What Changed for 2009:
- Exterior styling update for the IS 250 and IS 350 includes grille, wheels, tail lamps and front and rear bumpers
- Turn signals incorporated into exterior rearview mirrors
- Updated interior design including revised instrument panel and air vents
- D-Mode paddle shifting for IS 250 and IS 350
- Revised suspension and steering geometry
- New advanced vehicle control technology for IS 250
- Two-tone interior for IS F with available Piano Black center cluster finish
- New exterior and interior colors
At the turn of the century, luxury automaker Lexus
introduced a new entry-level model, the IS
. The car was smaller and sportier than the larger Lexus models and appealed to a new and younger audience. The IS was redesigned for the 2006 model year
, with the IS 250 and the IS 350 both powered by V-6 engines. For 2008, a new and ultra-high-performance version was added
, the IS F
, a road-going racecar with a 416-hp V-8 powerplant.Model Lineup
There are three versions of the Lexus IS for 2009. All are compact, 4-door sedans with sporty designs and dynamics. The IS 250 is available with rear- or all-wheel drive (RWD or AWD). The IS 350 and IS F have RWD. Standard equipment on the IS 250 and IS 350 includes projector-beam headlamps; fog lamps; side-view mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps; black cloth seats; power windows and locks; tilt and telescoping steering column; auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass; HomeLink programmable garage door opener; 194-watt, 13-speaker AM/FM audio system with an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer and MP3/iPod/WMA input; first aid and tool kits; and remote-activated, SmartAccess-linked illuminated entry that brightens the interior when the doors are unlocked. The IS 250 AWD version also gets standard leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Compared to the IS 250 and IS 350, the IS F has wider fenders, a taller hood, special brake cooling vents, larger rocker panels, and a large rear spoiler. It rides on 19-inch wheels. Standard features also include bi-Xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive headlamps (that turn to see around corners), two-tone interior, four leather-trimmed sports seats with 10-way power adjustment for the heated front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering column, sport suspension, and Brembo brakes.
A long list of option packages are available on the various Lexus IS models.Powertrain
The 2009 Lexus IS 250 has a 2.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 204 hp and operates via 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The rear-drive IS 250 with manual transmission is EPA-rated at 18 mpg in town and 26 mpg on the highway. With the automatic transmission, the figures are 21 and 29, respectively. With AWD, only the automatic is available. Fuel-economy ratings are 20 and 26, respectively. The IS 350 gets a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that pumps out 306 hp. Linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain delivers 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. The IS F draws on a 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 416 hp and matched to an 8-speed automatic sport-shift transmission, yet is rated an ultra low-emission vehicle (ULEV, as are the IS 250 and IS 350). The IS F is rated at 16 mpg in city driving and at 23 mpg on the highway by the EPA.Safety
Front, side and curtain air bags are standard on all 2009 Lexus IS models, as are anti-lock brakes, traction control, vehicle stability control and direct tire-pressure monitors.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
), the 2009 IS 250 and IS 350 receive 4 stars (out of 5) in frontal crash testing for both the driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star side-impact scores for front-seat occupants and 4 stars for rear-seat occupants, as well as 5 stars for rollover resistance. The NHTSA has not crash tested the IS F, which has slightly different sheetmetal and other modifications. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
) gave the 2008 IS 250 and IS 350 "Good" ratings for frontal and side-impact tests, its highest. In rear impacts, the IS 250 and IS 350 received an "Acceptable" rating.Technology
For 2009, the IS 250 joins the list of Lexus models equipped with the advanced Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that integrates and manages a host of handling technologies more quickly than other dynamic handling systems can, the manufacturer claims. The VDIM integration strategy provides precise control for the Electronically Controlled Brakes (ECB), Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), ABS, brake assist (BA), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle.
In the IS F, VDIM is specially calibrated to accommodate the demands of high-performance track driving, Lexus says. Using a dashboard switch, the driver can select Normal, Sport or Snow driving modes. In Sport mode, VDIM allows higher dynamic thresholds before intervening and alters steering assist to increase steering feel. Sport mode enables optimal vehicle control on a track in areas where the skills of even top-level drivers are challenged, the maker states. Also in the IS F, VDIM provides an electronically controlled brake-based limited-slip differential effect on the rear wheels. During cornering, VDIM suppresses any tendency for the inside wheel to spin, transmitting more power to the outside wheel to maintain traction and momentum. The experienced driver can disengage the stability and traction control systems by pressing and holding the TRAC-off button for more than three seconds.