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Discussion Starter #1
Well I finally got to sit in / drive the is350 at the Taste of Lexus event. Which is very nice but not very well organized I hate to wait an hour to drive the 350

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Seats are very nice
Dash has 8 million buttons which I like
great acceleration
The Interior is very nicely done, more luxury then sport.

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grabby brakes (might be becuase they were hot)
No exhaust note
The grip levels dont seem very high
Like the is300 it looks like a monster truck with the wheel gap.

Overall Im undecided I dont love it dont hate it

I also drove the 330i,

For whom ever I was argueing with the plastics in the dash of the is350 / 330i are no better plastics then in the is300.
 
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Dr. JDM
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why didn't i get an invitation this time??

oh well
 

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undecided? where u contemplating getting one and getting rid of ur twin turbo beast?
 

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BigDaddyRich said:
Sentinel is a baller... he was gonna get a 350 as a daily driver!

woah, cot damn!

going to be interesting which current IS300 owners splurge for the IS350 when they become available within a month's time...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
tsopranoMB said:
undecided? where u contemplating getting one and getting rid of ur twin turbo beast?
Undecided if I like it or not... The car is nice I guess it depends on the price.
 

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what kind of tracks did they use?
did you do an auto cross or just drive around town?
were you able to really get on it or just drive around?
 

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I was there today too. drove in the parking lot. too many people. IS felt lighter and more tossable than 330i. I like the interior of the IS better.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I like the interior of the is350 better too, I dont think the tires on the is300 were very good.

As much as I want to I cant really say I thought it handled better then the 330i. It was noticeably faster but it felt a little disconnected.
 

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I was also at the NY event in Long Island - drove 100 miles and almost 2 hours from my home in PA. Probably the worst Lexus event I have ever attended due to the lines being ridiculously long in the late afternoon - I did the IS250 AWD (30 mins wait), the BMW 330i with Sport Package (45 min wait) and the IS350 with Sport and PCS etc (about 60 mins wait!).

IS250 AWD
A little sluggish off the line but once it got moving it was superb. I was very impressed at the steering and handling - unfortunately had the Traction light and beeping going quite a bit. Wonderful on the long sweeper with the tires gently screeching away... Much better than I expected, but somewhat slower (and quieter) than my old IS300.

BMW 330i Sport Auto
It was good of Lexus to get a fully equipped BMW (probably over $45k) - the Sport package made it a fair comparison to the IS350. Take off was good - left it in D all the way. Have to give credit to BMW - the tires/suspension really did hold the road like it was on rails - no fuss or drama whatsoever - I should have gone faster. Don't remember much about the car apart from the grip and stability.

IS350 Sport
Took off like a rocket, but quietly too. BMW was much louder at all times - some will like that, but not me. Halfway through the first chicane I heard a RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT and the seatbelt kept trying to tense up and strangle me - almost lost control for half a second until I guessed the car must have PCS (pre-collision system) and I had set it off through my gentle manuevers. Very irritating - I will certainly never get a PCS equipped car unless the belt pre-tension can be turned off. Anyway back to the drive - similar to the IS250 in that it was loads of fun, great brakes, instant reaction to the beautifully weighted steering. I did not notice the VDIM at all (perhaps it never kicked in) but I am not a great driver and miss these kind of things. I could throw the IS350 around a little more than the TC equipped IS250 I think, and of course with higher speeds at all times. Very, very impressed - better in every respect (except maybe exterior styling) than my old IS300. Later confirmed that the white IS350 I drove had PCS but the red one didn't.

This will be my next car to replace the G35 - the BMW probably has better handling and grip in extremis but on public roads and given the way I drive I will never come close to exceeding the limits of the IS350 in the real world. My current G35 lease expires just in time for the 2007 IS350 to hit showrooms next October...



OTHER VEHICLES
After I did the important vehicles I checked out some SUVs for the wife (they had short 15 min lines and it was already after 5pm):

RX400h - very quick, comfortable, nice and smooth CVT transmission, less dive/roll than RX330 (perhaps due to extra weight and lower CG). Nice but pricey vehicle.

