MORE DYNAMIC AND SPORTIER LEXUS IS 350
Lexus South Africa introduces the IS350, a more dynamic and sporty IS-model, to its aggressively growing range.
The IS 350 further builds on the brand’s growing performance range which already includes the IS-F and LFA. The debut also sees Lexus further expand its IS range to four models. The IS 250 Sedan, IS 250 Convertible and the IS-F have made up the IS range to date, with the new introduction ensuring even greater variety within the growing line-up.
The IS 350 is positioned squarely between the IS 250 and the IS-F, further building the performance credentials of Lexus and bringing Lexus’ dynamic abilities and luxury appeal to a wider market.
The IS 350 features a quad-cam 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential paddle shift control. It develops a class-leading 233kW of power and 378Nm of torque, to propel the IS 350 from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds.
There will be two model grades on offer. As customers have come to expect from Lexus, both models come with comprehensive list of specifications as standard. The EX grade models are equipped with, amongst other things, 17-inch alloy wheels, HID headlamps and daytime running lights, Lexus Premium Sound, electric seats, Smart entry/start, cruise control, HDD navigation and a back guide monitor.
The SE models are further equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, moonroof, seat memory, seat heaters and coolers, rain-sensing wipers, anti-dazzle mirrors, illuminated entry and electrically adjustable steering column.
Lexus’ powerful sports saloon, the IS-F, spearheaded the brand’s move into the performance arena. Derived from the research and development conducted on the Fuji Speedway in Japan, it proved the brands ability to engineer the very best driving dynamics and sporting pedigree in its products.
The success of the IS-F was followed by the development of the LFA. The bespoke supercar set the motoring fraternity alight and is a showcase of Lexus technology and innovation. Developed over a decade, the lessons learned during the development of the LFA have been filtered through into the development of other models like the IS-F and IS 350.
The Lexus IS 350 sedan develops the highest specific power output of any of its six-cylinder rivals. Its powerful 3.5 V6 develops a class leading 233kW. The IS 350 also features the greatest torque of any of its naturally aspirated rivals – with 378Nm of torque available at 4800 rpm.
The IS 350 chassis was designed for an optimum balance of road-holding, steering, ride characteristics and low noise levels.
The IS 350 features dynamic front and rear suspension, speed-sensitive electric power-assisted steering; advanced steering componentry and high-performance monotube dampers. Lexus adopted monotube dampers for increased performance and fine tuning at low damper velocities. This optimises body control, road tracking capability and ride comfort.
The IS 350 has a large on-road footprint for its overall dimensions, with a wheelbase of 2730mm, front track of 1535mm and rear track of 1525mm. A lightweight multi-link system has been used for the rear suspension, while substantial front and rear cross-members support the suspension hardware, increase suspension rigidity and consequently enhance driving stability.
The front cross-member is made of aluminium, with large, liquid-filled bushings at the rear mount of the lower arms to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The ball-joint-mounted stabiliser bars are fitted front and rear to minimise uncontrolled body roll.
The IS 350 suspension geometry provides anti-dive, anti-lift and anti-squat characteristics.
Lexus designed the front suspension geometry to optimise initial camber and caster change rate during suspension travel, and as a result maximise driving stability. The geometry also optimises stability under braking. Front and rear roll centre heights were optimised to minimise postural change during cornering. Lexus developed cast-aluminium suspension uprights and aluminium brake calipers (front and rear) to minimise unsprung weight.
The front suspension arms are fabricated from high-strength steel sheet to increase rigidity and durability and reduce weight. The front and rear suspension includes urethane bound-stoppers, and upper and lower isolators, to increase rigidity and reduce NVH.
The IS 350’s high-pressure, gas-filled monotube dampers provide a natural, linear handling response to steering, and a flat-riding characteristic. The dampers have multi-leaf-type linear control valves to provide progressive damping and start the damping force at extremely low piston velocities.
The new Lexus IS 350 has an electronically controlled six-speed multi-mode intelligent automatic transmission with a sequential shift via steering-wheel paddles. Drivers can shift the six-speed transmission using either an S-mode gate shift lever or paddles on the steering wheel.
As with the IS 250 sedan, the IS 350 was designed around the Lexus philosophy of L-finesse. The artfully sculpted body is muscular yet graceful, with a wide and low stance. Arrowhead style LED daytime running lights surround the High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights.
The dark smoked lenses give IS 350 a bold look. Headlight washers, auto-levelling and front fog lights are also standard. LED stop lights were adopted as they offer quicker illumination than conventional bulbs while lasting longer and consuming less energy.
The heated body coloured door mirrors feature LED side indicator lamps and foot area lighting for more convenient entry and exit at night. The mirrored surface dims automatically to prevent glare from following vehicles*. Mirror positions can be adjusted electrically and are linked to the driver’s seat memory system*. Rain-sensing wipers operate automatically when water is sensed on the windscreen*.
The rear of the IS 350 is characterised by dual exhaust pipes featuring bold, chrome extensions for a sporty look. The IS 350 EX is fitted with 17” alloy wheels while the SE grade models ride on 18” alloy wheels. There are eight exterior colours available for the IS 350 with Fire Agate Metallic Brown being introduced as a unique colour option for this derivative.
* SE models only.
Three interior colour schemes are available for the IS 350: Ecru, Light Grey and Black. The EX features a full leather interior while the SE models come standard with perforated semi-aniline leather seat material paired with wood-grain trim as standard fitment.
The EX model is equipped with 8-way electrically adjustable seats with electric lumbar support while the SE models further benefit from the addition of driver’s seat memory system as well as seat heaters and coolers.
IS 350’s Optitron meters are surrounded by metallic rings for a premium and sporty feel. The speedometer and tachometer needles awaken when the vehicle is turned on, sweeping to their limits before resetting to their zero position. The illuminated meter rings change colour from red to amber according to the driver’s desired engine rpm and vehicle speed settings.
The comprehensive multi-information display shows outside temperature, driving range, current and average fuel consumption, average vehicle speed, and sequential gear shift position.
The IS 350 is fitted with a Lexus Premium Sound system. Music can be selected from the six-disc CD changer, 3.5mm auxiliary input jack or USB jack. Bluetooth handsfree telephone capability ensures calls can be safely made or received while on the road.
A seven inch central Electro Multi Vision (EMV) screen houses the HDD Satellite Navigation system, reverse camera and controls for the air conditioning and audio systems.
Climate control air conditioning is standard, with independent controls for the driver and front passenger. Controls on the steering wheel allow convenient adjustment of the audio, Bluetooth and multi-information display systems.
The smart entry and start system allows the key holder to lock or unlock the doors, start the engine, and open the luggage compartment without even taking the key out of their pocket or purse.
The IS 350 offers a total of 8 airbags, including driver and passenger front, side, knee and front-to-rear curtain shield airbags. An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) is standard, as is Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. VDIM effectively co-ordinates the braking package with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC) and the electronic power steering system for confident control during emergency manoeuvres.
The IS 350’s park assist system shows a clear image of the area behind the vehicle on the EMV screen, as well as lines indicating the vehicle’s anticipated course when reversing. Two front and four rear parking sensors warn of approaching obstacles.
An alarm system with intrusion sensors ensures the security of IS 350, as does the engine immobiliser.