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World debut for all-new Lexus IS

15th January 2013 Print
Lexus IS 250

Lexus has revealed its all-new IS range, which will be launched in the UK this summer. The line-up, unveiled at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit, includes the first full-hybrid IS, the IS 300h, together with the petrol-powered IS 250. Both versions feature rear-wheel drive and will be available with a further evolution of Lexus’s F Sport package.
Acknowledging that driving performance is the prime consideration for sports saloon customers, Lexus has engineered the new IS to deliver outstanding dynamic performance and driver engagement. It also adopts more powerful, distinctive styling inside and out, led by a dramatic interpretation of Lexus’s hallmark spindle-shaped front grille arrangement.
Junichi Furuyama, IS Chief Engineer, explained: “We adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the new IS. Rather than develop each individual aspect in the hope they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience, we first established the kind of driving experience owners desire. With this as our initial premise, we then developed the individual performance elements to support it.
“Every aspect of the new IS has been engineered with a focus on sporting performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.”
The new IS benefits from a dozen Lexus-first features and technical innovations. It also showcases an all-new interior that combines authentic Lexus quality and refinement with a more sporting and focused environment for the driver. There is also best-in-class space for rear seat passengers and a larger, more user-friendly boot.
Exterior design
The new IS is inspired by Lexus’s LF-CC concept car and displays its own interpretation of the spindle front grille arrangement that has become a hallmark of all new Lexus models. Overall the impression is of power, elegance and a stronger brand identity.
Viewed in profile, the new IS shows the mass of the cabin concentrated towards the rear, with a rising line flowing from the lower body into the rear lamp clusters, adding further elegance and dynamism.
There is also a new, powerfully articulated headlamp cluster design, with Lexus’s signature L-shaped daytime running lights presented independently below.
Interior design
The cabin design is clean and elegant, with an ergonomically ideal environment for the driver.
The new-design driver’s seat is more comfortable and provides better lateral support. The seat hip point and the angle of the new steering wheel – inspired by the LFA – are both lower, and the steering wheel’s reach adjustment has been increased, giving a more sporting driving position.
The refinement of the cabin materials, trims and finishes is complimented by advances in HMI technology and the introduction of a high-quality analogue clock. The centre console controls feature a Lexus first: electrostatic switches that need just a finger touch to adjust the air conditioning temperature.
The new IS’s increased width (+10mm) and longer wheelbase (+70mm) allow for significantly more comfort for rear seat passengers and greater luggage capacity, too. The combination of the extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design delivers best-in-class knee-room (+85mm compared to the current model) and rear seat access. The new rear seats also have a 60:40 split-folding function.
There is generous loadspace in the IS 300h too, as the hybrid battery has been located beneath the boot deck board.
Driving dynamics
The new IS’s development programme targeted a class-leading driving experience, with every aspect of the car’s dynamics engineered to achieve this goal.
The painstaking approach included new laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, which, together with additional spot welding, have increased the car’s overall body rigidity.
The double wishbone front suspension has been revised, giving a 20 per cent increase in roll rigidity. At the rear there is a new multi-link system, similar to that featured in the latest generation Lexus GS.
Changes to the structure and rigidity of the steering rack have created lighter, smoother and more accurate steering feel.
The new IS gains a new Drive Mode Select system, with three switchable driving modes: Eco, Normal, & Sport. Drivers can switch between the different modes to achieve their preferred balance of economy, comfort, performance and handling.
F Sport
The IS F Sport models not only display more sporting design features inside and out, they also benefit from genuine dynamic enhancements, notably specially tuned front and rear suspension systems.
The F Sport versions can be instantly recognised thanks to their special grille and front bumper design: there are more prominent chrome trim elements and a different mesh pattern is used for the grille. The “waistline” of the spindle-shaped grille is set higher than on the standard models, creating a larger lower grille that can draw in the greater volume of cooling air needed for sportier driving.
The IS F Sport also has an exclusive seat design that provides extra support. The seats are made using an integrated foaming method that ensures there are no gaps between the upholstery and the filling, giving both excellent comfort and great lateral holding.
The front and rear suspension and the electric power steering are tuned to enhance the F Sport models’ handling, without compromising ride quality.
In the UK the IS 250 will be powered by a 204bhp/152kW V6 petrol engine, driving the rear wheels.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the full hybrid IS 300h combines a powerful electric motor and a newly developed 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, equipped with D-4S fuel injection, Dual VVT-i intelligent variable valve timing and a high-efficiency Exhaust Gas Recirculation system. Total system output is 217bhp/162kW, but Lexus’s target is to achieve class-leading, sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption of more than 65mpg.
Advanced safety
The new IS features a new pop-up bonnet design which creates space above the engine to absorb pedestrian impact forces. This allows the lowest possible profile for the front of the vehicle, while at the same time optimising pedestrian impact protection performance.
According to market, the new IS will offer feature a number of advanced, new active safety features, including automatic headlamp high beam operation, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
New IS in the UK
New IS equipment and technical specifications and other information specific to the UK market models will be announced at a later date.

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Lexus IS 250 IS 250 F Sport IS 250 F Sport IS 300h IS 300h F Sport IS 300h