In developing its new IS range, Lexus has pushed forward the boundaries of quality and performance in all areas. The drive to set new high standards extends to the creation of a premium audio and DVD surround sound system, unparalleled in the class.
Lexus has continued its exclusive relationship with world-leading home audio designer Mark Levinson to create a system designed specifically for the IS, which goes on sale in the UK on 19 November. The result is an exceptional 14-speaker, 300-watt package that fully exploits the excellent acoustic qualities of IS’s cabin and delivers the segment’s first complete, discrete 5.1 home theatre entertainment experience.
The unique link between Lexus and Mark Levinson is based on the conviction that Lexus cars alone offer an appropriate level of acoustic integrity to allow occupants to experience and appreciate the subtle detail and nuances that set the finest audio systems apart from those that are simply adequate. The quality of the new Lexus IS’s cabin makes a significant contribution to achieving the superb sound quality demanded of Mark Levinson audio systems: the interior of the car is well isolated, with ultra-low levels of ambient noise, and the high rigidity of several components avoids unwelcome resonances.
Three years’ research and development and more than 1,000 man-hours of laboratory and on-road voice testing of the system were invested in achieving a precise marriage of every component of the system with the particular acoustic properties of the IS interior.
The result improves on every aspect of the original 2001 Mark Levinson premium sound system. The new equipment can play MP3 and WMA files stored on CD or DVD, and, through an auxiliary socket concealed in the centre console box, can link to personal audio equipment such as an iPod or Mini Disc player. Furthermore, an in-dash, six-disc CD and DVD player is also provided.
The system is the first in the premium D segment to offer a complete, discrete 5.1 home theatre entertainment experience, optimised for the playing of music. When the vehicle is stationary, music videos on disc and DVD films can be played via the seven-inch high-resolution Electro Multi Vision (EMV) display.
The Mark Levinson premium sound system forms part of the Multimedia pack and will be available as optional equipment on all versions of the new Lexus IS.
The all-new 10-channel Mark Levinson DSP Processor/Amplifier installed in the new Lexus IS produces a total RMS power output of 300 watts, covering a frequency range of 20-20kHz, with less than 0.1 per cent Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).
The amplifier is media-compatible with CD, CD-R, DTS 5.1, DVD video and DVD audio discs. Format compatibility includes two-channel stereo (analogue and PCM), two-channel surround sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 (from DTS 5.1 CD, DVD video and DVD audio discs).
In the case of DVD video and audio and DTS 5.1 discs, where film, music videos, music soundtracks and music selections are recorded on five separate, ‘discrete’ channels, a system known as 5.1 – the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1-compatible Mark Levinson Discrete 5.1 Surround Sound System – allows the source material to be heard exactly as was intended from the original recording.
These features deliver a sound experience for every passenger in the IS that can only be compared to a home theatre entertainment system.
The new Mark Levinson premium surround sound system features no fewer than 14 loudspeakers, each one custom engineered for the particular acoustic characteristics and location within the IS cabin. The system comprises four 25mm tweeters, five 65mm midrange units, two 100mm midrange units, two 160mm woofers and one 200mm subwoofer.
The system marks Mark Levinson’s first use of a 200mm inverted subwoofer. This highly rigid, yet lightweight structure is the optimal environment for the high energy, low frequency reproduction required of a subwoofer, which provides the deepest bass tones in the most efficient and compact manner possible.