2013 Lexus IS range launched from $55,900

Lexus has launched the third-generation Lexus IS today (read our review here), with its largest model line-up, including F Sport variants across the range and an all-new IS300h hybrid.

The rear-wheel drive IS is built on a new platform that is longer and wider than the outgoing model. Its body is also 10kg lighter thanks to high-strength steel and an aluminium bonnet.

Lexus said it is the most dynamic IS it has ever built, with a more rigid platform, unique steering and chassis tune via an adaptive variable suspension system with drive mode select feature (Normal, ECO and Sport. F Sport and Sports Luxury models add Sport S+).

The mode control allows the driver to tailor the vehicle’s powertrain, steering, air conditioning and (on Adaptive Variable Suspension equipped F Sport and Sports Luxury models) suspension.

“I had one goal above everything else when developing the latest generation Lexus IS: make it fun to drive,” said Lexus Chief Engineer, Junichi Furuyama.

All IS Line models benefit from the aerodynamic learnings of project LFA, with new IS 300h sedans in Europe able to achieve the lowest coefficient of drag of any Lexus to date at 0.25.

Australian models feature a larger wheel and tyre package as standard, but still achieve a low coefficient of drag of 0.27 for IS 300h models and 0.28 for IS 250 and IS 350 models.

Underneath the aero journey begins with the flattest possible floor consisting of eight panels and 13 aero fins.

At the front, two aero fins funnel airflow between the front wheels, while a further six aero fins mounted behind the front wheels smooth airflow exiting the wheel arches.

As air exits the rear five centrally mounted aero fins ensure smooth flow and clean break from the underbody to avoid turbulence.

All new IS models will feature segment-rivalling levels of standard equipment, including new-to-IS pop-up bonnet, drive mode select, Lexus Remote Touch, tyre pressure warning sensors, eight airbags, satellite navigation, reversing camera and more.

The new car is 75mm longer than the previous model, with the bulk of that increase delivered in segment-leading rear-seat legroom and greater boot space.

Another first in Australia is the new Enform telematics system which is available from the fourth quarter of 2013. It provides a range of connected services to IS owners, including:

  • Enform Concierge: A quick dial service to Lexus Customer Care centre, Drive Care, Lexus Dealers and Destination Assist.
  • Destination Download: Following a call to Lexus Concierge, IS owners can download destinations to their vehicle for use and guidance.
  • Fuel Finder: Allows customers to find and compare their nearest service station for fuel price and availability of premium fuels.
  • Local Search: Provides an internet-based search for local businesses and services.
  • Weather: Live search of current and forecast weather conditions for any chosen location.

Australia’s IS line-up is consist of the IS250, IS350 and the new IS300h Hybrid. Each model comes with three trim levels – Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury, except for the IS300h, which is available in Luxury and F Sport only.

The IS250, priced from $55,900, $100 more than the old model. It features a 2.5-litre all-alloy V6 carried over from the previous generation that generates 153kW and 252Nm of torque, delivered via a six-speed sequential transmission with throttle blipping. It dashes from 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds while consuming 9.2L/100km of premium fuel.

The IS350, priced from $65,000, is $1,055 more than the outgoing model. It is powered by a 3.5-litre all-alloy V6 delivering 233kW and 378Nm that is, again carried forward. It is matched to a new eight-speed automatic transmission that propels the sports sedan from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds. It consumes 9.7L/100km.

Derived from the IS F, the IS350 now benefits from a wider spread of gears and the addition of IS F-style shift logic with quick shift and throttle blipping.

At $58,900, the IS300h slots in the middle of the range. It utilises a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid powerplant that develops a combined power output of 164kW. Fuel economy is rated at 4.9L/100km while CO2 emission is 113g/km. 0-100km/h in done in 8.5 seconds.

It is mated to a purpose-built electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT), offering six-step shift logic and paddle shift that drives the rear wheels.

Inside, a raft of interior enhancements, including LFA-inspired instrument meter and unique construction front sport seats feature in the IS F Sport.

The instrument uses an 8-inch TFT LCD to display tachometer and other vehicle systems in bright, rich detail. The dial and indicator can be viewed in blue, white or red depending on personal preference. The meter ring also slides across to reveal a menu just like that of the LFA, when the multimedia system is activated via the steering wheel switch.

White LEDs are used throughout the new IS cabin, including overhead console dome lamp, rear reading lamps and inner door handles. The inner door handle LED lights dim to one tenth of their full brightness when driving to provide a modern, high quality appearance.

For the first time, the IS range now gets 60:40 split rear seat that fold down flat for enhanced versatility. Despite the addition of a battery pack, the IS300h offers 450 litres of boot space with the rear seat up. The IS250 and IS350 offers 480 litres seat up.

The Lexus IS range will arrive in showrooms nationwide in the middle of July.

Pricing and enhancement packs

IS 250Luxury$55,900+$3,500Moonroof (MR) and parking sensors (F+R)
F Sport$64,900+$4,000MR and Mark Levinson audio (MLA)
+$7,000MR, MLA, Active Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS)
Sports Luxury$77,900
IS 300hLuxury$58,900+$3,500MR and parking sensors front and rear
+$10,000MR, MLA, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Auto High Beam (AHB), Parking Sensors (F+R), Blind Spot Monitor, Rain Sensing Wipers, Auto Fold Mirrors, Smart Card Key, LED Headlamps, Electric rear Sunshade, Electrochromatic Rear Vision Mirror, Driver Seat Memory
+$14,000As above plus PCS, ACC and Rear Seat Side Airbag (x2)
F Sport$67,900+$4,000MR and Mark Levinson audio (MLA)
+$7,000MR, MLA, Active Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS)
IS 350Luxury$65,000+$2,500MR
F Sport$73,000+$2,500MR
+$7,000MR, AHB, LDW, PCS and ACC
Sports Luxury$84,000

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