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Lexus IS PDF Print E-mail

The Lexus range is expanding and now incorporates its flagship luxury sedan the LS430 (soon to be superseded by the LS460), the exquisite GS coupé, the controversial – in terms of styling – SC430 sports car, and the somewhat outdated RX300 SUV.  There is also a relatively new addition to the line-up: the compact luxury sports model, the IS 250.

Exhibited at the Bangkok Motor Show, the IS 250 joined the only two truly new motors on show, the Ford Ranger and the Mazda BT50, both of which have recently appeared in these pages.  The Lexus, however, has been around a couple of years now and in Europe a diesel version is now available, to take advantage of the huge demand for oil burners in many countries. 

Lexus IS
Lexus IS
In Thailand, the latest Lexus IS offers the 2.5 liter direct injection gasoline V6, producing a healthy 204 bhp and strong torque of 250 Nm, thanks to variable exhaust and inlet valve technology.  The compact V6 is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox although a six-speed automatic complete with paddle-operated sequential shift is available as an option.  Maximum speed is a respectable 230 km/h (225 km/h for the automatic), with a 0-100 km/h time of 8.4 seconds.

 

As you would expect in a sedan of this class, the IS 250 is extensively equipped, with, on the safety front, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist, traction control and vehicle stability control.  There is also Lexus’ unique active safety system called vehicle dynamics integrated management (VDIM).  The system provides steering assistance to minimize torque steer, helping the driver to optimize the steering angle and maintain stability.  The VDIM system is integrated with new electric power steering.  This is superior to comparable hydraulic systems and uses a direct current motor to offer tiny but perceptible fuel savings.  Unlike conventional power steering whereby the assistance is related to vehicle and engine speed, the Lexus system also reflects steering angle and torque, calculating the degree of assistance needed at any given time.

Lexus IS
Lexus IS
Another unique feature in this class of car is the intelligent adaptive front lighting, where one of the projector lamps swivel with the steering by up to 15 degrees, helping the driver see round the bend.

New to the latest IS 250 is a pre-crash safety system utilizing a millimeter-wave radar sensor, operating within a 20-degree scanning amplitude to detect obstacles in front of the vehicle.  Using a multitude of sensors a computer monitors the car’s speed, steering angle and yaw rate to help determine in advance whether an impending collision is unavoidable.  If this is the case, the system activates the seat belt pre-tensioners and simultaneously adjusts the emergency brake assist system to provide maximum braking force when the brake pedal is depressed.

Passive safety is taken care of with whiplash lessening seats, a concept that provides a new seat back and headrests that sit closer to the occupant.  There are dual-stage front airbags, as well as – for the first time in this segment – driver and passenger knee bags, while side airbags and full length air curtains are also standard. 

The body of the IS 250 features an aluminum bonnet to reduce weight, while many of the suspension components are also of lightweight aluminum. Wider and lower than its competitors, the new Lexus has a low center of gravity to offer greater stability, together with Lexus’ legendary ride quality.

In keeping with the Lexus tradition of ‘concert-hall’ audio reproduction, the IS 250 is equipped with a 13-speaker sound system, together with a 6-CD autochanger and an auxiliary plug for external audio devices.

The Thai motor industry is currently enjoying boom times with a 13.6 percent rise in new sales in February, the latest month for which figures are available.  This compares with a 2.8 percent decline in January.  Although the market is dominated by light pick-ups, there is clearly a strong market for luxury compacts such as the Lexus IS 250. 

Jeff Heselwood
Jeff Heselwood
 

 

 
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