Just Car Blog
|2014 Lexus IS 350 Review & Test Drive||
At the entry level of luxury Lexus continues their pursuit to satisfy with their all-new redesigned Lexus IS. The new Lexus IS beckons to target its German competition standing at is best position yet with a redesign bringing to the forefront all of the expected traits with a few additional surprises.
The all-new 2014 Lexus IS in its larger V6 form continues its naming with the 350 numbering signifying its 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is a carryover from the previous generation. The choice of the same V6 is not a bad thing considering it pumps out a healthy 306 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 277 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The carry-over V6 engine gets mated to an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, the only choice for a rear-wheel-drive IS 350. All-wheel-drive models default to the older 6-speed automatic unit. The new 8-speed transmission proves to be economically adaptive or sporty dependent on your driving style and which drive mode you have selected. During every-day commuting it is apparent that the 8-speed automatic is the better choice and puts power down through the rear-wheels in a more efficient manor than the outgoing 6-speed auto box.
The driving character of the all-new 2014 Lexus IS 350 gets a full revamp placing the driver in a position to really chase down its German counterparts in its newfound handling dynamics and ride quality. The new Lexus IS 350, even though it can be had with the additional sports-appeal of the F Sport package -stiffening the suspension and adding larger wheels, still manages to brush up on Lexus’ new approach to become highly sought after by enthusiasts. As a driver’s vehicle, if those enthusiast-oriented traits were ever hidden in older variations of the Lexus IS, now reveals itself in manageable doses. Those manageable doses, however, are still smaller than offered on the cherished ultimate driving machines, the three-pointed star wearing vehicles and 4-ring-emblemed contenders.
Having retained much of its luxury roots not to over-thrill its driver, the new Lexus IS 350 is still a quality item in the form of unsurpassed fit and finish inside and out. The new assertive styling of the 2014 IS 350 does undoubtedly shout the new Lexus design language in loud bursts, taken by some as a timeless design off of the heels of the screaming LF-A supercar. As far as its bold styling approach working for newfound consumers and those steeping out of their German car lease, only time will tell for its acceptance. So far, among fanboys, the new Lexus IS has very few qualms.
In performance numbers the new 2014 Lexus IS 350 gets a respectable run to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. Handling appears to have more confidence even though the curb weight has basically remained the same. The reworking of the suspension system and steering really outweigh its deeply embedded shortcomings, if you can ever find them. Being a focused more on the driver and having the new 8-speed automatic transmission makes the new IS 350 bring out a bit more enthusiastic driving character than in older generations. The F Sport package should extract even more out of the IS as it adds an adaptive suspension system and larger wheels and tires. In my regular 2014 Lexus IS 350 the drive mode selector featuring the commonplace Eco-Normal-Sport modes can tailor the driver’s experience by remapping shifting points, add or take away steering effort and advanced the throttle position. I find that the sport mode adds a nice weight to the sharp steering rack as well as keeping the 8-speed auto in lower gears longer for a simulation more control through the power band. Though, in true Lexus fashion, Sport mode does not lock you out of the higher 7 or 8th gears on highway runs, possibly retaining its eco-minded programing. In eco-mode the transmission shifts earlier and dials back the throttle position to save fuel. During my drive I took notice to the programming of Eco-mode allowing me to beat the city EPA estimate of 19 mpg to get 20.2 mpg around town. On the highway in any mode I returned an average of 27.3 mpg, slightly down from its EPA estimated 28 mpg.
The new 2014 Lexus IS is also available in an all-wheel-drive flavor but utilizes the 6-speed automatic transmission in such a configuration. The beauty of the new trim levels is that the IS can be had in F Sport trim for rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models. The IS 250, sporting a smaller 2.5-liter V6, is an economical choice that gets an EPA estimated 21 mph city and 30 mpg highway with an output of 204 horsepower and 185 ft-lbs. of torque. The obvious choice for a sports-luxury sedan in this class is certainly the 3.5-liter V6, in true Automotive Addicts style. The variation in fuel consumptions figures or rather minuet but remains to be another story with the price difference of almost $4,000.
