with an edgier appearance, overhauled chassisand even greater space this all-new 3rd generation lexus is has positioned itself as the luxurycompact sports sedan for the discriminating buyer.i suppose it would be remiss not tomention the bmw 3-series — the sport sedan widely regarded as the prototype. but youknow what? not everyone longs for the roundel and so others, like lexus continue to perseverewith their own take on what the sport sedan should be.with this new model, lexus keepsthe choices familiar with the is 250 and is 350 each with the option of rear or all-wheeldrive. the new twist this year being that the f sport package is now available acrossthe entire model range. but this week, i’ve settled into an is 350 awd tricked out withthe usual assortment of luxury options taking
the price from $42,595 to $47,480 as tested.there is one conspicuous omission — navigation…and that’s on a car with the luxury + technologypackage. what you see here instead is what lexus calls the premium display audio systemwith some cool new tricks like displaying the album art for sat radio signals and subscription-freereal time traffic and weather information.beyond the inclusion of the lexus family-faced spindlegrille and a superb penning of the reimagined body, this is is also wider by nearly halfan inch and longer by almost 3 inches. its new proportions and sweeping lines make ita understated stunner. but most of all, i love the way the is is beautifully balancedin all regards.from behind the wheel, this car is always confident and composed. it performsall of its sport sedan duties with a sense
of adroitness and unflappable ease.2014_lexus_is_350_025it’sa car that just refuses to come unglued, showcasing its more rigid body and redesigned multi-linkrear suspension that separates the shocks from the springs also allowing for a roomiertrunk. sharp in its reflexes and direct with the driver’s intentions, the is 350 is anall-wheel drive hero that can automatically send as much of its 277 foot pounds of torqueto the rear wheels. providing the energy is the same 306 horsepower, naturally breathing3.5-liter v6 as before. but unlike in the rear drive car which inherits the 8-speedtransmission from the is f this year, this all-wheel drive model soldiers on with the6-speed — equipped with meaty paddle shifters, the characteristics of which can be tailoredthough the drive mode select — on this model
the choices include eco, normal, sport andsnow. while the powertrain is quite familiar, it’s the changes to the chassis that makethe is 350 awd feel more competent and luxurious. and despite a small weight increase to 3,737pounds, a 0-to-60mph time of 5.7-seconds remains unchanged. the engine feels strong and linearand keeps most of its sounds to itself. gas mileage is rated at 19mpg city/26mpg highwayon premium.a modern industrial treatment has been applied to the interior with an eye-pleasingcombination of metal, wood and leather. the driver’s seat, forward visibility and ergonomicsare all on point making this one of those cars you just feel good driving. some of mypassengers found it a little narrow in the front and the black matte finish of the centerstack comes off as less than premium, but
in general the integration of high tech driver’saids and more accommodating rear seats make the cabin a lexus-quiet and homey place tobe.with the is 350 awd you get a well-behaved sport sedan in a business suit. it serenelydoes the job but lacks the visceral experience of say, a comparable cadillac ats but perhapsthat’s what the f sport is for. it’s not as fast, fuel efficient or roomy as a 3-serieseither but it does cost less. lexus has pinpointed areas of change here to make the is a highlycapable competitor.