This press pack accompanied the UK launch of the second generation Lexus IS – IS250 and IS220d – in November 2005. Some changes were made to the model range during its time on sale, which can be tracked using the Timeline feature available on the Lexus IS archive web page. Additional assets and information relating to the IS range may be obtained from the Lexus press office if required.
THE NEW LEXUS IS
All-new second generation of Lexus’s top-selling sports saloon
Second Lexus production model to be designed according to L-finesse principles
Distinctive, powerful and elegant exterior styling
Longer and wider than previous IS with longer wheelbase for improved passenger accommodation
Refined interior with luxury detailing
Launched in the UK with new 204bhp 2.5-litre V6 direct injection petrol engine
0-62mph in 8.1 seconds (8.4 auto), top speed 144mph (141mph auto)
Combined fuel consumption 28.8mpg (31.0mpg auto)
Carbon dioxide emissions 231g/km (214g/km auto)
Lexus’s first diesel, a 175bhp (177 DIN hp) 2.2-litre unit, to follow in the IS 220d in January 2006
World’s cleanest diesel luxury saloon in terms of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions, thanks to Lexus Clean Diesel Technology
Smoothness and refinement meet stringent Lexus standards
Diesel engine will give Lexus new strong presence in fast-growing market sector
All versions equipped with eight airbags, including driver and front passenger knee airbags
ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist System (BAS) and Traction Control (TRC) standard on all models, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) standard on all models except IS 220d Sport
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) standard on IS 220d Sport
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system optional on IS 250 SE-L automatic
Independent double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension deliver excellent driving dynamics with legendary Lexus ride comfort
Exceptional standard equipment list includes climate control, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, smart keyless entry and start-up, sequenced LED interior lighting and electric folding and heated door mirrors
13-speaker sound system with in-dash six-disc CD autochanger fitted as standard, with MP3 compatibility and AUX input for linking personal music systems
Optional Multimedia Pack with 14-speaker premium Mark Levinson hi-fi with six-disc DVD autochanger and 5.1 surround sound, plus new generation satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and Rear Park Assist Monitor
SE and SE-L models feature leather upholstery with eight-way electrically adjustable heated and ventilated front seats
IS 250, SE and SE-L on sale in the UK from 19 November
IS 250 Sport and IS 220d models due January 2006, IS 220d Sport in April 2006
On-the-road prices from £22,200 (IS 220d)
The launch of the all-new second generation IS range marks an important stage in the development of Lexus as a global prestige brand. The IS is well-established as Lexus’s top-selling model in Europe, acclaimed for its superb driving dynamics, refined performance, peerless quality and superb specification.
The new IS extends all these qualities in a vehicle that benefits from striking, individual styling, superior dynamic performance, enhanced safety provisions and hallmark Lexus luxury and refinement.
The new IS is the latest expression of L-finesse, the design language that is shaping the appearance of an entire new generation of Lexus models. The IS has a wide track with short front and rear overhangs, giving the car a broad, muscular stance. Sweeping coachwork lines emphasise the ‘shadow finish’ of contrasting convex and concave surfaces and flow into a signature arrowhead shape through the C pillar.
Build quality and perceived quality are of the highest order throughout, with attention to detail witnessed in the careful matching of wood trim sections, ‘invisible’ seam stitching on leather upholstery and improved fit and finish that reduces gaps to new low levels and eradicates some altogether.
BODY AND CHASSIS
The new IS is 175mm longer and 75mm wider than its predecessor, with track width increased by 40 and 50mm front and rear respectively. For driver and passengers this translates into greater front and rear leg and shoulder room, while contributing to the car’s excellent dynamic handling qualities.
With a drag coefficient of 0.27, the IS is one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its segment, a smooth airflow aided by the design of the door mirrors, a flush-fitting windscreen, a ‘duck tail’ profile over the bootlid and strategic underbody design elements.
Bodyshell stiffness is greater by 20 per cent, with weight reduced through the use of aluminium for the bonnet, suspension members and engine.
Lexus has focused on delivering class-leading NVH performance, achieved through a number of innovations. These include the world’s first sound-absorbing sun visors, acoustic glass in the front screen and exceptionally close panel fit.
