If car-buying decisions depended on emotional factors alone, the new Lexus IS would prosper, with its distinctive dynamic styling, unmatched quality and exceptional driving performance. But most motorists have to take budget issues into consideration, too, and balance factors such as appearance and performance against the longer term impact of ownership on their finances.
True to Lexus’s unmatched attention to detail, the IS makes substantial advances in cost of ownership benefits, setting class-leading standards and making the new car an even stronger proposition than the previous generation model.
Lexus has achieved all-round improvements in efficiency in the standard programme of servicing and maintenance for the IS’s first 60,000 miles or three years. Compared to the previous generation model the contract servicing costs have been reduced by £288 (for models running on 17-inch tyres), while the cumulative length of time required to do the work has fallen by more than three hours to 5.1 hours.
This has been achieved through a series of measures, including the adoption of longer-life or maintenance-free components. These include:
- Maintenance-free valve clearances
- Transmission oil that does not require changing during the vehicle’s lifetime
- Air filter life extended from 30,000 to 40,000 miles
- Engine coolant life extended from 30,000 to 100,000 miles
- Brake pad replacement scheduled at 30,000 for front and 40,000 for rear
- Engine uses mineral grade oil rather than expensive synthetic type
Another important area in which the new Lexus IS excels compared to its principal rivals is in the cost of replacement parts. In the event of a typical front or rear collision, the repair parts costs for the Lexus work out substantially cheaper.
For example, the combined cost of front-end elements, including bonnet, grille, bumper cover, wing, headlamp, radiator, front panel and air conditioning condenser, for the Audi A4 is almost 26 per cent greater than for the Lexus, while the Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar X-Type and BMW 3 Series range between 18 and 24 per cent more expensive. And it’s a similar story where the cost of rear-end components are concerned, too.
Should crash repairs be necessary, the job of replacement has been made simpler, for example by introducing a bolt-on rather than welded front section. And the vehicle’s radiator and air conditioning condenser have been positioned so that they do not have to be removed for the repair to be effected, so coolant and refrigerant gas do not have to be replaced.
These measures have had a positive impact on both the new IS’s UK insurance ratings and early industry predictions for residual values.
In insurance terms, the new IS is launched with class-leading ratings, improving the levels attained by most of its principal rivals by one or two groups. The IS 250 has a 13E classification and the SE, SE-L and Sport (arriving in 2006) are in Group 14E. The diesel-powered IS 220d, to be launched in January next year, has been given a 12E rating, with SE, SE-L and sport versions in Group 13E.
These compare, for example, to Group 15E and 12E for the equivalent petrol and diesel powered Audi A4; 15E and 14E for the Jaguar X-TYPE and BMW 3 Series; and 16A and 13A for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Furthermore, the all-round strengths and appeal of the new IS are set to make it a wise buy in terms of its retained value. CAP Monitor has calculated a residual value of 47 per cent for the IS 250 and 45 per cent for the IS 250 SE, figures two per cent higher in each case than the equivalent BMW 3 Series model.