NEW FOR 2008:

– IS 350 RWD exchanges ventilated, premium-leather seats for heated leather seats
– New IS F model
– B, C and D option package content changed
– Exterior colour: Glacier Frost deleted

For 2008, the Lexus IS 250 and 350 are unchanged, save for alterations to its option packages, which have items added or deleted, depending on the package. The big news is the introduction of the all-new performance IS F model.

The IS line-up consists of the IS 250, which uses a 2.5-litre V6; the IS 350, which uses a 3.5-litre V6; and the IS F, which uses a 5.0-litre V8. All are four-door sedans; the 250 is available in rear- or all-wheel drive, while the 350 is rear-wheel only. The RWD 250 uses a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode; the AWD 250 and 350 use the automatic only. The IS F uses an eight-speed automatic.

Features on the RWD 250 include 16-inch alloy wheels, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, fabric seats, power locks with Smart Key system, tilt and telescopic wheel, pushbutton start, cruise control, driver and passenger knee airbags, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, and fog lamps.

The AWD 250 adds 17-inch alloy wheels and power driver’s seat.

The 350 adds staggered-width tires, heated leather seats, 10-way power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, and power sunroof.

The IS F adds 19-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brake pads, F-specific steering wheel, black and white contoured sport seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and adaptive bi-Xenon headlamps with washers.

The IS family offers a luxury sports sedan experience at a relatively low price, and with the option of all-wheel drive. It’s great fun to manually row the 250’s gearbox; at the other end of the scale, it’s great fun to experience the IS F’s 416 horses. Suspension and handling are tight and responsive on all models, although the ride can be too firm, and road imperfections work their way into the cabin on all models. Overall, though, the IS series is comfortable, styling is handsome, and the quality is excellent.

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