I purchased the Lexus IS350 from Don Valley North Lexus of Toronto, and had my hands on the beauty for almost a year, but unfortunately due to the pre-requisite wallet tightening of living on a pre-revenue startup income, combined with the gift of my beautiful newborn son, placed me in the reluctant place of having to give this vehicle away to a very lucky soul.
I was treated like gold at the dealership, better than any I've been to and one of the main reasons why I purchased the car in the first place. I've owned many cars in my life, at least 14 - 15, with quite a few sport and luxury vehicles on the list ranging from BMW to Mercedes, and even a Mazda RX8. I have to say that being someone who has raced in my youth, and experienced driving exotic cars from many genres, the Lexus IS350 is probably the best balanced vehicle I have ever driven that falls squarely between both sport and luxury.
The performance was awesome, over 300 horsepower and more torque than you know what to do with... I never found myself wanting for power (while keeping my license out of jeopardy anyway). The straight-line pull was impressive, while the luxury feel and comfort of the ride was better than any car I've ever owned. It felt solid too, the only car I've been in that had a similar type of solid stiffness when driving around Toronto's rough streets was a Porsche, so you know the IS350 is in good company. For a four door sedan the handling was surprising, it matched and/or exceeded the RX8 in almost any condition (except slick surfaces, read drawback below). The mileage was impressive as well, I would routinely see 400km on a 40 litre tank, where the Mazda RX8 was lucky to hit 280.
The only real drawback to this vehicle was due to the amazing torque and performance in a rear wheel drive layout. In Toronto, we can have some pretty brutal winters. Even with some of the best winter performance tires you can buy, combined with over 100 pounds of added weight in the trunk, I still needed a full car load of people to feel truly comfortable driving. The car has a button called "snow mode" that in all honesty is a complete joke. All it does is limit your torque to non-existence, and when you're in any more than 2 inches of snow it's almost un-drivable.
Warning: In this economy it's important to note that Lexus Financial of Canada is one of the worst companies to deal with when it comes to being late on a payment for any reason. Even with a $5, 000 security deposit and almost a year of on-time payment history, they will issue repossession with as little as 2 payments outstanding, and without notice! Of course they keep the security deposit to boot.
Now for my final words; Would I buy another one?
Lease through Toyota Canada Credit? Probably not... ever. Direct buy? If I could afford dropping $55k on a vehicle, definitely... Lexus, I just have one thing on the wish-list for you, a Lexus IS350 AWD!