Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Lexus IS 350, Part 2

Exterior Design ****
The Lexus IS reminds me of the Egyptian goddess Isis. More specifically, my mind casts back to the tale of Nephthys, a less immediately pronounceable Egyptian deity who was sexually frustrated with her husband Set. To seduce Set, Nephthys disguised herself as Isis. The plan didn t really pan out; Set was gay. Still, it kinda worked: Nephthys tricked Isis s husband Osiris into bed, begetting Anubis. In the same sense, the IS 350 is a sharp-looking car that s somehow not the real thing, but still manages to presage an Anubisian design aesthetic. Or something like that.

Acceleration *****
To quote my redneck neighbor, Yes sir, that dog will HUNT. The 3.5-liter V6 nestled in the baby Lexus Bangled snout may sound like a slightly more refined Pontiac Grand Am engine, but the Japanese mill churns out a class-leading 306hp and an equally bonkers 277 ft.-lbs. of twist. A brutality of thrust lingers underfoot, even without dipping into kickdown. It s a full second faster to everything than Bimmer s none-too-slow 330i.

Braking ***
A bit of a tough call this one. The IS 350 s brakes are ferocious, but you have to constantly modulate braking pressure to achieve consistent retardation. If not, well, I wouldn t be surprised to see an aggressive IS 350 driver sue Toyota for detaching his retinas.

Ride **
Another potentially controversial decision. On one hand, the IS 350 s rock-hard ride gives the sports sedan the control it needs to avoid proving ISaac Newton s insistence that two objects trying to occupy the same space at the same time leads directly to a high-priced body shop. On the other hand, wafters need not apply, and there's something distinctly anti-Lexian about that.

Handling ****
At eight or nine tenths, the IS 350 scoots around corners with confidence and brio. At ten tenths, everything goes pear-shaped: understeer, oversteer, lane hop, you name it. If you're prepared to switch off the IS 350 s electronic intervention — which is programmed to keep you well away from tententhsland — well, you re a braver driver than I, Gunga Hakkinen. In short, the IS 350 is a fast car, but not a driver s car (like you-know-who).

Gearbox **
The IS 350 s six-speed wants to change up faster than a lottery winner shopping for new digs. As there s so much torque in da house, that s not a bad thing in and of itself. But the autobox hyperkineticism prevents loping, which, again, is what some of us expect from a Lexus, at least occasionally.

Audio/Video ****
Fourteen speakers, 10-channel amp, loads of juice; man, this the joint is jumpin . The last star is withheld for the tiny, cheesing-feeling scan buttons, a CD loading system that requires a post-build instructional sticker and the lack of MP3itude.

Toys*****
The IS 350 gets the full astral whack for the wikkid red lights, which glow inside the tacho when approaching the redline.

Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Lexus IS 350, Part 2


Trunk ****
Plenty of space, but we re taking away a star cause the lid should glide open, not just sit there after a dull thud.

Overall: ****

[by Robert Farago]

Related:
Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Lexus IS 350, Part 1 [internal]