Lexus IS Sports Sedan

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The new Lexus IS sports sedan is a class act for German rivals such as the Audi A4 1.4 TFSI, BMW 318i and the Mercedes Benz C200, and maybe Jaguar’s XE to take note of.

Lexus IS Sports Sedan


To emphasise the number of luxury features such as SatNav and dual zone climate standard across the range, the base model is called Luxury, with options of adding performance and sports appearance features with F Sport, and more luxury features such as moon roof with Sports Luxury.

There are 3 engines to choose from, 2 Litre, 2.5L Atkinson Cycle engine+electric motor hybrid, and 3 Litre 233kW V6. We had the IS200t Luxury to evaluate, which features the same 2L four-cylinder, turbocharged, intercooled powerplant to be found in the recently launched Lexus RX and NX from the luxury Japanese carmaker.

As previously the IS200t F Sport looks bold and aggressively sporty without coming across as over the top or compromising on its classy composition, and the level of perfection carries on into the cabin, with leather-swathed seats, expensive to the touch materials and an impressive, second to none, high level of fit and finish.

Impeccable attention to detail is also evident the moment you toggle the drive mode to Sport S/S+. The tachometer glides from the centre to the right of the instrument panel in a cool and mechanical manner – revealing audio, navigation, trip computer data and other information. New for 2017 is the larger, 10.3'' media screen, cleverly recessed at the back of a cut-out in a dash that looks different and interesting, with layers of curved edges. The stereo now has 10 speakers compared to the previously 8.

With wheelbase of 2,800mm and height of 1,430mm, head and legroom is the order of the day for all passengers on board, but the car is still best for four, no thanks to the bulging transmission tunnel that constraints rear space for the fifth occupant in the middle, but from that restriction the new Lexus IS 200t certainly makes up with boot space. A generous 480 litres should see to most daily needs, being about 30 more than BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class making it easy to haul a couple of golf as well as grocery bags.

Real interest, though, revolves around the new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine heart pumping out a healthy dose of 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

While its predecessor was happily engaged to a six-speeder transmission, the new IS200t raises this couple of notches with its new, creamy, eight-speed gearbox that effortlessly accelerates from standstill to hit century sprint timing of 7 seconds flat.

Not to say the Lexus IS is all about performance figure improvements, its magically crisp handling and ability to carve corners with absolute precision and minimal tyre slip make the luxury compact sedan a loveable car to pilot. There is a constant sense of consistency and stability carving through a series of bends and heading horizon wards out of each turn, and while all this happens, I appreciate how the nicely bolstered seats do a good job keeping me pleasantly planted and comfortably cocooned whilst engaging with the well-weighted steering. It may not be as talkative as the BMW 3 Series but there is not a doubt about its competence responding to turn-ins.

More relevantly, the F Sport Adaptive Variable Sports Suspension with its Unique Tuning is firm but never punishing, soaking up all imperfections and flaws on the tarmac without compromising on driver communication. As with all Lexus cars I have driven, external noises are kept well at bay, leaving me with the stimulating sound of the heartbeat from the turbocharged four.

Lexus has previously been playing catch-up with the German segment-dominators but the tables could be seen as taking a bit of a turn with both the RX and now this new Lexus IS Sports Sedan.
  • Safety: 5 stars, 10 airbags
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder intercooled direct inject twin scroll turbo, with Stop/Start and [email protected]/[email protected]

  • Transmission: 8-speed auto + paddle shifters, RWD
  • Petrol: premium unleaded, tank 66L
  • Thirst: 7.5L/100km
  • Dimensions: 4665mm (L), 1810mm (W), 1430mm (H), 2800mm (WB)
  • Weight: 1620kg-1680kg
  • Spare: Space-saver
  • 0-100km/h: 7.0 secs
  • Price from: $57,500-$76,500 plus ORC
  • Warranty: 4 years/100,000km
  • Service interval: 12 months/15,000km