ENGINES AND TRANSMISSIONIS 250
The IS 250 is powered by a new direct-injection 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine with dual VVT-i. The aluminium unit is no heavier than the 2.0-litre engine featured in the previous generation IS. It develops 204bhp (208 DIN hp) at 6,400rpm and a maximum 252Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. This enables 0-62mph acceleration in 8.1 seconds with manual transmission, 8.4 seconds in automatic versions. Top speed is 144mph manual, 141mph automatic. Combined cycle carbon dioxide emissions are 231g/km manual, 214g/km automatic.
The Lexus IS 200d, due for launch in the UK in January 2006, is equipped with Lexus’s first diesel engine. The all-aluminium, four-cylinder, 2.2-litre common rail direct injection unit delivers the power and refinement demanded by Lexus, with 175bhp (177 DIN hp) produced at 3,600rpm and 400Nm of torque between 2,000 and 2,600rpm. Preliminary, pre-homologation figures show 0-62mph acceleration in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 134mph.
Good fuel economy adds another appealing dimension to the IS 200d, with combined cycle consumption expected to be in the region of 44.8mpg, and extensive, strategic measures to reduce NVH levels help ensure the cabin achieves Lexus’s stringent standards for comfort and quietness..
The IS 220d is also the cleanest premium diesel model available, thanks to the application of Lexus Clean Diesel Technology. A series of engine features reduces combined levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions to levels well below Euro IV standards.
A new six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard, with a newly-developed six-speed automatic available as a £1,000 option on the IS 250. The close ratio automatic system features steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts for sequential manual gear selection and delivers superior fuel economy (31.0mpg combined). IS 220d Sport benefits from a shorter differential gear ratio for sharper in-gear acceleration.
New double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension systems with monotube shock absorbers have been adopted to deliver trademark Lexus ride comfort and excellent handling and dynamic performance.
An all-new speed-sensitive, electrically assisted power steering (EPS) system is used.
All IS models are equipped as standard with eight airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. The passenger front airbag is the first in the world to use a twin-chamber construction, designed to disperse impact forces across the head and shoulders, instead of across the face, as on a conventional airbag.
A full suite of electronic control systems is fitted as standard: ABS with Brake Assist System (BAS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); Vehicle Stability Control (VSC); and Traction Control (TRC).
The IS 250 SE-L automatic is available with the option of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which maintains a safe, pre-set distance from the vehicle ahead, and Lexus’s Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system, which determines when a frontal collision is unavoidable and tensions the front seatbelts and prepares to engage emergency braking to help minimise impact. The systems are combined in a single package, controlled by the same millimetre-wave radar system, operating through a sensor mounted on the front grille.
SE-L and Sport versions are equipped with High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with Lexus’s Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). AFS adjusts the angle of the headlamp beam in line with vehicle speed and steering angle to improve illumination through bends.
The IS 220d Sport comes as standard with Lexus’s unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, which enhances the vehicle’s performance, traction control and stability. Using comprehensive status data collected by sensors throughout the car, VDIM integrates the operation of the ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with the Electric Power Steering (EPS).
By applying integrated control of all the elements related to vehicle movement, including engine torque, brakes and steering, VDIM optimises activation of the braking, stability and traction control systems.
GRADE STRUCTURE, PRICING AND EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS
The IS will be launched in IS 250, SE and SE-L grades on 19 November. The IS 220d models and IS 250 Sport versions are due to join the range in January 2006, with IS 220d Sport models completing the line-up in April 2006.
All versions of the car are fitted with eight airbags, cruise control, 13-speaker sound system with six-disc CD autochanger, smart keyless entry and push-button start, climate control air conditioning, alloy wheels and front and rear armrests.
SE models feature leather upholstery with electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels. The SE-L grade comes in addition with rain-sensing wipers, HID headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS), front and rear parking sensors, electrically adjustable steering column, memory settings for the steering wheel, front seats and door mirrors and a power sunshade for the rear window.
The Sport versions will feature Cellensia suede-effect upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, sport-style pedals, electrically adjustable heated front seats, HID headlamps with AFS and front and rear parking sensors.
The quality ambience of the interior is heightened with the introduction of LED sequenced spot lighting. SE-L versions feature illuminated door sills and puddle lights are integrated into the door mirrors. A multi-position electric tilt-slide sunroof is available as an option, with nine different settings.
All versions of the IS are equipped as standard with a 13-speaker audio system with in-dash six-disc CD autochanger and MP3/WMA compatibility. An AUX socket allows owners to connect personal audio players, such as iPods or Mini Disc players and additional system controls are provided on the
multi-function steering wheel.
