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The IS lineup is produced in the Tahara Toyota Motor plant, which is one of the most computerized and robotized automotive plants in the world. The plant is spread out over four million square meters, and it even has direct port access for more efficient international shipping. The Lexus brand represents the pinnacle of the already well-respected Toyota brand, with track like performance added to the top of the line quality and reliability expected from the company often quoted as the inventor of many of today’s manufacturing processes and standards.
Test driving the Lexus IS 350, was quite enjoyable. It was exciting and responsive which helped bring some joy to what is normally a dreary commute. Our car came with the F Sport package, which included some further refinement in styling such as the dark mesh front grill and larger and more functional brake cooling ducts. The interior was also heightened with some sportier vented and heated front seats, a 3-spoke steering wheel, and fancy aluminum brake and gas pedals. The 10.3 display is controlled by the annoying Lexus Remote Touch input, while the haptic feedback was nice, I found myself continually overshooting the chosen icon and having to fiddle with it more than I would have liked too. The available 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound Audio system provided home theater like quality, and the IS 350 includes all the features expected from a luxury sedan. The F Sport package also included some performance features like Sport S/S+ modes providing faster gear changes, with reduced body roll through Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) damping the force of the shock absorbers.
The Lexus IS 350 is powered by a 3.5L V6 producing 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The AWD models use a six-speed automatic transmission where the RWD model uses an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. While this is plenty of power for the average daily drive, at this price point on paper the IS 350 does fall behind some of its direct competitors.