The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

0 to 60 is achieved in only 5.6 seconds, ¼-mile in 13.8 seconds and top speed can reach 142 mph. Not bad, we thought, as we took the third-generation Lexus IS 350 for a test drive. As expected, the compact sport sedan is quick off the mark, supple in traffic and fun to drive. Under the unitized steel body resides a 3.5-liter V-6 engine developing 311 horsepower (up by 5) @ 6400 rpm and 277 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. It is equipped with the IS F high-performance model eight-speed auto gearbox and can be driven in eco, normal or sport modes. Though our car was a rear-wheel drive, you can opt for an electronically controlled all-weather drive for firmer grip and traction.
Surrounding the massive spindle grille are LED headlights and daytime running lights, a color- coordinated front air dam and dual chrome tips in the rear. Niceties include dual auto a/c, 60/40 rear seat, 10-way power and eight-way front-passenger heated/cooled seats, moon roof, electroluminescent Optitron gauges for the 160-mph speedometer, 7,000-rpm tachometer, fuel and coolant temperature readings, silver-metallic analog clock, and a power tilt/telescopic steering column. Trunk capacity is adequate at 13.8 cubic feet. A mouse-like, easy-to-use Remote Touch enables the driver to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls, which are displayed on a 7-inch screen.
Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, vehicle stability and traction controls, front/rear crumple zones, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, daytime running lights and a tire pressure monitoring system. Add in a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control, all part of the no-cost Lexus Safety Sense.
The energetic IS350 delivers not just a punch or two but also a spacious cabin, and respectable fuel economy to give competitors a run for the money.

IS350 (RWD)
Tires: 225/40R18 front, 255/35R18 rear
Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Length: 184.3 inches
Suspension: double wishbone front, multilink rear
Steering: electric power, rack and pinion
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Weight: 3,593 pounds
Base price: $41,830
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