An “aggressive” new look and “sportier” chassis sees the new Lexus IS 250 taking aim at class leaders says Auto Express’ Andrew Ganz.
The adoption of Lexus’ ‘spindle’ grille design means it’s now “much better looking”, and the two-piece headlights serve to make the car “look fantastic”.
On the inside, everything is “orderly” and “upmarket”, filled with materials that “put more expensive cars to shame”. Ganz finds the “chunky” air-con controls and “thunderous” audio system “particular highlights”.
Ganz is behind the wheel of the V6 2.5-litre petrol model which, despite being carried over from the old car, “isn’t overshadowed by more modern engines”. He explains: “Its ultra-smooth and predictable throttle response is rare in an era of peaky turbocharged engines, and there’s strong acceleration when you floor the throttle.”
Although the IS’ fuel economy “falls well short” of the rival BMW 328i, it still “shouldn’t break the bank” if “driven carefully”.
The F Sport model, despite no additional power, gives the car a “genuinely sporty, natural feel – something that has been difficult to say about a Lexus in a long time”, says Ganz.
“Standard models are firm but still offer excellent control. The F Sport is stiffer, but the rewards are a more direct feel to the steering and enough agility to make you seek out twisting roads.
“Settle into a cruise and Lexus’ legendary refinement is still there, but it’s the new found sporting edge that’s the big news here. The IS is not an out-and-out performance car, but it’s polished on the road and attractively appointed inside.”
Ganz concludes: “The lack of a diesel engine will limit the IS’ success in Europe. Overall, though, this sharply tuned Lexus is a breath of fresh air from a manufacturer seeking to emerge from its staid past.
“There’s something to be said about the seamless way the IS goes about its business with its refined manners, well tuned chassis and agile feel.”
4 out of 5 stars
(Source: Auto Express, 3 April)