The compact IS sedan is one of Lexus’ sportier cars with the IS 350 offering a much more engaging driving experience compared to the IS 250. Lexus says the IS 350 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds compared to 7.9 seconds for the IS 250.
IS 250 models come with a 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine; the IS 350 has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, making 304 hp. As expected, that extra 100 hp isn’t free; the MSRP for the base 2009 IS 350 is $5,450 more than the IS 250. The entry level IS 250 with manual transmission is rated with EPA gas mileage ratings of 18/26 mpg city/highway while the optional automatic is 21/29 mpg; the IS 350 is 18/25 mpg.
Standard interior features are nearly equal between both models. The IS 350 adds larger brakes that translate to stronger, more precise braking. Only IS 250 rear-wheel-drive models come with a six-speed manual transmission; the more powerful IS 350 uses a six-speed automatic transmission.
All-wheel drive is available on the IS250, but unless you travel to wintry areas outside of your Southern California location, all-wheel drive might not be a deciding factor in your purchase.
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