2012 IS 350 New Car Test Drive
The Lexus IS lineup of sports sedans, coupes and convertibles expands for 2011 with more performance and more all-wheel drive availability. The Lexus IS models, available in three body styles, are designed to offer style and performance comparable to that of the BMW 3 Series but at lower prices.
2011 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 are available with a new F Sport Package. The 2011 Lexus IS 350 now offers all-wheel drive, which continues to be available for the IS 250. And Lexus IS sedans get subtle styling revisions for 2011. The F-Sport Package ($2,440) for IS 250 RWD and IS 350 RWD includes the F-Sport suspension, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates, special 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40R18 tires (summer or all-season), front and rear spoilers, sport grille, sport steering wheel and shift knob, sport seat with microfiber inserts, heated front seats.
The Lexus IS models are built on a rear-wheel-drive platform, the correct choice for sporty handling. Trim, sleek and relatively light, these cars offer paddle-shift transmissions, good brakes and strong acceleration performance. Boasting 306 horsepower, the Lexus IS 350 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
The IS F is a special high-performance coupe powered by a 416-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, allowing it to compete with the BMW M3. Boasting a top speed of 170 mph, the IS F is fast by any measure. The 2011 Lexus IS F benefits from suspension changes.
The IS 250 and IS 350 come in sedan and convertible versions. The sedan is comfortable for two and can seat five, but it is not a family car like the Lexus ES 350. The back seat is not commodious, with rear legroom at a premium, though there is a car seat anchor for the little one.
The Lexus IS 250 C and IS 350 C are true convertibles, converting from hardtop coupe to top-down roadster with the press of a button. With the top up, they look like coupes. With the top down, they look like convertibles.
For 2011, new HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps are standard on the IS 350 and optional on the IS 250. In addition, a new front grille and bumper highlight the 2011 Lexus IS sedans, while at the rear, there's a new taillamp cover and revised tailpipe design. The IS models also feature new standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch wheels.
The new F Sport Package for 2011 IS 250 and IS 350 rear-wheel-drive models uses the new suspension tuning of the IS F, and 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark super-chrome finish. The F Sport package includes a front lip spoiler and rear deck spoiler, a matching dark chrome front grille insert, F Sport badging, and the addition of Ultrasonic Blue Mica to the exterior colors. For the interior, unique front seats feature a special microfiber insert and leather side bolsters to provide grip for the driver and passenger during cornering, and F Sport badging to the steering wheel.
All 2011 Lexus models have a standard new brake override system that automatically reduces power when the gas and brake pedals are applied at the same time.
2011 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 comes with a 2.5-liter V6 engine and a 6-speed manual gearbox ($32,145) or 6-speed automatic ($33,315). The IS 250 AWD ($35,775) 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 ($38,570) comes with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic. More sophisticated braking and electronic stability systems augment its additional performance. The 2011 IS 350 AWD ($41,030) adds all-wheel drive.
The F-Sport Package ($2,440) for IS 250 RWD and IS 350 RWD includes the F-Sport suspension, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates, special 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40R18 tires (summer or all-season), front and rear spoilers, sport grille, sport steering wheel and shift knob, sport seat with microfiber inserts, heated front seats.
The IS 250 C and IS 350 C are two-door models that feature a convertible hardtop, The IS 250 C is available with 6-speed manual ($39,890) or 6-speed automatic. The IS 350 C is also available with a choice of manual ($41,060) or automatic ($45,340).
The 2011 IS 350C F Sport Special Edition ($55,120) comes loaded with everything. Only 175 of them will be built. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
The IS F ($59,010) is a special high-performance coupe featuring a powerful V8 engine, 8-speed transmission, speed-rated tires, and sports suspension.