2006 Lexus IS 250/IS 350 by TCC Team
The meaning of "IS" is...what?
2004 BMW 330i by Marc K. Stengel
A new Performance Package endows BMW's 330i sedan with a distinctly sporty personality.
was a bumper year for Lexus, having sold 303,000 vehicles in the
In an attempt to rectify this situation, Lexus has designed the new IS as much with Europe in mind as North America, which is why there’s a manual 2.5-liter V-6, a 2.2-liter turbodiesel (the first ever diesel Lexus, in fact) and paddle shifters on the range-topping version, as well as the promise of sportier handling and better performance than ever before.
To see how successful they’ve
been, we got our hands on a brand new Lexus IS350 to put it up against its
Lexus’ designers have eschewed trendy “flame surfacing” in favor of clean, crisp metalwork, thereby dodging the kind of backlash BMW has endured, but that didn’t stop them peeking at the 3-Series for inspiration. The shape of the hood; relationship between grille, lights, and fenders; even the kink in the rear quarter-light all have BMW undertones, though melded inoffensively into the IS’ rather ambiguous overall shape. The IS does have a strong stance and broad shoulders, however, and the standard 17-inch wheels also fill out the wheel wells better than the BMW’s, but compared to the first IS, which still looks good to this day, the new car’s styling isn’t going to have many heads turning for a second glance. Lexus should have modeled the IS after the more imposing GS and worried less about what BMW was up to, I think. Case in point, look at the back of the IS: Free from BMW influence, the rear end is taught, aggressive, and so perky you want to wrap it in spandex and make it do lunges. More originality from Lexus’s stylists, please, because when left to their own devices they clearly possess the skills.