim is available.
- 10-way power front seats
- Dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents
- Power moonroof
- Manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel (powered version available)
- 13-speaker sound system includes an auxiliary input for portable music players
- Available ventilated front seats
- Available dynamic radar cruise control
- Available navigation system that incorporates a backup camera
Under the Hood
The IS 350 is only available with rear-wheel drive, unlike its IS 250 sibling, which has available all-wheel drive. High-tech features include Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which combines the electronic stability system with a host of other dynamic controls for an all-encompassing — or all-encroaching, depending on how you see it — path to safety.
- 306-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 277 pounds-feet of torque
- A six-speed automatic transmission
- Larger brakes than IS 250
The VDIM 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.
- Electronic stability system
- Knee airbags for both front occupants and a new twin-chamber front-passenger airbag are standard
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags for both rows
- Available adaptive headlights swivel in correlation with the steering wheel to shed light around curvy roads
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