GX470 with Sport (includes KDSS) - I have driven non-KDSS GX470s on the road and I found the KDSS here to be amazing. I hammered this huge bus like you wouldn't believe - threw it very hard into every corner. Much less roll and dive than I expected and the smooth torquey V8 was a perfect match for the transmission - always seemed to be in the right gear and never any real drama - also quiet at all times. Also accelerates fast enough for something of this size and weight. Brilliant vehicle in extremis and definitely on the list to replace my wife's Acura MDX in the next 4 months.

RX330 - after the surprising GX470 I had high hopes for this too. Sadly I was very disappointed. The sound and fury was there (very un-Lexus-like), but perhaps not the implied acceleration. Also the transmission would change up way too early all the time - I thought I spent half the time waiting for it to change down just after it changed up unneccessarily - I know I should have left it in 2nd instead of D but then I didn't do that for any other car. Finally it rolled enought to make one seasick - much more than RX400h or GX470. Most of these negatives will not be noticed on the road (especially by the wife) but it is probably off the shopping list.



SUMMARY
Everyone should get an IS350 without PCS if finances allow.
Most will be very happy with the IS250 AWD - lots of fun. The IS250 RWD might be even better/quicker.
Get a GX470 with KDSS if one needs a large SUV for about $50k.
I think my '99 RX300 drove better than the current RX330 even though the new model is vastly more luxurious.
 
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Sentinel said:
For whom ever I was argueing with the plastics in the dash of the is350 / 330i are no better plastics then in the is300.
Note the IS vehicles were prototypes and the final materials and fit should be better when production starts.
 

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Sentinel said:
I like the interior of the is350 better too, I dont think the tires on the is300 were very good.

As much as I want to I cant really say I thought it handled better then the 330i. It was noticeably faster but it felt a little disconnected.
My sentiments exactly. I was there today. I waited online atleast 2 hrs to drive the IS350 twice. I drove the new (hideous looking) 330i twice as well. I really want to love the IS350, but after driving it back to back against the BMW, I found the driving characteristics of the BMW to be far superior.

I'm a life-long Toyota fan with 8 Toyotas under my belt and I've owned 2 IS300s ('01 eshift, '02 5spd). Each vehicle has left me with a superb ownership experience. Today, I just felt that the IS350 seemed much less composed (noticeable body roll, inconsistent brake feel) under hard driving conditions when compared to the 330i.

Despite these observations, I would definitely buy an IS350 because it provides what I'm looking for - comfort, sportiness, techno-gadgetry laiden and a brand name that has provided me with many years of trouble free auto ownership.
 

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I went too!!! I hated the long lines, and the fact that you could only go one (less than a quarter mile?) lap around each time. The food was so-so, but they obviously spent a ton of money on this event. The turnout was surprizing, but more than half the people were trash...unlikely to ever purchase a car over $20K (some of 'em were even talking about it out loud - they were just there to beat up somoene else's car).

I drove:
GS430 - very powerful and luxurious car, I love the looks (especially with the 18s), and it seemed to handle better than MB (they didn't have a 545i). The MB already looks dated.
IS350 - whoa! The power on this thing is just amazing. The car felt planted...I actually got some wheel spin at launch...the acceleration is like nothing else I've driven with 4 doors. Yes, noticeably faster than the GS and its direct competitor, the BMW 330i. The interior is also extremely nice. I would never drive it like a race car, so this car has everything I could possibly need. Hands down, this would be my next car (possibly late next year). Just love it!
330i - it's a BMW, so it handled great. The power was good, as usual, and the exhaust note was very impressive. I actually liked the interior too, but didn't care much for the exterior. For one thing, this car should never be bought without the sports package. With the SP, it looks half decent...without it, it's unbearable. But considering that it'll cost over $50K, loaded, with BMW reliability, I think I'll pass.
RX400h - wow, it really feels like a V8...love the instant torque. And this thing comes fully loaded. I like the wheels and the rest of the exterior...but it's pricey. Of course, if I was rich, I wouldn't care about another 5-10K. I think the premium is justified: people pay more for a V8. Here you get V8 performance, 4 cylinder fuel economy, and it comes fully loaded.

