- - Friday, August 8, 2014

The fancy 2014 Lexus IS 350 is not only cutting edge cool, but refined and redesigned perfectly for the buyer looking for pristine styling and an interior complete with amenities that surpass the usual fare.

New highlights this year include a revamped look and a larger interior, including a more comfortable back seat and more standard features offered too.

Considered a compact sport sedan, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 is in competition with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Cadillac ATS.

Offered with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels with all-season tires, HID headlamps, LED daytime running and brake lights, heated side mirrors and on the AWD heated front seats too as well as a moon roof, keyless ignition and entry and a dual-zone automatic climate control. For added comfort there are eight-way power front seats and a nice feel of leatherette vinyl upholstery with a 60/40 folding rear seat that also comes with an armrest.

For technology lovers the IS 350 has the Safety Connect telematics system and that means a high-end sound system with weather and traffic updates included as well as HD radio. The seven-inch screen is a good size and there is also a Bluetooth phone and audio connect offering voice recognition.

For option packages the premium package adds not only LED headlights, but also heated and cooled front seats with the luxury package giving you a blind-spot monitoring system that includes auto-dimming side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, wood trim and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

Another option catering to the sportier driver is the F Sport package in either rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive and added to the mix too are LED headlamps, extra treatment for the grille and a different look for the bumper. There are also 18-inch wheels versus the 17 found on the other trim packages and a choice of the all-season or summer tires with sport-tuned suspension. The adjustable sport seats, leather trim on the steering wheel and a shift knob with a sporty looking instrument cluster with aluminum trim on the pedals also adds to the sport vibe on the F sport.

Opting for the rear-drive in the F Sport and there is adaptive suspension and a Sport setting integrated into the drive mode selections.

The Navigation package adds a remote touch controller for the infotainment and navigation system. You also get a rearview camera, real-time traffic and extra Bluetooth and smartphone apps with a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

For stand-alone choices it’s a rearview camera, 18-inch wheels, cruise control/pre-collision system, lane departure warning and front/rear parking sensors.

Under the hood, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 306 horsepower engine with 277 pound-feet of torque. With an eight-speed automatic transmission and the rear-wheel-drive the standard, all-wheel-drive is available. With either transmission there is a steering-wheel paddle shifter.

Safety features vary depending on packages, but you automatically get the standard antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side, front knee, side curtain and dual rear-seat side airbags. Add-ons are as diverse as a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, a lane-departure warning system and a pre-collision warning system that brakes for the driver in the event of an impending crash.

Inside, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 was redesigned with some luxurious additions that include a larger backseat to the tune of 1.6 inches for longer legs and the 60/40 split is good for extra hauling, however you get 13.8 cubic feet in the trunk standard. Of course, the material used on the Lexus interior is top-of-the-line with plenty of padding all around and comfortable seats for high-end driving around town or road trips.

The 2014 Lexus IS 350 comes in a convertible option with two-doors and is a real head turner including the new dashboard and center console with the knobs in the right place for easy use and the overall feel of comfort and stability.

A smooth, yet powerful engine that offers excellent handling and steering as well as an enjoyable and easy ride, this Lexus makes you want to get behind the wheel, just because!

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