2015/2016 Lexus IS 350 Review - Add F For More Fun +VIDEO
2015/2016 Lexus IS 350 - With F-sport for more Fun
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
The Lexus model range of 4-door sedans starts with the IS 250 priced beginning in the $36,000 range and then going upwards touching into the $40s. From there you can go in to a six-figure price with a top-of-the-line Lexus LS model.
For 2015, the Lexus IS 250 is powered by a 204HP, 2.5-L V6 engine. Also, there’s a Lexus IS 350 model powered by a 306HP 3.5-L V6 engine and the subject of this drive report.
Lexus offers the IS 300 AWD with 255 HP and 236 lb.-ft. torque at 2,000-4,800 rpm. The IS 300 AWD features a modified 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. As in 2015, Lexus will continue to offer the IS 350, in both RWD and AWD models.
The electronically controlled all-wheel drive system standard on IS
300 AWD and available on IS 350 models is designed to help enhance traction
and grip under all driving conditions by automatically varying
front-to-rear torque balance from 30:70 to as much as 50:50.
The IS 350, both in 2015 and 2016 guise, delivers lots of performance from a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of peak torque. It is mated to an eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission that integrates an advanced G-force Artificial Intelligence system to choose gears intuitively. Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters let you shift yourself just like a Formula One racer. Zero to 60mph time is just a shade under 6 seconds, from what most performance-testers report.
Available for all IS sedan models, the F SPORT package adds unique 18-inch wheels and special suspension tuning, along with unique interior and exterior trim. The F SPORT IS 300 AWD and IS 350 also features an intake sound that creates a more sporting engine note.
F-Sport adds some distinction and ups the sportiness of the IS 350. Spirited driving is my style with a good sense of connection to the road and the F-sport certainly adds to that overall feeling and enjoyment. It’s pretty satisfying and makes long road trips and off-highway two-lane jaunts a bit more entertaining. The 18-inch low profile tires, 225/40s up front and 255/35s in rear bring out every road imperfection but conversely perform well when pushed hard.
All-wheel-drive is offered on the IS 350. Even living in Chicago, I might forgo that and instead fit a good set of winter tires with a taller profile to get me through the modest snowfalls. If I really big snow hits, I’ll stay home or take a taxi if I do need to go out.
EPA test fuel economy ratings for the IS 350 are 22 mpg combined city/highway, with 19 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. I did take the IS 350 on a long road trip over to Western Michigan from Chicago. It’s interstate all the way and in my spirited driving style and got in the range of 26-27 mpg overall.
It you want further details and specs on the Lexus IS you can find that with a mouse-click at www.lexus.com. To compare the IS sedan with other sport sedans you can do that right here on www.theautochannel.com.
The German rivals to the Lexus IS might be a bit more sporty and could be more to an individual’s taste. Although they too have their pluses and minuses. The IS 350 makes for a comfortable daily ride while also provides the level of sportiness and performance to make a back-road trip fun and engaging.
© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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