2019 Lexus IS 350 AWD: maximum power, luxury sports sedan


That’s my middle name.

The latest example was the 2019 Lexus IS 350 AWD F SPORT sports sedan.

If you crave maximum power, the IS 350 delivers in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter, V6, 24-valve, dual overhead cam, direct-inject engine with variable valve timing produces 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of peak torque.

Rear-wheel drive models use the same eight-speed sport direct-shift automatic transmission found in the IS 300 RWD, while my tester sent power through a six-speed automatic.

There’s a reason why the car’s coat of enamel is called Redline Red. It’s a true sport sedan in every sense of the term. It delivered exhilarating performance, distinctive styling and world-class quality in a luxurious package.

Let’s just say I enjoyed the IS 350 in short – but fun – bursts.

The car also looks the part with a rear spoiler, L-shaped LED taillights and chrome-tipped dual exhaust.

The F SPORT package heightened the IS 350’s handling capabilities with unique suspension tuning, 18-inch wheels (with black lug nuts) and an optional adaptive variable suspension. Also included are LFA-inspired instrumentation, dark gray streamline interior trim and unique F SPORT exterior styling enhancements. Heated and ventilated sport seats are also part of the package along with a black headliner, aluminum pedals and a leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel.

Comfort is not sacrificed for any of the aforementioned performance – a fact I appreciate. Luxuries abound in the Lexus IS, including standard NuLuxe-trimmed seating, 10-way power front sport seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with touch-sensitive controls, power moon roof and SmartAccess with push button start.

Other goodies included a Mark Levinson premium audio system with 15 speakers and 835 watts, illuminated door sills, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an optional navigation system with 10.3 inch screen. A Scout GPS link included 3D functionality and turn-by-turn directions.

Safety takes on an even higher calling on a sports car like the IS 350. And, of course, it does not disappoint.

Ten airbags are standard, and all IS models employ the innovative Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, which integrates: anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, traction control and vehicle stability control.

Lexus Safety System+ is standard, which included a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and forward-collision warning, lane-departure alert with steering assist, intelligent high beam and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control. A blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert system is also available.

Base Price: $45,090

Price As Drive: $56,475

Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.

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