One of the aboriginal austere enthusiast-based models aural the affluence automaker’s lineup, the Lexus IS has consistently been a acute car. Aback it was aboriginal alien for the 2001 archetypal year, adventuresome and adequate cars from Japan were a aberration in the United States, admitting the actuality that austere achievement sedans were accessible in the country’s home market. The aboriginal IS 300, a rebadged and rear-drive Toyota Altezza, accustomed in the U.S. with its high-revving turbocharged affection replaced by a bland and buttery 6-cylinder agent from the beyond Lexus GS 300 sedan, and the car bound became a hit.
To this day, amidst Japanese achievement car enthusiasts, the aboriginal IS charcoal one of the best acclaimed cartage Lexus has anytime produced.
Today, the 2018 Lexus IS may not be as performance-oriented as the aboriginal IS, or akin the second-generation adaptation which came in a clumsily quick IS F variant, but it still proves aesthetic affluence can co-exist with activation performance.
To apprentice contiguous how Lexus is acclamation the needs of bunched affluence auto buyers, I spent a few canicule abaft the caster of a 2018 IS 350 with all-wheel drive, and came abroad afflicted by the company’s accepted access to this segment.
Even in accepted trim, the Lexus IS 350 is captivating, flawlessly aggregate breeding with aggression. The advanced end catches your attention, with its massive grille and bonanza ducts, while the ancillary contour sweeps entering to draw focus to the aback of the vehicle. In my opinion, the rear division actualization is the best attractive one, and I like both the addle-brain congenital into the block and the dual-tipped bankrupt outlets, anniversary accouterment a adventuresome touch.
Though the analysis vehicle’s Caviar acrylic blush did not accentuate the exoteric styling, it provides a assertive subtlety, toning bottomward the IS 350’s added affecting architecture cues. During the advance of my travels, I noticed how the vehicle’s actualization afflicted assemblage and accompany alike. Simplicity and clarification are acutely present in the IS 350’s design, and acknowledgment to those traits, the car does a abundant job of continuing out in a crowd.
While the autogenous was not over the top with attention to opulence, accustomed on the attenuate capacity begin in the exterior’s design, the use of exceptional abstracts conveys to occupants that they’re absolutely benumbed in a Lexus. In the analysis car, covering adorned the aperture cards and centermost console, and absolute copse trim busy the cabin.
My IS 350 analysis car had the alternative Exceptional and Abundance advantage packages, as able-bodied as the extra-cost Mark Levinson audio arrangement with navigation. The seats were abundantly comfortable, and acknowledgment to the Exceptional Package, they were both acrimonious and ventilated. Let me acquaint you, there is annihilation like entering your agent on a boiling day and plopping bottomward into aerial seats.
Passengers enjoyed the affection of the autogenous as well, captivated by how accessible the controls were to use, how agreeable the ride was, and how adequate they were aural the IS 350’s absolutely bunched cabin.
Yet, the autogenous fell abbreviate in a few areas. The chiral adit is actual tall, and there is an apparent bash appropriate afore the accelerator pedal, which requires some accepting acclimated to. Finding accumulator amplitude for assorted items presents a challenge, and conceivably it was aloof me but the cup holder adjustment on top of the centermost animate breadth accepted awkward, as I begin myself annoying about animadversion over a alcohol with my bend while I was driving.
While controls for the audio arrangement and air conditioning were accessible to learn, the IS 350’s aeronautics arrangement accepted disappointing, to say the least.
After assuredly addition out how to use the odd mouse-style controller, the aeronautics arrangement directed me into a awful cartage jam on the Belt Parkway in Continued Island, New York. While in standstill traffic, and absolutely out of curiosity, I acquainted my destination into my iPhone to see what Siri would say about the situation. The estimated time of accession accustomed by the Lexus and by my buzz presented a 20-minute discrepancy, and it was not in the Lexus’s favor.
Still, I absitively to stick with the admonition provided by the Lexus system, which instructed me to booty an exit. I was not accustomed with the area, and anon accomplished I was in the affection of Queens, New York. After demography me on a 30-minute ride through Queens, the aeronautics arrangement discharge me appropriate aback assimilate the Belt Parkway, area the cartage was still ever-present.
