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 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.

The new IS is 175mm longer and 75mm wider than its predecessor, with track width increased by 40mm front and rear. 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. 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, including the world’s first sound-absorbing sun visors, acoustic glass in the front screen and exceptionally close panel fit.

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 220d, 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.

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 reduce combined levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions to levels well below Euro IV standards and those proposed for Euro V.

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).

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 are fitted as standard: ABS with Brake Assist System (BAS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); Vehicle Stability Control (VSC, not featured on IS 220d Sport); 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 System (PCS), which determines when a frontal collision is unavoidable and tensions the front seatbelts and prepares to engage emergency braking to help minimise impact.

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. 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.

The IS is 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 are fitted with eight airbags, cruise control, 13-speaker sound system with CD autochanger and Aux socket for linking personal digital music players, smart keyless entry and start, climate control, sequenced LED interior spot lighting, alloy wheels and front and rear armrests.

SE models feature leather upholstery with electrically adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats and 17-inch alloys. The SE-L comes 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.

A Multimedia Package, available as an option (£2,710) on all models, provides a class-leading Mark Levinson
14-speaker package with 5.1-channel digital surround sound. 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; an upgraded DVD-based satellite navigation system; Bluetooth connectivity; Park Assist Monitor; and voice control function.

On-the-road prices and insurance groups for the Lexus IS range:

MODEL

OTR PRICE

INSURANCE GROUP

IS 250

£22,400

13E

IS 250 SE

£25,400

14E

IS 250 SE-L

£28,000

14E

IS 250 Sport

£26,500

14E

IS 220d

£22,200

12E

IS 220d SE

£25,200

13E

IS 220d SE-L

£27,800

13E

IS 220d Sport

£26,900

13E