The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

Except for a tweak or two, the third-generation Lexus IS 350 continues as is for this year. The compact sport sedan is nippy off the mark, agile in traffic and a blast to drive. How quick? It can take off 0 to 60 in barely 5.6 seconds, ¼-mile in 13.8 seconds and can reach top speed of 142 mph.
Under the unitized steel body sits a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that cranks out 311 horsepower @ 6600 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.
Suspension is handled by an independent double wishbone front and a multilink rear system to smoothen breaks, bumps and turns on the road. The rack-and-pinion steering with electric power assist is quick, precise and well-weighted.
LED headlights and daytime running lights flank the massive spindle grille, a color-coordinated front air dam with 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.
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 are standard. 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+.
Looking for a little bit of bunch and zest in a daily ride? Then the rev-happy and potent IS 350 will be more than happy to oblige. An extravagant cabin and respectable fuel economy should help seal the deal.

IS350 (RWD)
Tires: 225/40R18 front, 255/35R18 rear
Wheelbase: 110.2 inches
Length: 184.3 inches
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Weight: 3,593 pounds
Base price: $41,830
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CALLING ALL LEXUS DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@g