Building on the successful launch of its first diesel engine in the IS executive sports saloon range, Lexus has refined the package even further with the introduction of a new IS 220d Sport model.

The Sport uses the same 175bhp (177 DIN hp) four-cylinder common rail diesel unit as the regular IS 220d, but delivers an even more rewarding driving experience. The principle factor in achieving this is a change in the differential gear ratio in the rear axle from 2.474 to 3.200. This delivers highly flexible performance, enabling the driver to fully exploit the engine’s strong power and torque (400Nm from 2,000rpm) through the IS’s new six-speed manual transmission.

The special character of the IS 220d Sport is further reflected in its adoption of Lexus’s Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. This industry-leading technology constantly monitors a wide range of vehicle performance factors, such as speed, engine torque, braking and steering angle and uses the information to optimise the activation of the ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) systems. VDIM also coordinates the Electric Power Steering (EPS), introducing torque assistance to help the driver adopt the correct steering angle should the car begin to over or understeer.

Whereas conventional active safety systems are typically only triggered once a vehicle reaches the limits of its performance, VDIM engages control before that limit is reached. This means the intervention is less obtrusive and the vehicle handles more smoothly.

The specification emphasises the 220d Sport’s special qualities with 18-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension. Inside there are sports-style pedals, metal-effect trim details and Cellensia suede-effect upholstery. The front seats are heated and have eight-way electric adjustment to help each owner achieve the perfect driving position. The Sport also shares a range of luxury features with the IS 220d SE-L model, including climate control air conditioning, cruise control, a 13-speaker audio system with in-dash six-disc CD autochanger, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, smart keyless entry, push-button start, electrically adjustable steering column and memory settings for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and door mirrors.

The IS 220d is on sale now, priced £26,925 on the road, rated group 13E for insurance.