Lexus IS350 AWD Model Announced, ES350 Tuned for Regular Fuel
Lexus has released a very long list of updates and price changes to its lineup of vehicles for 2011, with a few important changes tucked away in the lengthy press releases. The biggest news is the introduction of a new IS350 AWD model. Previously Lexus only offered an all-wheel drive 250 version of the IS, but now customers can enjoy the power and traction. No 0-60 mph times were released (it’s Lexus after all) and its not clear if the added traction will provide any acceleration improvement over the RWD model’s 5.3 second time, especially considering it will add weight. Still, it’s nice to have the option of the more powerful 3.5-liter engine with the added grip. Pricing for the IS350 AWD stats at $41,905, a bump of $2460 over the rear-drive IS350
All 2011 IS models get new grilles and other cosmetic tweaks that include LED running lights and new 17- and 18-inch wheels.
As for the IS-F, it gets updated power steering and suspension for 2011. The “Sport mode” button is also now found on the steering wheel, rather than on the center console.
Also of note is a strange change for the 2011 ES350, which gets a revised engine mapping setup to run 87 octane fuel, rather than the premium stuff. Engine output is downgraded slightly as well, rom 272-hp and 254 ft-lbs of torque, to 268-hp and 248 ft-lbs of torque. The advertised 0-60 mph time has also risen, from 6.8 seconds to 7.0 seconds, while fuel economy remains constant at 19/27-mpg (city/highway).
On a safety note, for 2011 all non-hybrid Lexus models will include a brake override system that cuts power if the gas and brake pedals are press simultaneously.