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The new 2014 Lexus IS 350 lacks the athleticism of its German rivals, but still stands out with traditional Lexus refinement and a healthy (enough) measure of sport.
Smooth, powerful V6; comfortable ride; top-notch interior; more rear seat room and trunk space.
Less sporty than the outgoing model.
Available IS 350 Sedan Models
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The 2014 Lexus IS 350 will be fully redesigned. Highlights include a new eight-speed transmission, a retuned suspension and additional interior room.
In the wake of the newly overhauled GS 350, we expected similar leaps forward of athleticism from the 2014 Lexus IS sport sedan. Instead, it appears that Lexus has a different idea in mind, making the redesigned 2014 model more luxurious and comfortable.
The new IS 350 rides on a longer wheelbase. Lexus hasn't said exactly how much longer, but given the larger rear seat area we've observed, we'll say at least 1.5 inches. That's commendable and welcome in the notoriously cramped IS. Revised, more comfortable front seats and the latest electronic features will also be part of the IS's makeover.
The 2014 Lexus IS 350 carries over its 3.5-liter V6, a smooth operator that churns out 300 horsepower. That engine is now joined to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the same one found in the high-performance IS F. The new IS also features a stiffer body structure and a retuned suspension (with adaptive dampers on the F Sport trim levels) that helps make the IS feel more stable and enhances steering feel. A revised rear suspension design taken from the new GS sedan also opens up some trunk space.
In our initial drive of a prototype IS, however, we were a bit underwhelmed.
Dynamically, the new IS has gone a little soft. Perhaps it's the longer wheelbase or retuned suspension, but the new IS 350 didn't feel as lively or as eager to change direction around corners as the outgoing model. The eight-speed transmission also wasn't as responsive as we expected.
The new IS sport sedan goes on sale this summer. Check back for a full review of the 2014 Lexus IS 350, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice, as it becomes available.
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