2020 Lexus IS 350

#31
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$42,180 - $44,345
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2020 Lexus IS 350 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: January 8, 2020

Shivendra Garg's image

Shivendra Garg Automotive Content Creator


Sometimes all one wants to do is stand out and is willing to do anything to be acknowledged. Take for consideration the Lexus GS 350. A capable sedan or not, this Lexus looks to be a lot more than just another daily drive. It gets four doors and two rows like any other sedan in its segment but unlike them packs V6 under its hood.

See detailed review »

Pros

Exotic styling

A V6 in a segment of inline-fours

Agile handling

Driver-focused cabin

Cons

Cramped second row

Below average fuel efficiency

What's New?

A new Black Line Special Edition


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$42180

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

RWD

engine type

displacement

211 cu.in.

horsepower

311 hp @ 6600 rpm

torque

277 lbs.-ft. @ 4800 rpm

transmission

8 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front double wishbone suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

60.4/61.0

dimensions

wheelbase

110.2 in.

length

184.3 in.

width

71.3 in.

height

56.3 in.

curb weight

3594 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

90.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

10.8 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.6 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

20/23/28 mpg

ev range

348 mi.

highway range

487.2 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

powertrain warranty

6 yr. / 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr. / unlimited


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

 2020 Lexus IS 350 in Liquid Platinum color  2020 Lexus IS 350 in Eminent White Pearl color  2020 Lexus IS 350 in Caviar color  2020 Lexus IS 350 in Autumn Shimmer color  2020 Lexus IS 350 in Atomic Silver color
Liquid Platinum

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Lexus IS 350 Base

Base

power
311 hp @ 6600 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$42,180 - $44,345


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) Starting at $44,345 MSRP (19/21/26) 311 hp @ 6600 rpm, 3.5L, V-6, premium unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $42,180 MSRP (20/23/28) 311 hp @ 6600 rpm, 3.5L, V-6, premium unleaded
8-speed shiftable automatic rear wheel drive 5

Expert Review


Complementing that 311 hp V6 are unconventional-looking air vents up front that add to the IS 350’s exoticism. On the inside its well laid-out cabin is also plenty pleasing. Clearly the IS 350 carries forward Lexus’s heritage of offering premium, luxury products. In trying to stand out, however, this Lexus sedan misses out on developing a stronger character.

While its V6 is powerful, it lacks excitement. The otherwise upscale interior is devoid of space as well. Other sedans in this segment like the BMW 330i and the Mercedes-Benz C300 offer a much higher sense of practicality even though they might not be as exclusive as the $42,180 Lexus IS 350.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Rear View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Rear View

2020 Lexus IS 350 Features

The Lexus IS 350 is the more capable of the IS lineup. It gets a more potent 311 hp V6 engine. That V6 can be mated to a variety of transmission and drivetrain options. There’s the rear-wheel driven IS 350 which comes equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox only, while the other all-wheel-drive IS 350 gets a six-speed automatic unit as standard.

These configurations can be had across both the base IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport. Now, the standard IS 350 is a fair deal for its price but the F Sport variant offers a lot more premium feel. It gets several F Sport-specific treatments on the inside and out which make this Lexus sedan a more upscale package.

 Though for the year 2020, making a debut on the IS lineup is the F Sport Black Line Special Edition. This IS 350 limited only to 900 units includes exclusive elements like sleeker exterior mirrors, black vapor chrome finish wheels and indigo blue accents throughout the cabin. Besides enhancing appearance, the F Sport Black Line Special Edition version of the IS 350 also gets heated steering wheel and unique Black Nuluxe trimmed seats.

Trim

IS 350

MSRP RWD

$42,180

MSRP AWD

$44,345

Key features

Bluetooth

 

10.3-inch split-screen multimedia display

 

SiriusXM satellite radio

 

HD Radio

Which trim to buy?

