2009 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Lexus IS 350 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lexus IS 350 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 306 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Lexus IS 350

  • The 2009 Lexus IS 350 is worth a close look if you value style, comfort and refinement over all-out sportiness.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth and swift V6, comfortable ride, capable handling, top-notch interior quality.

  • Cons

    Cramped backseat, less engaging to drive than other sport sedans, no manual transmission.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Lexus IS 350 receives a handful of minor tweaks, including subtle interior and exterior styling changes, a more advanced stability control system, slightly revised suspension tuning and a two-tone interior option.

Full 2009 Lexus IS 350 Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 receives a handful of minor tweaks, including subtle interior and exterior styling changes, a more advanced stability control system, slightly revised suspension tuning and a two-tone interior option.


When it comes to resources, we suspect a lot of other luxury automakers are envious of Lexus. While most brands have just one entry-level sedan to their name, Lexus has two, the ES 350 and the IS series. This double-barreled approach allows Lexus to have the right car for everyone. The ES is the comfortable luxury cruiser while the IS 250 and IS 350 are meant to be sharply honed sport sedans. The 2009 Lexus IS 350's strikingly taut styling, sporty interior and powerful 306-horsepower V6 complement its rear-wheel-drive layout. In other words, the 2009 Lexus IS 350 has what sport-sedan shoppers are looking for.

At least, that's how it appears on paper. However, driving the IS 350 may be something of a letdown from the dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast's perspective. The 3.5-liter V6 is unquestionably a highlight, providing smooth yet thrilling acceleration at the drop of your right foot. Unfortunately, the only available transmission is an automatic, and it's a slow-shifting one at that. Moreover, while the IS 350's steering is accurate, it's notably uncommunicative. Handling limits are quite high, but the brake pedal doesn't inspire confidence with its long travel and soft feel. On the whole, it seems that Lexus was aiming for a slightly less sporty demographic with this car, namely buyers who want the aesthetics and track numbers of a sport sedan along with the compliant ride and coddling interior of a luxury sedan.

If that sounds appealing to you, then the IS 350 hits the bull's-eye. The quality of the interior materials is excellent, noise levels are Lexus-low and the IS 350's aggressively styled exterior belies its supple suspension tuning. As a sharp-looking compact luxury sedan with a world-class motor and a sporty flavor, the IS 350 is an unqualified success. Just know that you may be disappointed if you expect this Lexus to give a BMW 3 Series sedan or an Infiniti G35 a run for its money when the going gets twisty.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 compact luxury sport sedan is available in a single trim level. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather seating, power front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control and a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Optional features (mostly offered through packages) include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a memory function for the driver and passenger seats, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a power rear sunshade, 18-inch wheels and rain-sensing wipers. Also available are a navigation system, a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, adaptive cruise control, park assist and a sport-tuned suspension. A sport suspension package dubbed the X Package features a firmer suspension calibration, 18-inch wheels, sport-biased tires and aluminum pedals.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive 2009 Lexus IS 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 306 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission choice is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The IS 350 accelerates with the tenacity of a dedicated sports car, as the 0-60 sprint requires just 5.6 seconds. Although the transmission offers quick manual-style gearchanges, it doesn't match revs on downshifts like some rival automatics do.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.


Antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard on the 2009 Lexus IS 350. Optional is a pre-collision system (PCS) that comes packaged with adaptive cruise control. The PCS uses a radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. If the computer determines that a collision is unavoidable, it pre-emptively stiffens the suspension, retracts the front seatbelts and initializes brake assist so increased braking can be applied the instant the brake pedal is pressed.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the IS 350 earned a perfect "Good" rating for its performance in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. In government crash testing, the IS 350 earned four stars (out of a possible five) for both frontal crash protection and rear-passenger side-impact protection. Its front-passenger side-impact protection received a five-star rating.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Lexus IS 350 boasts a finely wrought interior, with top-notch materials and an attractively sporty design. Fit and finish is generally excellent. Lexus also offers one of the best electronics interfaces in the business, with easy-to-use controls all around. The optional navigation system and accompanying touchscreen are particularly user-friendly.

