2014 Lexus IS Long-Term Update 3: IS 350 AWD
Round 2: More Engine, More Wheels Driven
As you may recall, this long-term test is different. Wanting to see us cover almost the entire IS model line rather than just one car, Lexus sent us an IS 250 rear-wheel drive model to start and has now swapped it out for an IS 350 all-weather drive (in Lexus speak) model. This one will swap out for a rear-wheel drive IS 350 F Sport in a few months.
In the meantime, let's talk about the new ride. In addition to a long list of options not spec'd on the 250, the 350 AWD packs a bigger engine and all-wheel drive. 102 extra horsepower courtesy of an extra liter of displacement makes for a substantial difference in performance, as does AWD traction. The result: 5.3 seconds to 60 mph, nearly two seconds quicker than the 250's 7.2-second sprint.
The difference in power is more than noticeable in everyday driving. The 250 was quick enough to keep up with traffic, but the 350 is genuinely quick. I do wish it had more low-end torque, as that would be more useful in typical driving. As it is, the power band is linear but clearly weighted on the top end. Between 5000 and 6000 rpm, it really scoots. Even dropping the car in Sport mode doesn't sharpen the throttle tip-in as much as I'd like. That said, proper application of the loud pedal will get this car moving fine.
When it comes to how the car drives, the difference is less obvious. You might expect the AWD would change the handling characteristics, but it isn't noticeable. The steering is no heavier and no less communicative, and there's no hint of torque steer. An advantage of the full-time all-wheel drive system is you'll never feel the front axle connecting and disconnecting, which means it won't upset the handling. A disadvantage is a small penalty in fuel economy, which is already slightly low for the class. Understeer is still the default when you test the limits.
|2014 Lexus IS 350 AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$50,220|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.5L/306-hp/277-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3822 lb (54/46%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||183.7 x 71.3 x 56.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.9 sec @ 99.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||117 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.85 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.4 sec @ 0.69 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/26/21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||177/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.90 lb/mile|
More on our long-term 2014 Lexus IS:
|Service life||3 mo/3424 mi|
|Average fuel economy||19.1 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||1.02 lb/mi|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ||19/26/21 mpg|
|Energy consumption||176 kW-hr/100mi|