A Multimedia Package, available as an option on all models, provides a class-leading Mark Levinson 14-speaker package with 5.1-channel digital surround sound for auditorium-like sound reproduction. The system has been designed specifically to suit the excellent acoustic qualities of the IS’s interior. Other features include a front-mounted seven-inch VGA screen; a six-disc DVD autochanger, capable of playing both audio and, when the vehicle is stationary, video discs; Lexus’s new DVD-based satellite navigation system; Bluetooth connectivity; Park Assist Monitor; and voice control function.
The improved navigation system has an enhanced, higher definition display with a wider colour range and new mapping design.
Wheels and tyres
Three designs of alloy wheel are offered: standard five-spoke 16-inch rims on the IS 250 and 220d; 17-inch wheels on the SE and SE-L; and 18-inch wheels for the Sport.
Prices and performance
On the road prices and insurance groups for the Lexus IS range: -
IS 250 SE
IS 250 SE-L
IS 250 Sport
IS 220d SE
IS 220d SE-L
IS 220d Sport
Multimedia Package: 14-speaker Mark Levinson hi-fi, Lexus satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Rear Park Assist Monitor
Adaptive Cruise Control and Pre-Crash Safety system
Bodywork has minimal protrusions and exterior component gaps are substantially reduced
Interior boasts unparalleled build quality, Lexus luxury and ergonomic excellence
Longer wheelbase for improved passenger accommodation
Advanced interior and exterior illumination, using LED technology
The new IS is the second road-going car, following the latest-generation GS saloon, to be created according to the principles of the new Lexus design philosophy, L-finesse.
L-finesse is rooted in Japanese culture with references drawn from the heritage of ancient and modern design iconography. It informs every aspect of the new IS, its detail reflected in the interior and exterior design and the strong visual synergies between the two.
The new IS marries powerful, sweeping lines with contrasting convex and concave surfaces, reinforcing the central tenets of L-finesse. The purity of the overall form is complemented by a substantial reduction in exterior component gaps, those between the bumpers and adjacent body panels having been cut to just 0.35mm.
At the front the IS has the Lexus vertically latticed grille. The wide track and prominent wheel arches combine with short front and rear overhangs to give the car a low centre of gravity and a broad, robust, but sophisticated appearance. The bold twin-barrel headlamp units sit on a higher plane than the grille, leading the eye to focus on the apex of the vehicle, strengthening the impression of speed and agility. This approach will be a characteristic of future Lexus models.
A strong coachwork line flows from the grille, highlighting the clean, muscular bonnet surface before sweeping seamlessly into the windscreen pillar. An adjacent concave surface stretches between the bonnet and wheel arch, reinforcing the car’s wide front stance, and is punctuated by a new, sporting, door-mounted mirror design as it flows into the narrowing belt line.
The profile of the car shows the tight shoulders and a wide side surface that support a steeply raked windscreen. The arrowhead shape of the glazing around the C pillar is inspired by the Kirakaeshi, a traditional Japanese expression of dynamism through a rapid, yet fluid change of direction – something that in the past could apply equally to a pen stroke in traditional calligraphy or the motion of a samurai sword. This motif will become a key future styling element for Lexus.
At the rear, flared wheel arches taper into a short rear overhang, topped with powerful LED lamp clusters. The design of the lights again establishes cues that will be seen on future Lexus models. The use of LED technology for the stop and number plate lights provides sharper, more refined illumination; the lights also last longer and use less energy.
The new IS is available in 10 colours, including two new shades exclusive to the model, Argento Ice and Sargasso Green. Four ‘character’ premium quality paint finishes have been specially developed to amplify the L-finesse design philosophy: Glacial Blue gives extra brilliance in strong sunlight; Ice Blue emphasises the contrasts in convex and concave surfacing; Sargasso Green has subtle changes in hue; and Mesa Red gives a glossy look with great depth, using a multi-layer finish with aluminium for the base coat and artificial mica for the second.
The principles of L-finesse are perfectly expressed in the IS’s interior, which follows the pattern of the car’s exterior in combining convex and concave surfaces. The former is used for control functions, such as the centre console switchgear and the start button, and the latter for driver and passenger accommodation. The door panel surfaces flow seamlessly into the dashboard, with the projecting instrument binnacle providing the focal point of the cabin design.
The Kirakaeshi principle returns in the vertical linking of cabin elements through the centre console and door grips. The apparently dislocated position of the side air vents introduces the influence of another traditional Japanese cultural symbol: Hazushi, or “shift out of phase”. This expresses the notion of something that is part of a whole, but at the same time retains its independence.
