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Twelve Observations Concerning the Lexus IS 350

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Last day of Japan Week, get it while it's hot! With the we-now-know 416 horsepower Lexus IS-F about to drop, we thought we'd take this opportunity to get one last look the previous Lexus performance champ, the IS 350. If you like bells and whistles and beeps (and $47,000 price tags) the IS 350 might just be the car you've been looking for, as our tester is two martinis past fully loaded. Seriously, it has radar. Though we are left wondering what it would be like with a manual and 500 pounds of sound insulation/other stuff ripped out. Perhaps the IS-F is the answer? Perhaps.

When you hit 75 mph, an orange ring lights up inside the speedometer. When you get close to redline, a red ring lights up inside the tachometer. And when you hit 100 mph, the once orange speedo ring glows red. Red on red, baby.


With 3.5-liters pushing out 306 horses, this is a very quick car. Bloody fast? Not exactly, but that orange ring pops up more often than not.

Needs a clutch pedal! Manumatics r 4 teh sUx.

We dig the radar-guided cruise control as it makes long hauls quite effortless.


With the sunroof there is no headroom, the steering wheel angle changes far too much as you raise the wheel, the seats offer no bolstering and the side mirrors are so massive that they create blind spots behind the A-pillars.

When you shift into reverse, a backup camera turns on. And flashed across the bottom of the screen is, "Check Surroundings For Safety." Luckily if you get close to something it beeps, so you can yell, "No, you check surroundings for safety."

Supposedly has air conditioned seats, but you would never know it. Even cranked all the way.

The Mark Levinson 87 speaker, 97 billion watt stereo is worth its weight in gold. It simply sounds brilliant. The sparkling acoustics even delighted my iPod, which decided to pump out a fantastic shuffle list consisting of King Buzzo's solo album, the Fucking Champs, Cop Shoot Cop, Hella, Mastodon, Slayer, Killdozer, NoMeansNo, the Minutemen, Opeth and Teeth of the Lion Rule the Divine. Yes, we always listen to death metal when we roll in a Lexus.


Only the legless and those prone to masochism need apply for entrance to the rear seats.

The navigation system has the most utterly useless voice recognition system yet released. We said, "Thousand Oaks" and it activated fast food icons. In all fairness, that's pretty brilliant. Though when we said, "Handjob" it switched itself off.


Strong, aggressive brakes. However, hard driving induces fade.

You can disable the traction control, though we'd advise against it. While sublime in a straight line, corners are not the IS 350's forte. Especially considering those seats. Best to live and tell about it.