While the exterior styling of the Lexus IS 350 is undeniably daring, it exhibits a unique yet unmistakable character. The new front spindle-type grill further pushes the new Lexus design language forward. The sharply-sculpted front headlights and day-time-running LED lights brandish athleticism. Moving to the side with the neatly sculpted doors and lower panels to shadow what appears to be a subtle taste of sport that molds its way to the flared side finders. The eccentric rear-end is by far the most assertive design statement of the whole vehicle. The slanted-downward lights ending at an angled point towards the rear fender and accented by the lights ending in sharp point at the back of the aluminum deck-lid pushes really pushes the design envelope. Somehow this approach works for many and I find it bring out the driving substance of the new IS 350 in the improved driving dynamics. Basically, the exterior does not overshadow the new Lexus IS 350’s true driving character.
The inside of the all-new 2014 Lexus IS 350 really freshens up the old interior design and puts more emphasis on the driver. By now you get the gist of what the IS 350 is about, that being more driver-focused luxury sports sedan. The interior does not leave the passengers out of the equation, it provides everyone with much needed additional interior room. The new Lexus IS adds a bit of interior space using its extra 3-inches of wheelbase to move things around a bit. The longer wheelbase attributes to more leg room in the front and back seating areas. Headroom is also slightly improved but not to the point where those over 6-feet tall will not have to worry about greeting their head with the a-pillar from time to time as I did.
The new larger interior dimensions go a long way while the ample adjustability of the front seats give 6-foot guys like me the needed adjustments to find the optimal driving or seating position. The rear seating area can accommodate most. However, long trips for 6-footers are not recommended in the new IS. The plush leather seating surfaces and accent stitching throughout the seats and trim really add a plush luxury feel to the new IS 350. The sporty and thick-rimmed and leather-trimmed steering wheel with shift paddles all add to the luxurious experience without taking too much way from the new forward movement of Lexus’s pursuit for a bit more sports-appeal. The sporty seats up front hug you well with good bolstering and supple-soft leather surfaces, in addition to the same soft leather found throughout the door trim.
My one qualm with the interior was the new infotainment system, which lacked a navigation system in my IS 350’s configuration. The new controls to navigate the flush-mounted color 7-inch LCD screen are added in place of the remote touch mouse-type controller, which is found on Lexus vehicles equipped with navigation. The scroll wheel is somewhat like the iDrive controller but lacking the intelligence when you find such a basic menu set to navigate through for Audio controls, vehicle information, access to apps (weather, traffic) and vehicle settings. Use of the screen is mostly appreciated with the backup camera instead of some of the confusing menus for accessing certain settings. It took me the better part of my 40 minute drive to find the Audio’s sound controls through the menus, something I did not expect on a Lexus. The upgraded option with GPS navigation should certainly be a considered feature especially when you are just breaking the $45K price barrier.
The all-new 2014 Lexus IS 350 really is a gem as we see it grow into a matured sports-luxury sedan with bit of bold styling to possibly set itself apart from the rest of the crowd. While the IS 350 does just that, its value holds strong in a wide array of features and available options to keep its expected ability to satisfy strong luxury appetites. The list of features and options found on my test vehicle included the blind spot monitor system, HID headlights, fog lights, Intuitive Park Assist, Smart Entry with push button start/stop, dual zone automatic climate control, automatic recirculation with smog sensor and air filter, Lexus Homelink Universal Transceiver, carpeted floor mats, dual map lights, center console with padded armrest, cruise control, and a pull-down rear seat center armrest.
Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base IS 350 $39,465 / As-Tested IS 350 $45,000.00 est.
- Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 306 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm / 277 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,800 rpm
- Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
- Total length: 183.7 inches
- Total width: 71.3 inches
- Total height: 56.3 inches
- Track: f/r-60.4/61 inches
- Headroom: f/r-38.2 / 36.9 inches
- Legroom: f/r-44.8 / 32.2 inches
- EPA cargo volume: 13.8 cu.ft.
