2009 IS 350 New Car Test Drive
Lexus IS sedans and convertibles are quick, stylish rear-wheel-drive cars that combine sharp handling with luxury performance features. Trim, sleek and relatively light, they offer paddle-shift transmissions, good brakes and, in the IS 350, 0-60 acceleration as quick as 5.6 seconds. They are designed to offer comparable style and performance features as the BMW 3 Series cars and Mercedes CLK 350, but at a lower price.
The Lexus IS models come in sedan and hardtop convertible versions and with a choice of engines ranging from sensible to sporty to raceworthy.
For 2009, a new rear suspension has been employed for all models, and the steering has been retuned for improved steering feel and control. In addition, advanced dynamic handling technology formerly only offered on the Lexus IS 350 is now standard across the line. Significant styling revisions, inside and out, keep the IS sedans in tune with the sensibilities of the more sophisticated urban buyer.
A broad range of engines, transmissions and drive systems are available in the IS line. The 306-horsepower IS 350 is the performance leader of the group, but the entry-level IS 250 offers all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and class-leading fuel mileage. For the most involved driver, there is the captivating IS F, which boasts a top speed of 168 mph and is powered by a 416-hp 5.0-liter V8. The IS F can compete with the BMW M3.
Convertible versions, called the IS C, are in the showroom. The 2010 Lexus IS 250 C and IS 350 C are true convertibles, converting from top-down roadster to hardtop coupe with the press of a button.
The Lexus IS sedan is comfortable for two and can seat five, but it's not a family car like the Lexus ES 300. The back seat is not commodious, with rear legroom at a premium, though there is a car seat anchor for the little ones.
Styling revisions for 2009 include subtle changes to the grille and front bumper, and the rear bumper and taillight clusters. There are new interior color schemes and wheel designs, and turn signals are now integrated into the side-view mirrors.
The 2009 Lexus IS models come standard with leather upholstery; dual-zone climate control; SmartAccess keyless entry with pushbutton engine start; and a satellite-ready 194-watt, 13-speaker stereo with 6CD changer and MP3 auxiliary audio input jack.
The IS 250 is equipped with a 2.5-liter V6 engine and comes standard with a six-speed manual gearbox ($31,305) or six-speed automatic transmission ($32,475).
The IS 250 AWD ($34,935) features all-wheel drive and comes standard with the automatic transmission. The AWD model also gets special perforated leather upholstery and Bird's eye maple trim.
The IS 350 ($35,705) comes with a 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic. More sophisticated braking and electronic stability systems augment its additional performance.
The 2010 IS C is a hardtop convertible that comes in IS 250 C ($38,489) and IS 350 C ($43,940) versions.
The IS F ($56,760) features a high-performance V8 engine, eight-speed transmission, speed-rated tires, and a sports suspension.