RAC Cars News


New Lexus IS Available Now

By raccars Published

The executive car market segment is dominated by diesels, but the smart new Lexus IS is confidently swimming against the tide, with a choice of petrol and hybrid powerplants. The IS250 is a 204bhp 2.5 litre V6 unit, while the IS300h is a hybrid combining a 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, for 217bhp and up to 65.7mpg. With A4, 3 Series and C-Class beating emissions of 99g/km, the IS300h is likely to be a big seller.

Standard features of any variant of the Lexus IS include automatic transmission, cruise control, climate control, keyless entry and digital radio. F Sport editions have sportier ride settings to the dampers and springs, plus the option of adaptive damping, allowing drivers to select Normal or Sport+ modes. However, the IS provides a smooth ride and easy cornering across the board, although the standard models suffer from slightly vaguer steering.

Where the IS does lag behind similar rivals is engine performance, lacking any serious mid range torque. Quite a lot of attention has been devoted to modernising the IS engine set up, but still to get a decent response, you have to ram your foot down, which doesn't really fit the car's otherwise sedate atmosphere. Similarly, the brake pedal is low on feedback. 0-62mph times around the eight second mark are respectable, but hardly inspiring.

On a happier note, the IS is far quieter than other cars in its class and roomier than the previous model, both for the driver and passengers, although headroom remains a little tight in the rear. The boot has also been enlarged but is still miserly compared to rival offerings. All models come with a touchscreen infotainment that lacks the user-friendliness of the competition and, while the IS feels quite lush and well put together overall, details don't stand up to much scrutiny - some of the cheaper plastics used in the cabin bely its premium brand status.

Ultimately, the only reason to choose the IS over similar fare, such as a BMW 3 Series or the relevant Audi's or Mercedes, is that company car tax friendly IS300h hybrid powertrain, which sits a few bands lower than even the BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics. However, if you're not a company car buyer and want something that offers a more complete package, the new Lexus IS just simply can't match the competition. The IS250 is priced at £26,495-£35,495 and the IS300h slightly more expensive at £29,495-£38,495.

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