- Curb weight: 3,593 pounds
- Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
- 0-60mph: 5.6 seconds
- EPA mileage: 19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
|2011 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport Review & Test Drive||
New from Lexus in 2011 is an IS350 model with an upgraded F-Sport Package featuring more aggressive exterior styling, more sporty cues inside, and more aggressive driving capability under the skin. For those potential IS350 buyers this new model fits smartly between the standard IS350 and the high-performance IS-F.
More aggressive styling is seen up front with an F-Sport front lip spoiler, and unique F-Sport black zigzag upper and lower lattice grille inserts. From the side is a special F-Sport badge located on each front fender. Adding to more aggressive handling capability are wheel-wells stuffed with 18X8in. front, and 18X9in. rear, Dark Graphite alloy wheels shod with Dunlop 225/40R18in. front, and 255/40R18in. rear, SP high-performance tires that enhance grip and traction. Rounding out the exterior upgrades is a rear decklid spoiler increasing downforce and handling performance. New this year are standard front HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, and rear LED brake light clusters.
Utilizing the more aggressive body and tire enhancements is an F-Sport tuned double wishbone suspension up front, and multi-link setup in the rear. The gas-filled shocks are re-valved, the coil springs are now higher rate, and the front and rear stabilizer bars are thicker.
This new suspension tuning gave me faster reaction and more precision to my steering inputs. The electronic power-assisted, rack & pinion steering system was sharp as a tack easily guiding me through tough corners and rock solid at high speeds on the open road. While the ride was stiffer it was never harsh, even when traveling over poorly paved road surfaces in Los Angeles. The new 2011 IS350 F-Sport gets to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.4sec. and can top out at 150mph utilizing the sport tuned suspension and more aggressive tires and wheels.
The interior cabin gets several sporty cues and custom front bucket seats. You’ll notice the aluminum scuff plates with Lexus lettering when you open each front door and the aluminum-faced foot pedals in the footwells. You place your hands around a perforated, leather with baseball stitching, custom 3-spoke steering wheel with an F-Sport medallion inserted into the bottom. The special 10-way power adjustable, heated, leather-trimmed front bucket seats with microfibers inserts are cut deep at the sides, all the up to your shoulders, keeping you firmly in place during your spirited driving times. You’ll also notice the gray metallic trim on the center console, above the glove box and on each of the door switch-plates. All of the leather-trimmed pieces inside feature white contrasting stitching.
Standard factory equipment, along with the F-Sport package that costs $2,440.00, is the potent, high-revving 306hp/277lb.ft. of torque, 3.5 liter DOHC, all-aluminum V6 engine with VVTi and Direct-To-Cylinder precise fuel injection. The smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with Intelligence and steering column mounting aluminum paddle shifters gives you quicker acceleration from the IS350 F-Sport when the time and place is right, and you quickly and safely stop with 4-wheel, power-assisted disc brakes, 13.15 spiral vented discs up front clamped with four-piston calipers, and 12.2in vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers in the rear. They are enhanced with standard ABS, EBD and BA. The standard stability control and traction control electronics can be turned off to let the rear slide out and straighten out steep curving roads.
Standard luxury and convenience features inside include Smart Access with Push Button Start/Stop button, power tilt/slide moonroof, electroluminescent gauge cluster with trip computer, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise-control, variable-speed wipers/washers, heated power-remote, outside mirrors with integrated turn signal and puddle lamps, self-dimming reaview mirror, Lexus Premium audio system with 194-watts, 10-high-power amplifiers and 13-speakers, AM/FM/6-CD changer, automatic sound levelizer, Bluetooth technology, USB audio plug, XM satellite radio, one-touch up/down power windows, power door locks, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, trunk pass-through, pull down rear center armrest with pop-out dual cupholders and storage, a rear bench seat with leather trim and microfiber inserts to keep your backseat passengers in place during your spirited driving times, air-vents out the rear of the center console to more efficiently send cool or warm air into the rear seat section, fold out front door pockets, map pockets behind each front seat, a center console with dual cupholders featuring a deep storage bin with padded armrest, ash tray, cigar lighter, and thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats.
