The Lexus IS series offers a stylish design and comfortable ride combined with precise handling and excellent resale value. Available as a four-door sedan or a two-door hardtop convertible, the IS fits comfortably into the sports/luxury category. It comes well equipped with many features that are usually presented as options on competing models. Lexus produces three distinctive IS versions including the 250, 350 and F model, which are distinguished primarily by engine output and overall performance.
There are several different transmission, engine and drive train options available throughout the IS line. The IS 250 comes with a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 204 horsepower and 185 lb/ft of torque. The 350 version has a 3.5-liter V-6 that that is rated at 306 horsepower and 277 lb/ft of torque. The high performance IS-F has a 5.0 liter V-8 that delivers a heart pounding 416 horsepower with 371 lb/ft of torque. Both the IS 250 and 350 are available in All Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive versions. The IS can be purchased with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The current Lexus IS series evolved from the IS300, which was introduced in 2001 and sold through 2005. The IS300 was faster and offered a more intensive driver experience than the current models, but it wasn't as comfortable, refined or luxurious. While targeted to compete with the BMW 3 series, the Lexus IS has never surpassed more than 20% of the 3 series annual sales.
The IS received a slight facelift in 2011 and comes equipped with a variety of standard luxury appointments. The car has an appearance that leans slightly forward, partially because of the face that the front tires are one size smaller than the rear tires. The body shape is contoured in a sleek aerodynamic style and includes a curved trunk lid that is complimented by attractive high efficiency LED brake and tail lights. The convertible models have slightly longer door panels and include a folding hard top, but otherwise retain the distinctive IS look.
Standard appointments include leather accents, 10-way power front seats, a power moon roof, an auto dimming rear view mirror and dual zone climate control. AWD models also come with standard heated seats. The audio system includes a six-disc CD changer, 194 watts of power and 13 speakers. Connections for USB, iPod and Bluetooth are also provided as standard features. The Premium Value Edition package adds wood trim, perforated leather seat trim and heated front seats for all models. The Luxury Plus package offers a fully featured navigation system and a premium Mark Levinson audio sound system. The IS sedan received a 2006 J.D Power award for best vehicle in the entry luxury class.
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