The F Sport variant of the IS 350 with the all-wheel drive unit is the most sensible choice. It makes up for zippier performance and the F Sport styling enhancements simply make this Lexus look and feel relatively more upscale. However, if exclusivity is your prime concern the F Sport Black Line Limited Edition is definitely the way to go.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Engine and Performance

Under the long, chiseled hood of the Lexus IS 350 lies a sedate 3.5-liter V6 producing 311 hp and 277 lb.-ft. torque. That V6 can be paired to either to an eight-speed or six-speed automatic gearbox depending on the choice of drivetrain options. The all-wheel-drive variants of the IS 350 come equipped with the six-speed automatic unit, while the rear-wheel-drive variants are mated to the eight-speed automatic gearbox, neither of which feel overly engaging.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Engine Bay
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Has a 3.5-liter V6 premium Engine

Both transmissions are quick to shift, though, the rear-wheel-drive version of the IS 350 F Sport equipped with Torsen limited-slip differential makes up for improved handling and better grip in various driving scenarios, which improves the overall experience of hustling this sedan around.

Models

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

MSRP

$42,180

39,900

$40,750

$41,400

Engine

3.5-liter V6 premium

2.0-liter I4 premium

2.0-liter I4 premium

2.0-liter I4 premium

Transmission

8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

9-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

Horsepower

311 hp @ 6,600 rpm

247 hp @ 5,500 rpm

255 hp @ 5,000 rpm

255 hp @ 5,800 rpm

Torque

280 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm

269 lb.-ft. @ 1,300 rpm

295 lb.-ft @ 1,550 rpm

273 lb.-ft. @ 1,800 rpm

The Lexus IS 350 gets the biggest capacity engine the segment. It is is the only sedan to get a V6 in a lineup where all the other sedans make do with inline four-cylinder engines.

How fast is the Lexus IS 350?

The Lexus IS 350 really impresses with its power and torque figures on paper, but in reality things aren’t as fast. This results from the fact that despite packing a powerful punch, the V6 takes its own time to send all that power to the wheels. Consequently, inputs are met with lethargic responses.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan 0-60 MPH in just 5.6 sec

Also, this Lexus is no lightweight. Its reinforced chassis improves stiffness but adds additional weight, making instant acceleration just that much more difficult. In order to make up for that, the all-wheel-drive unit of this Lexus is smart enough to send up to 70% of the engine’s power to the rear wheels at times when you mash the pedal.

As far as the rear-wheel drive variants with the six-speed automatic gearbox are concerned, it is only the F Sport RWD that is able to make up for the slack in power with its stiffer sport-tuned suspension and Sport S+ mode.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

0-60 MPH

5.6

5.1

5.6

5.5

Quarter Mile

13.9

13.4

13.7

14.1

Engine

3.5L V6

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/yr)

7.7

6.3

5.8

6.3

The Jaguar XE S is the quickest of the lot, and a lot of it results from the fact that it is the lightest in this segment. Also peak torque on this sedan kicks in a lot earlier as compared to others, enabling the Jag to pounce ahead.

What about the braking performance of the Lexus IS 350?

Bringing this Lexus to a halt are ventilated discs with four-piston calipers on all its corners. They features four-sensors and four-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, which make stopping under emergency situations relatively less panicky for the driver.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Brakes
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front Brake is 13.1 in.

This Lexus still weighs in on the heavier side of things, and the brakes are well aware of that. They never bite with aggression. So you might feel a lack of feedback initially but never so much to cause any discomfort.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

Brake front

(in.)

13.1

12.8

N/A

13.0

Brake Rear

(in.)

12.2

12.8

N/A

11.8

Curb Weight

(lbs.)

3594

3385

3589

3472

60-0 MPH (ft.)

128

N/A

123

124

At 3594 pounds, the IS 350 is the heaviest car in this segment, which clearly shows in its braking. The almost as heavy BMW 330i though does a great job of stopping well ahead of the Lexus.

What about its driving dynamics?

