Lexus launched the newest generation of the IS in 2006, with the IS 250 and IS 350. The IS then became the platform for Lexus' BMW M3 competitor, the IS-F. Now Lexus offers a la carte F Sport components to hot up the standard IS models.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
We looked at a 2009 Lexus IS 350 kitted up with F Sport engine and suspension accessories. In addition, Lexus included some cosmetic and handling updates for the 2009 model year.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
The IS 350 uses a 3.5-liter V-6 with a unique dual-injection system, combining port and direct injection. Visible in this picture is the wide tube of the F Sport air intake.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
This IS 350 sits lower to the ground than a standard IS 350, because of the F Sport lowering springs. The ride quality is harsher than with the standard IS 350, but the handling is better.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
Wheels and brakes have also been upgraded with F Sport accessories. These brakes give the IS 350 excellent stopping power, and are easy to modulate with the pedal.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
Suspension upgrades include Bilstein-sourced shocks, sway bars, and a chassis stiffener. The result is a car that stays flat in the corners.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
These exhaust pipes are also an F Sport upgrade. They produce an aggressive note.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
Lexus luxury is evident inside the car, but the cabin electronics have not been updated since the 2006 launch.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
There aren't any steering-component upgrades from the F Sport accessories, but steering benefits from the rigidity of the car.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
The speedometer and tachometer on the IS 350 each have an amber, illuminated ring that lights up when you go over a certain speed or push the redline.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
The six-speed automatic in the IS 350 is fine for normal driving, but a letdown for sport driving. You can use manual mode to hold third gear, which has a wide power band, but the sport mode tends to stay in fourth gear.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
Paddle shifters, attached to the steering wheel spokes, let you manually select gears.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
The navigation system in the IS 350 looks good and works reasonably fast, but lacks any advanced features.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
A Mark Levinson audio system uses 14 speakers and a 300-watt amp to deliver excellent sound quality.
Updated:
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

Big stars on small screens

Smosh tells CNET what it took to make it big online

Internet sensations Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla discuss how YouTube has changed and why among all their goals, "real TV" isn't an ambition.

Hot Products