Overall, the Lexus line-up looks really good (I even like the refreshed LS, but am looking forward to the new L-finesse design).
 

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Taste of Lexus Event

I was at the event yesterday at Belmont race track in Queens, NY. I drove the IS350, IS250 AWD, GS430, BMW 330i and the SC430. I'm with the others that said the long lines sucked. The food was ok, but then again, I never complain about food, I eat anything.

First, we sat down and got an overview of the Lexus line up from a Lexus "product specialist". She did her best to explain the big things going on at Lexus and the new features of the cars and trucks.

Then we were let loose to the cars. I drove the IS350 first. I'll try to remember as best as possible. I love the exterior stying and the interior. Whoever was in the car before me didn't even have the "power" button on. So that was the first thing I did. Then I turned the traction control off. I also put it into manual so I could try out the paddle shifters. I went up to the line where a guy there tells you to be careful and go on green. And so I did. I was so shocked by the power off the start that I forgot I had control of the gears. So when I got to the first "kick to the left", I heard the engine reminding me that I had to shift up. With all the confusion (being in a new car, more power and a different set up with the tachometer and speedometer) it slowed me down. That behind me, I sped through the rest of the course in 2nd gear and actually caught up to the guy in front of me with the IS250 AWD. So the back side of the course was like a Sunday drive. I decided to use that time to test the brakes. Not bad. I must say, I didn't feel the VDIM, even on the back 180 degree turn. I want this car but I need a little bit more than a 30 second drive to convince me to spend the $40k-$45k.

Then I drove the BMW 330i. I like the exterior styling but the interior is horible. But what I found out with the BMW is that is really holds the track. And it felt more stable (I like to think it was because I already new the course and could anticipate turns better the second time around).

Next was the SC430. Very nice car. It was sooo smooth going straight and into the turns. Wouldn't mind having one of these.

Next was the GS430. Also a very nice car. It felt quick but a bit heavier and bigger than I like. All in all, it handled the abuse I gave it.

Last was the IS250 AWD. This time I made sure there was enough room in front of me. It was a bit sluggish off the start but, like someone else here said, once you got started on this course (you don't have to leave 2nd gear) it handled quite nicely. I pushed it through the turns (successfully throwing my girlfriend around the passenger seat as she was screeming for me to slow down) and I was impressed with the handling. I pushed it much harder than I would my own car.

To sum it all up: It was a nice event (the first time being at an event like this). I like power, so I'm going after the IS350.
 
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pelucidor said:
Note the IS vehicles were prototypes and the final materials and fit should be better when production starts.
I was one of the people having a debate with Sentinel about the interior of the IS300. What I was trying to say was that although all dashes may be made of a plastic material... our IS300's have a very HARD "plasticky" finish... while many other cars have a softer, more luxurious finish to their dashes.
 

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Did any of those product specialist mention when a manual was coming ? Anybody say anything about a coupe version? I plan on getting the IS350 in the spring after the snow clears in Cleveland.
 

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meta1 said:
Did any of those product specialist mention when a manual was coming ? Anybody say anything about a coupe version? I plan on getting the IS350 in the spring after the snow clears in Cleveland.
I think the coupe and convertible are coming next year.
 

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i was there to. Hated the Great Adventure lines. mad people just free loaders there that came in there hoopti, they dont even have the money to buy a metro card.. sucks cause me as a lexus owner and a repeat buyer couldnt get to enjoy shit.

on a side note , the 350 was hot. i love the colors and the power.

wonder if the production model will be alot diff or not
 

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mokujin101 said:
wonder if the production model will be alot diff or not
Though the vehicles you saw are pre-production, they are as close to production, as you will ever see.
Not much, if any will change from the ones you will see at the dealers in mid oct.
 
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