All IS 350s might just be the most track-tested Lexus sedans ever as no other Lexus commands the roads quite like this one does. The rear-wheel driven variants of the IS 350 with the eight-speed automatic feature Sport direct-shift transmission, which is offered as standard on all F Sport models. That Sport direct-shift feature includes downshift-throttle blipping for quicker shifts.

What impresses most about the rear-wheel IS 350 though is the level of precision it offers while cornering. Its advanced shifting is modulated with varying G-Forces when going around curves. This allows for requisite power as you charge in and out of them by holding the right gear at the right time.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View

The IS 350 with the six-speed automatic is a hoot too. Its all-wheel drivetrain is smart enough to allocate as much as 70% of the engine’s power, which is usually split 50/50, to the back of this Lexus in situations that ask for it, making handling this sedan plenty agile. On the even more sportier side of things is the F Sport model of the Lexus IS 350.

Besides the Sport direct-shift transmission and F-Sport tuned adaptive suspension, exclusive on the rear-wheel driven IS 350 F Sport is a Torsen limited-slip differential for a more gripier experience. Yet the slouched nature of the IS 350’s V6 is not to be forgotten. Despite all the arsenal that this Lexus packs, it is hesitant at heart. This, however, makes the IS 350 a great city car.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Fuel Economy

Owning a V6 comes with its own disadvantages and reduced efficiency is the most notable of them. Likewise, the Lexus IS 350 is not great with MPG numbers be it in the city or on the highway, where it still manages to catch its breath a bit.

Also the IS 350 is significantly heavy, so it can’t help but eat and eat some more to keep that V6 pumping. The fact that it gets a considerably big fuel tank helps improve this Lexus’s practicality.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

MPG (city)

20

25

26

24

MPG (highway)

28

34

36

35

MPG (combined)

23

28

30

28

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

17.4

16.6

15.6

17.4

Range (city/highway) (miles)

348/487

415/564

406/562

418/609

In a lineup where all other sedans offer almost equal levels of performance and efficiency, the IS 350 appears to be below par, not for lack of trying though.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Interior

As is common with all Lexus models, the cabin of the IS 350 too is definitely upscale for the segment. Well-fitted soft-touch materials make even the base IS 350 look as if it belonged to an upper tier. The synthetic leather covering the seats is also nice-to-touch, though, the IS 350 F Sport offers a way more premium feel.

The F-Sport styling and F-Sport race-inspired design adds performance-inspiring elements like bolstered F Sport seats, performance-oriented gauges and aluminum sport pedals. These little touches go a long way in making the IS 350 look a lot more faster. However, the first-ever F Sport Black Line Special Edition guarantees exclusivity with its indigo blue highlights and black NuLuxe trim seats.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front Seats
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front Seats

Nothing though can be done for passengers wanting to sit back in the rear of this Lexus like its laid back V6. Even though the present IS models have a longer wheelbase than before, legroom in the second row is limited. The sloping roof takes away some of the headroom too. So a practical ride for drives around town only.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.2/55.9/44.8

37.0/56.8/41.5

38.7/56.0/42.0

37.1/55.3/41.7

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

36.9/53.4/32.2

37.0/54.7/35.0

37.6/54.6/35.2

37.1/55.0/35.2

The Lexus IS 350 is clearly driver biased as is evident by the availability of roominess in the first row. Even the F Sport treatment adds heat and ventilation functions only to the first row seats.

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

As a Lexus the IS 350 gets all the necessary gadgets to make sure you don’t mistake it for just another sedan. Besides a 10.3-inch split-screen multimedia display, the IS 350 features the following tech:

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Infotainment System
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Has a 10.3-inch split-screen Multimedia Display
  • Bluetooth
  • HomeLink
  • Navigation
  • SIRI Eyes Free
  • G-force and turbo-boost displays
  • Lexus ENFORM App suite
  • HD radio

What about utility?

