If not quite as hot as the IS-F released last year, the IS 350 ups the ante within the mainstream IS lineup – midway between the IS F’s V8 grunt and the IS 250’s smaller 2.5-litre V6, now retuned for strict Euro 5 emissions regulations.
The IS 350 features a gutsy 3.5-litre V6 powerplant clearly designed to compete with the bigger six-cylinder prestige offerings from BMW, Benz and Audi. You’ll see the new IS 350 at the Australian International Motor Show alongside the newly facelifted IS 250 and the jaw-dropping LFA supercar.
The IS 350’s new 3.5-litre engine develops a healthy 228kW and 375Nm, and is mated to a six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Together with the IS 350’s trim dimensions and light weight, the package will see 100km/h on the dial from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds – a significant performance improvement over and above that of the IS 250.
Something else that’s new, and hints at Lexus’s new sportier DNA – the IS 350’s ‘F Sport’ ID, together with more sport-oriented suspension, a unique wheel/tyre package, edgier front end plus HID xenon headlamps and LED-based daytime running lights.
Pricing is, at the time of writing, still anyone’s guess. That’s due to be announced as the Motor Show kicks off – with the likely best guess in the $90,000 ballpark.