My 2011 Lexus IS350 F-Sport came equipped with the Lexus Navigation system with backup camera, Lexus Enform, with Destination assist and eDestination, Lexus Insider, voice command, XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, and XM Sports and Stocks, a cargo net and trunk mat.
Standard safety features include advanced front airbags (twin-chamber for front passenger), driver and front passenger knee airbags, front seat mounted side impact airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all 5-seats with front/rear outboard pretensioners/load limiters, child restraint seat tether anchor brackets, safety connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door and adjustable seatbelt anchors and head restraints.
Priced at $41,010.00 for the IS350 with the F-Sport Package, Lexus has given their IS350 consumers something more to ponder and think about when shopping for a new Lexus IS.
There is plenty of power from the standard high-revving V6 engine, but it can now be infused with more high-performance handling capability, more aggressive styling, and more interior sporty cues to keep any enthusiast happy at the wheel of the new 2011 Lexus IS350 F-Sport.
- Base IS 350 $39,070
- IS 350 F-Sport $41,010
Tires and Wheels
- Alloy wheels
- 18X8in. wheels
- Steel spare wheel
- 255/40R V tires
- All season tires
- Inside mounted spare tire
- Temporary spare tire
Roof and Glass
- Variable intermittent wipers
- Rear defogger
- Power glass sunroof
- Remote sunroof operation
- Width: 70.9 in.
- Height: 56.1 in.
- Length: 180.3 in.
- Ground clearance: 5.7 in.
- Front track: 60.4 in.
- Rear track: 60.4 in.
- Wheel base: 107.4 in.
- Cargo capacity, all seats in place: 13.3 cu.ft.
- Maximum cargo capacity: 13.3 cu.ft.
- EPA interior volume: 101.3 cu.ft.
- Gross weight: 4500 lbs.
- Gross weight: 0.28 in.
- Curb weight: 3527 lbs.
- 18″ Liquid Graphite Finish Alloy Wheels w/Summer Tires
- 18″ Liquid Graphite Finish Alloy Wheels w/All-Season Tires
Engine & Performance
- Engine size: 3.5 L
- Cam type: Double overhead cam (DOHC)
- Cylinders: V6
- Valves: 24
- Valve timing: Variable
- Direct injection
- Torque: 277 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm
- Horsepower: 306 hp @ 6400 rpm
- Turning circle: 33.5 ft.
- Engine type: gas
- Drive type: rear wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
- Brake hill holder
- Double wishbone front suspension
- Multi-link rear suspension
- Four-wheel independent suspension
- Front and rear stabilizer bar
- Fuel type: gas
- Fuel type: premium unleaded (required)
- Fuel tank capacity: 17.1 gal.
- Range in miles (cty/hwy): 342.0/461.7 mi.
- EPA mileage est. (cty/hwy): 20/27 mpg
Safety & Security
- 4-wheel ABS
- Front and rear head airbags
- Dual front side-mounted airbags
- Child seat anchors
- Remote anti-theft alarm system
- Emergency braking assist
- Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
- Rear door child safety locks
- Daytime running lights
- Engine immobilizer
- Front fog/driving lights
- High pressure washers headlamps
- Auto delay off headlamps
- Dusk sensing headlamps
- Xenon high intensity discharge headlamp
- 2 front headrests
- 3 rear headrests
- Passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation
- Rear center 3-point belt
- Front and rear seatbelt pretensioners
- Turn signal mirrors
- Stability control
- Traction control
- Electronic brakeforce distribution
- Emergency interior trunk release
- Front height adjustable headrests
- Rear folding headrests
- Post-collision safety system
- Tire pressure monitoring
Safety & Security Options
- Intuitive Parking Assist w/Front and Rear Sensors
- Basic: 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
- Drivetrain: 6 yr./ 70000 mi.