The point that the IS 350 is most suited for two people is further proven by the size of its trunks. While it is adequately spacious, it isn’t big enough. It will actually prove most efficient for those trips to the mall.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Cargo Space
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Cargo Volume with rear seats up is 10.8 cu ft.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

10.8

N/A

17.0

12.6

Clearly the size of its trunk is something the IS 350 can boast about. That isn’t the case with the BMW 330i however. Besides a spacious cabin it also gets a bigger boot.

Creature comforts on offer in the Lexus IS 350

The IS 350 may prove to be uncomfortable for second-row passengers but occupants will most definitely acknowledge the comfort features this Lexus sedan has to offer instead. They include:

  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power tilt/telescoping steering wheel
  • Power rear sunshade
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Power-adjustable sport seats
  • 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Interior

2020 Lexus IS 350 Exterior

The IS 350 is the most track-tuned Lexus sedan and you’ll know that even before getting inside it. Simply the way this Lexus looks is reason enough for you to wonder what it might be capable of. The jagged-edged intake at the front look menacing, more so on the F Sport and F Sport Black Line Special Edition.

2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View
2020 Lexus IS 350 Sedan Front View 

These variants feature unique F Sport grille with larger cooling ducts and other aerodynamic elements. While the crooked LED headlights and sculpts on the hood add aggression, the intersecting lines give the sides a sporty stance.

Even the rear has been thoughtfully designed. The dual exhaust pipes and L shaped taillights flair up the chunky tail of the IS 350.

Model

Lexus IS 350

Jaguar XE S

BMW 330i

Mercedes-Benz C300

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3594

3385

3589

3472

Length (in.)

184.3

184.2

185.7

184.5

Width (in.)

71.3

77.4

71.9

71.3

Height (in.)

56.3

55.7

56.8

56.3

Ground Clearance (in.)

N/A

N/A

5.7

N/A

Wheelbase (in.)

110.2

111.6

112.2

111.8

Track Width (in.) F/R

60.4/61.0

63.1/62.4

62.3/62.9

61.5/60.9

No other sedan in this segment weighs quite as much as the Lexus IS 350. Though almost each one of them is longer and more accommodating.

What are those eye catching features?

The Lexus IS 350 incorporates in its design tasteful styling elements like:

  • Lexus spindle grille
  • Triple beam headlamps
  • Air intakes
  • 18-inch wheels
  • Side-body moldings
  • Rear spoiler

2020 Lexus IS 350 Safety

Ensuring all-round safety for the car and all its occupants are several safety features aboard the IS 350 which include:

  • Lexus Safety System+
  • Lexus Enform safety connect
  • Vehicle dynamics integrated management
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • LED headlamps with LED DRLs
  • Intuitive parking assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • 10 airbags
  • Tire pressure monitor system

2020 Lexus IS 350 Competition

Lexus IS 350 vs. Mercedes-Benz C300

The Mercedes-Benz C300 makes life for the Lexus IS 350 quite difficult. Yes, the IS 350 is the more powerful of the two but the C300 isn’t too far behind it in terms of performance. As far as all the other aspects are concerned, the Merc is the clear leader. It is more spacious, more efficient, more practical and at the same time less expensive than the IS 300.

2020 Mercedes-Benz C300
2020 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan

Lexus IS 350 vs. BMW 330i

The BMW 330is one of the best sedans of this segment. The Lexus IS 350 may be a more premium package, but the 3309i is a more practical one. Despite being the quicker of the two, this Bimmer is more fuel efficient that the IS 350. It also gets a bigger boot and a more spacious second row than the more expensive IS 350 too.

2020 BMW 330i
2020 BMW 330i Sedan

 

2020 Lexus IS 350 Final Verdict

If you are willing to sacrifice practicality for exoticsm and a V6, the Lexus IS 350 is definitely worth a look out. Other than that it does not make up for a sensible choice. The engine is slacky, the cabin is cramped and the boot can barely hold all your stuff. The IS 350 is most definitely a kid’s ride.