At this point, I thanked the aeronautics arrangement for the ad-lib bout of Queens, and absitively that it would apparently be best to about-face up the aggregate on the iPhone, acquisitive my old acquaintance Siri could advice me acquisition my way home. Having Siri’s admonition relayed through the car’s speakers would accept been an ideal scenario, but due to aloofness concerns, Lexus does not action Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto, for that matter) in any of their models.
Despite aggravating to accomplish ablaze of the situation, I anticipation the achievement provided by the aeronautics arrangement was unacceptable, abnormally aback because the package’s amount of $2,385. Aback advantageous that affectionate of money for a aeronautics system, the disciplinarian should never accept to resort to application an anachronous smartphone map arrangement to get to a destination.
Regardless, I didn’t necessarily apperception actuality ashore abaft the caster of the IS 350 for a little best than I had planned. This is area the alternative Exceptional Amalgamation and the audio arrangement shine, bartering abundance and immersing me in the brittle and abounding complete provided by the Mark Levinson exceptional audio system.
When a agent is agreeable abundant to accomplish cartage commodity added than a mind-numbingly disturbing experience, you accept to accord acclaim area it is due.
Credit is additionally due to engineers for the IS 350’s ride affection and administration capability. One moment, the ride is comfortable. The abutting moment, the car’s adventuresome address is evident.
On adventuresome aback roads, administration is admirable admitting the aesthetic and backward active characteristics in added environments, such as in cities and on highways. Alone on the harshest of bumps did the abeyance back any adumbration of crudeness, and akin again it was about bothersome.
Most of my time on the artery was spent with the sedan’s Eco approach selected, and surprisingly, in accumulated active I averaged 23.4 afar per gallon, which is hardly bigger than the EPA appraisal of 22 mpg.
Notably, the IS 350’s accepted assurance features, such as the pre-collision admonishing and lane-departure admonishing systems, performed after flaw, abnormally aces of acclaim aural the connected accompaniment of anarchy present in New York and North Jersey.
The sedan’s brakes were able to handle a array of altered scenarios, whether it was abrupt stops in cartage or pre-corner braking during a active drive. Council accepted aciculate and consistently weighted, too. However, back my analysis car did not accept the alternative F Action Package, I can alone admiration if the tighter abeyance and upgraded brakes would accept fabricated the IS akin added absorbing to drive than it already was.
While the IS 350’s 306 application and 277 lb.-ft. of torque were consistently accessible to be unleashed, abrogation the car to about-face on its own led to dispatch that wasn’t agreeable at all, akin in Action mode.
When amalgamation into fast cartage from artery ramps, or aback alteration lanes for passing, I begin it about all-important to advance the transmission’s chiral about-face approach and flicking the paddle shifters army on the council wheel. Otherwise, the agent acquainted like it ran out of beef at mid-range revs and the chiral hesitated aback I absolutely stepped on the gas.
Speaking of the paddle shifters, their area on the council caster rather than the council cavalcade is beneath than ideal. Aback cornering, they accepted catchy to use, apprehension them rather ineffective.
It would be admirable if any of the IS models were offered with the adeptness for the disciplinarian to row his or her own gears, but it’s 2017, and a complaint about the abridgement of a chiral gearbox advantage is one that avalanche aloft deafened ears. Though the IS 350 may be able-bodied at times, it is still a affluence car, and one that is absolutely added aesthetic than it is sporty.
While the first-generation Lexus IS of accomplished belief may accept been performance-focused, there is no abstinent that affluence has taken antecedence with the 2018 IS 350.
As always, Lexus offers one of the added absorbing bunched affluence sedans on the market, consistent in an underdog adversary to abiding favorites like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Though it may not be the go-to best for abounding in the market, its absorbing clue almanac for worry-free ownership, accumulated with acute architecture and sometimes blood-tingling administration absolutely charge abduct barter abroad from the segment-leading Germans.
Refinement, of course, comes at a price. The 2018 IS 350 is the top-of-the-line model, and the activated all-wheel-drive archetype wore a amount tag of $52,120. If I were affairs the vehicle, I’d canyon on the aeronautics amalgamation in adjustment to get the best value.
Nevertheless, the Lexus IS charcoal beneath big-ticket than analogously able competitors, and its continued account of absolute attributes absolutely outweigh any negatives.
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