2015 Lexus IS 350 4-door Sedan FWD

Susan Frissell

Now in its third generation, the Lexus IS 350 is probably our first choice in the Lexus stable of cars. Not a huge fan of the other offerings in the Lexus lineup, the 2015 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport won us over. Having grown a tad dull over the last several years, this new iteration may finally offer something a little more stylish and up-to-date. 350 is

Our test IS 350 came equipped with several options, hiking the total vehicle price to just under $49,000. A blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert auto-diming exterior mirrors ($600); F SPORT Package including F SPORT front bumper and spindle grille, LED headlamps (low, high beam), 18-inch F Sport Split 5-spoke wheels, FR 225/40R18 summer tires: on the inside: TFT instrument cluster, heated and ventilated front F SPORT seats, perforated leather steering wheel and shift knob, black headliner, aluminum pedals, Performance Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and SPORT S + mode ($3,740); Variable Gear Ratio Steering: power tilt/telescoping steering column, $400; navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio, Audio 5.1Surround 15-speakers, 835 watts, navigation, backup camera, remote touch interface, Lexus Enform Destination (1-year trial), and App Suite, Voice Command, Lexus Insider, ($2,995); and Trunk mat, ($105).
As soon as this writer buckled herself into the cockpit, a feeling of connection happened.

These Recaro-like bucket seats are the best fit in any Lexus to date, and although probably a tad small for large drivers, it fit me just about right. I did, however, have to have the seating position about as far back as possible to suit my long legs, but at only 5.6 1.2-inches, I’m hardly a giant.id350

I felt perfectly at home in this performance-oriented sedan; performance vehicles being my first choice in any manufacturer’s sedan. The interior feels sporty, has a few new updates and works well with the driver and a passenger. Although I did carry a male passenger in the rear seats, toting four adults all the time might be a stretch.
The exterior styling although improved and updated, isn’t a first place winner with us. The rear end features take some getting used to; but then, taste in style is a personal thing. Not as conservative as the previous IS models, we agree it is an improvement. The TFT instrument panel is great; we enjoyed moving the dial back/forth. The Mark Levinson 15-speaker sound system was out of this world and we were wooed by the music emanating from the dash.

Our test IS 350 came in Atomic Silver, with almost a brownish hue. Very handsome. Competing with the likes of the BMW 3-series, the Lexus IS is available in the 250 and 350 trim levels. The IS 250 sports the Lexus 2.5-liter V6 engine, while the 350 is equipped with a more powerful and spunky 3.5-liter, V6, paired with the 8-speed automatic transmission.Pricing for the 250 starts at $35,550 while our 350’s MSRP was just over $40,000. Either sedan would suffice, but we would definitely opt for the 3.5-liter V6, 350. Our test 350 was the rear-wheel-drive ($40,065), and all-wheel-drive is also available ($42,300).IMG_0724

A lot of options, at high prices, however, if one opts for the competition: say the BMW or Audi comparable version, the price range would be closer to $60,000.
We especially resonated with the Recaro-like seats, form fitting and holding the driver tight. This is the kind of feel we want in a sedan; the more performance, the better. Lexus’ 8-speed automatic transmission shifts imperceptibly, and we found we wanted to use the paddle shifters; not something we ordinarily opt for. 2014-03-11 10.59.36

To be sure, the IS 350 offers a performance-like ride. Perhaps not for everyone. Our preference, however. One can’t help but admire a Lexus product, for so many reasons. The IS 350 with the F SPORT package is the only one we’d make room for in our garage. Some argument might be found, to be sure, from other rag writers, but we prefer a performance vehicle anytime, every time.

Riding with colleagues to this year’s Chicago Auto Show, we spent a few moments scheming about how we might just hold on to this press car. I didn’t want to return it to the fleet. Well, maybe some day!

MSRP: $40,065; total vehicle price $48,830; destination $925
Engine: 3.5-liter, V6- 24-valve, DOHC, Direct, port injection, VVT-I, 300 hp., 277 lb-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 110 in.
Length: 183.7 in.
Width: 71.3 in.
Height: 56.3 in.
EPA Fuel Economy: 19/28 mpg., avg. 22 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal.
Wheels: 17-inch aluminum
Tires: 225/45R17 all-season
Warranty: 48 mths/50,000-miles, basic; 72 mths/70,000-miles powertrain; 72 mths/unlimited corrosion perforation; 48 mths/unlimited Roadside Assistance; 12 mths/10,000-miles maintenance; 48 mths/50,000-miles accessories.

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