Most compact sport sedans aren't generous with rear-seat legroom, and this is particularly true of the IS 350. Adults or even large children may not be happy in the rear seat on long road trips -- especially with a taller driver up front. Don't let the IS 350's four doors fool you; in terms of interior space, it's more akin to a luxury coupe.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Lexus IS 350's creamy-smooth V6 hurtles you toward the horizon at the slightest provocation. It's just a shame that such a brilliant engine is stuck with the IS 350's slow-witted automatic transmission and relatively uncommunicative steering. The car's handling capabilities are formidable, but the IS 350 is not nearly as engaging to drive as segment benchmarks like the BMW 335i and the Infiniti G35. The Lexus does offer an impressively compliant ride, however. Should the standard chassis setup seem too soft, you can opt for the X Package, which includes a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch summer tires.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Hard to beat the whole

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This car is the best I've ever owned overall. The only thing I would trade would be a BMW sport suspension, but it's not worth all the frustration I've had with my 535i ($20k more than the IS!). I've had both the 250 and 350. I stuck with the IS350 because I value the acceleration, but the IS250 is really great and sporty with good mileage. The rear wheel drive platform has very precise steering with a firm suspension that still soaks up bumps pretty well. If you like a cushy, quiet ride, go with the ES. BMW, Acura, and Infiniti don't hold a candle to the overall combination of performance, reliability, and dealer experience. There is no better service department than that of Lexus.

Best bang for your buck!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I switched from an 03 BMW 530i. Yes I gave up a lot of interior room; but thats it! I gained so much more when I purchased this vehicle. It's faster, more reliable, better looking, fit and finish is worlds apart from BMW. Did I mention more reliable; so long to numerous trips to the repair shop. I am really enjoying this ride!

Worth every penny

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I decided on the IS350 mainly because of the great experiences I had from my IS250 in Asia. It is not a BMW, but I know it's likely to give me less trouble. I upgraded the sway bar with the F-sports parts, and it is definitely worth every penny.

This car rocks!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Test drove MB C350, Caddy CTS, Infiniti G37, M35X, Jag XF. All great cars however for me the IS 350 had the most bang for the buck. It is very fast, (5.1 secs 0-60), handling and quality are awesome and Smokey Granite Mica paint with light gray interior is absolutely gorgeous IMO. The ride is a little harsher as the suspension was returned for 2009, however the handling makes up for it and is never too harsh. AND Iíve been averaging 25 MPG about 50/50% city/hwy driving. My Infiniti G35C only Avg 21 MPG... I made the right decision, a lot of car for the money!

It's a rocket

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have owned the is350 for 14 days approx... Ok it's a fun car to drive, the paddle shifters are a bit slow, faster on the 335i beemer twin turbo. I test drove these vehicles, CTS, ISF, IS350, BMW335i, Audi S4, C 63 AMG. Like them all. Ended up with IS350 and it's a good practical choice. Fuel economy is above average, comfort is good. Fit n finish this car is an excellent value, picked up the 09' for 7k less than asking price, car is fully loaded, plus 3m invisible shield, tint, nav. No question about it, great value, fit n finish is...? Well let's just say it's a Lexus.

The performance of lexus is350

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus IS 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased a Lexus IS350 with fabric seats in 2008 autumn. I traded a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 260E for it. My IS350 has average fuel consumption of 23.5mpg, far better than that of 20.4mpg for the Mercedes 260E. The acceleration is very exhilarating, reaching 0-62mph times of 5.2sec, SS1/4miles is about 14.2sec (That's not far from the best data of 13.5sec, of an American media.). Namely, my IS350's level of performance is about the same level as that of the Mercedes E550,the BMW335i,and even a Maserati Quattroporte of 401 horsepower! Max speed of my Japanese version is electronically limited at 180km/h (112mph), but if the limiter removed, it has the potential of reaching 270-280km/h (170-175mph).

Talk About The 2009 IS 350

2009 Lexus IS 350 Discussions See all Started By

Searching the internet recently and found these photo's of the next generation RX. It looks like production will begin in late December 2008 with sales beginning in early Spring 2009.....

RX will be re-designed for 2010 and might hit the showrooms sometime Spring-Early Summer 2009, I thought of starting this discussion so that we can keep ourselves updated with latest information....

I've been researching the Lexus for a couple of months now. I want a 2009 and even rode in a friends 2008 last week. I liked everything but the front dash. I don't like the navagation system (big ?...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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