The Car Connection Lexus IS 350 Overview
Sporting a 3.5-liter V-6 that gives it its name, the IS 350 was positioned as the sporty/premium model in the standard IS range, flanked by the IS 250, which had a smaller 2.5-liter V-6, and the IS F, which used a potent 5.0-liter V-8 in addition to many other performance upgrades.
The IS 350's performance, while not quite on par with the likes of the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class it aspired to compete with, was nonetheless quite good. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine generated a stout 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard equipment, offering steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
On the luxury end of the IS 350's spec sheet, a Mark Levinson audio system with 14 speakers, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, navigation, 10-way power seats, dynamic radar cruise control, and rear park assist were among the many available features on the first IS 350.
A near-complete redesign of the IS 350 (along with the rest of the IS line) came along for the 2014 model year, keeping the same basic engine as before, still rated at 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. But wrapped around that engine is an all-new body with a much more dramatic exterior and a higher-quality, more attractive interior. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is available on rear-wheel-drive standard IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport-package models, while the all-wheel-drive IS 350 and F Sport continue with a six-speed automatic.
The F Sport package on the IS 350 wakes up its performance side, with a firmer chassis setup thanks to an innovative yet cost-saving adaptive suspension system and stiffer anti-roll bars, a lower seating position, and sharpened electronic responses to driver inputs. A Drive Mode Select system allows the driver to tweak the car's responses on the fly by selecting a more track-suited mode called Sport S+.
As with the previous IS 350, the newest model is available with a host of features even beyond the F Sport's performance-themed upgrades. For those with a greater interest in comfort and entertainment, the newest IS 350 offers good cabin space and plenty of modern electronics, including navigation, a new Mark Levinson sound system, Lexus Enform telematics and app suite, natural language voice-command abilities, Bluetooth 3.0, and much more.
For the full details on the latest Lexus IS 350, visit our review of the complete 2014 Lexus IS lineup.