A combination of high quality slush moulding and vacuum forming production processes have been adopted for the upper and lower dashboard and the door trim panels. These soft-touch elements are finished in a new, scratch-resistant natural grain pattern. A black upper dashboard can be combined with a choice of three colours for the lower section: matching black, grey or ivory.
Precise fit and finish management has reduced, and in some cases eliminated gaps between interior components, creating an environment of clean, uncluttered luxury, unprecedented in the IS’s class. Careful consideration has been given to the shaping and spacing of individual components, with detailed coordination of interior illumination and finishes to touch surfaces, such as the chrome highlighting on the door handles, gear shift paddles, gear knob and starter button.
Brighter, more focused LED illumination is used in conjunction with conventional incandescent bulb lighting for the front and rear map reading lights, front passenger footwell and gear lever puddle light, increasing the elegant after-dark ambience of the interior. SE-L versions of the IS also feature blue LED illumination in the stainless steel front scuff plates.
The SE-L grade also has a centre console finished in bird’s eye maple. Only one per cent of the world’s supply meets Lexus’s exacting standards and it takes more than three weeks to select, process and finish the wood, sourced from sustainable plantations in Canada. The centre console panel is laminated to an aluminium backing plate to ensure high rigidity before being cut into three parts for manufacture of the main panel, ashtray lid and storage compartment lid. This approach, although time consuming, ensures perfect visual consistency of the finished console.
The finishing process is carried out by Yamaha’s piano-building craftsmen. Yamaha has been preparing wood for automotive use since 1966, when the company supplied Toyota with its first real wood components. The bespoke, patented process involves a 20-step, multi-coating application of lacquers, resulting in a high-gloss, scratch resistant finish.
The new steering wheel has a redesigned rim cross section for added comfort. The gear shift paddles are mounted directly on the wheel, which means drivers don’t have to modify their grip when changing gear, even when cornering.
The front seats provide snug lateral support and a broad shoulder area. Rear seat leg room is significantly improved, thanks to the wheelbase being 60mm longer than on the previous IS. The front-rear couple distance is now a class-leading 881mm.
The entry-level IS 250 and 220d are upholstered in beige, grey or black fabric, Sport versions have seats finished in suede-effect Cellensia and the SE and SE-L use semi-aniline leather.
Using a technique favoured by bespoke furniture makers, the leather is given an extra top coating of highly dispersed pigments and dyes. Dyeing the leather throughout before this final coating allows a particularly even colour to be achieved with only a thin finishing layer and keeps the leather itself significantly softer. Using smaller, invisible stitching holes and much tighter tolerances in the leather’s double stitching gives a particularly neat appearance.
Further examples of Lexus’s great attention to detail can be found throughout the interior. For example, the grab handles above the doors have a twin-articulation axis design for flush-fitting and improved ergonomics. Front and rear door ends are enhanced with a black resin cover for the panel and attachment bolts, and the front seat rails are also covered for a smarter appearance and better safety for rear seat passengers.
CLASS-LEADING SPECIFICATION AND VALUE
Lexus’s reputation for providing class-leading specifications and value are reinforced by the performance of the new IS, compared to its principle market rivals. Evaluating the standard equipment levels against equivalent models from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW and Audi, the IS works out a better prospect by a margin of up to 17 per cent. And that is without taking into account features such as the front knee airbags, the sound system with MP3 compatibility and ventilation function for the front seats (SE) that rival manufacturers cannot provide, even as an extra cost option.
For example, the Mercedes-Benz C230 Elegance SE has an on-the-road price that is £1,110 cheaper than the Lexus IS 250 SE-L, but owners would have to spend more than £4,000 to come anywhere near the Lexus’s specification – minus, of course the unique features mentioned above. That’s equivalent to a price hike of more than 14 per cent.
On the Mercedes, the BMW 325i SE and Audi A4 2.0 T FSI SE, leather upholstery will add more than £1,200 to the bill, while a set of 17-inch alloys for the BMW will set you back more than £900. If you want the electrically adjustable seats with memory settings that are standard on the Lexus for your A4, you have to find £1,600 extra on top of the OTR price.
The comparisons are even starker when you match the rivals to the Lexus IS SE, with specification-adjusted prices that put the Jaguar at 10.5 per cent more expensive, the BMW at 15.7 per cent and the Mercedes-Benz at 18.2 per cent.