The IS 250 and IS 350 entered their second generation with a redesign for the 2006 model year. For 2007, each version adds a new X Package option that includes a sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a front lip spoiler, sport pedals, and illuminated door scuff plates. There also is a new Premium Package available on the IS 250 that adds heated and ventilated leather front seats to the all-wheel-drive version and is optional on the rear-drive model.
Lexus launched its sporty, entry-level sedan-the IS Series-in 2001, and immediately attracted a younger group of buyers. The IS sedan was completely redesigned for the 2006 model year to look more like a smaller version of Lexus' GS performance sedan. For 2007, the IS Series is available in three versions: the IS 250 has a 204-hp, 2.5-liter V-6 engine and is available in rear- or all-wheel drive, while the IS 350 gets a 306-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 that powers the rear wheels and propels this sporty sedan from a standing start to 60 mph in just more than 5.5 seconds.
Though compact in size, the IS Series is unquestionably a luxury vehicle. Standard equipment includes vehicle stability control and eight air bags, and premium options such as radar-guided active cruise control, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround sound audio system are also available.
The IS Series comes with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic warranty with roadside assistance, as well as a 72-month/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Additionally, Lexus has announced that, for the 2008 model year, it will add a high-performance IS-F model to the lineup. The IS-F will have a 400-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 engine, a unique 8-speed sport-shift transmission, huge Brembo brakes, and 19-inch wheels among other performance hardware upgrades.
The Lexus IS Series competes in the Compact Premium Conventional segment, which consists of 15 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, exterior styling, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the BMW 3 Series (120,180 units sold), Acura TL (71,348), and Infiniti G35 (60,741). The Lexus IS Series sold 54,267 units in 2006, an increase of 243.7 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Premium Conventional segment include the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Acura TSX, and Volvo S40 / V50.