Sometime last year Lexus launched its all new medium-sector luxury vehicle the IS 350. Most of you will be familiar with its popular predecessor, the IS 250, which sold very well in South Africa.
After winning the hearts of many a driver the IS range was starting to date and required a face lift in order to keep up with the competition. What Lexus did was a major overhaul. They made sure that the new vehicle was immediately distinguishable from its predecessor and added a whole lot of sportiness.
From the front, the new Lexus family grill is the most prominent feature taking up most of the front section of the car. The front bumpers have large air intakes that add to the sporty look. In keeping with modern trends Lexus have added LED daytime running lights just below the headlights. This feature accentuates the new grill. From the rear the traditional high boot lid has been retained, but the new lights together with its tapering lower end give the car a whole new look. I think the Lexus designers have done a phenomenal job. The vehicle looks fresh and is definitely a head turner.
On the inside there have been huge changes as well. These include a new dashboard layout and a swooping centre console. The infotainment screen is no longer in the dropdown centre console but has been lifted to the top of the dashboard. Unfortunately that means that the familiar touchscreen is gone. In its place Lexus has put in a type of mouse-control which, I have to admit, did not work for me. The dashboard has been split in two, which some may like, but this reminded me of the old Cressida dashboard. On the positive side the new screen is larger than the previous touchscreen and the overall look is a lot cleaner and uncluttered. The same luxury leather seats ooze comfort.
The boot space has grown, making the new IS an even more practical vehicle.
On the road the car feels solid and in keeping with Lexus tradition, it is extremely easy to drive. It has all the safety features as standard. On the bends the car feels sure-footed but there is not much road feedback coming through the steering wheel.
Overall the new Lexus IS 350 will capture the interest of many an onlooker as you cruise past them. The sharp edges definitely add to the sporty look and with the added bells and whistles, this luxury car should keep and possibly extend the Lexus market share. ❐
Engine: 3,5 / V6-Cylinder
Power: 228 KW
Torque: 375 Nm
0 –100 km/h: 5,9 (claimed)
Fuel consumption Average: 9,7 l / 100 km
CO2: 225 g/km
Price From: R464 300
Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.
Follow me on Twitter @azimomar