For the upwardly mobile and others looking for a sport/luxury sedan in the $30,000-45,000 range, the choice has typically been the BMW 3 Series. Competitors like the Infiniti G35 and Acura TL have attempted to dethrone the BMW, and though impressive, neither ultimately captures the allure of the Ultimate Driving Machine.
Enter the 2006 Lexus IS 350, a wild-styled, 306-horsepower sedan that sits as the best challenger to the 3 Series yet. It goes up against a redesigned 2006 3 Series that features more subdued bodywork than other recent BMWs and comes with a more powerful engine. We thought that made for a great excuse for a comparison test, and pitted the new IS 350 against a BMW 330i. Not surprisingly, the BMW overcomes a dearth of power to maintain its position atop driving’s thrill hill. But in all other respects, the redesigned Lexus proves that the 3 Series is anything but invincible.