1 Nov 2005
Lexus’s second attempt at a BMW 3 Series rival arrived in late ’05 in three highly equipped models, led by a keenly priced opener.
It also replaced three cars in the Lexus range in one hit: the 1999 IS 200 and 2001 IS 300, as well as the 2001 ES 300 Mk3.
The IS 250 shares nothing bar model variant names with the original: IS250 base, Sports and Sports Luxury.
It is larger in every direction, with length, width and height rising by 175mm, 75mm and 5mm respectively. The upshot here is 35mm of extra width inside.
The IS 250 is based on a shortened version of the third-generation GS platform introduced earlier this year and retains its predecessor’s rear-wheel drive layout.
But with a new lightweight 60-degree design V6 slotted within a longer (by 60mm) 2670mm wheelbase and wider (by 40mm front and 50mm rear) track, it eschews the in-line six-cylinder format that helped make the old little Lexus more unique – for greater packaging efficiencies.
Driving the rear wheels, the 2.5-litre twin-cam 24-valve 4GR-FSE D-4 (direct-injection four-stroke petrol) VVT-i (variable-valve timing) V6 delivers 153kW of power at 6400rpm and 252Nm at 4800rpm.
Emissions outputs are said to better Toyota’s current petrol-electric Prius.
A choice of two new, Aisin-supplied, six-speed gearboxes replaces the old four-speed automatic and six-speed manual IS200 and five-speed automatic IS300 items respectively.
A revised double-wishbone front and new multi-link rear suspension set-up is implemented, along with firmer suspension and closer steering gear ratio calibrations for the Sport model.
All models have eight airbags (including a knee airbag), stability and traction controls, ABS brakes with EBD and BA, ‘Smart Entry’ push-button start that requires no key insertion, a premium audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels, leather seats with heating and cooling, and climate-control air-conditioning.
For 2007 Lexus rolled out 260 examples of its limited-edition IS250X sedan, priced at $64,390.
Available with either manual or automatic transmission, however, exterior colours restricted to silver, black or a “one-off” Vermilion red.
Over the standard specification, the IS250X has unique five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson stereo, satellite-navigation, a moonroof, leather seats, sports pedals and metallic scuff plates. Sports suspension is also standard.