The Lexus IS joins the downsizing turbocharged bandwagon with a new IS 200t variant launched to replace the naturally-aspirated 2.5 V6 IS 250. Available in three trim levels, pricing of the IS 200t starts, and this is a shocker, at RM297,800 before insurance.
Also offered is a hybrid-powered IS 300h, but at a much-increased price tag of RM452,100, as opposed to just RM393k when launched in 2013. Other variants of the range consist of the IS 200t Luxury at RM349,900 and the IS 200t F Sport at RM384,900.
Central upgrade of the new IS 200t is Toyota’s new 2.0-litre 8AR-FTS turbocharged engine which makes 241hp at 5,800rpm and serves maximum torque of 350 Nm from 1,650 rpm to 4,400 rpm, representing increases of 17.5 and 38.8 percent respectively from the IS 250.
First seen in the NX 200t launched earlier this year, the new four-cylinder engine is tricked with innovations such as water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold, D-4ST dual fuel injection and the VVT-iW valvetrain that enables the engine to alternate between Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles. Sitting length-wise under the bonnet, the engine sends power astern via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The IS 300h, on the other hand, continues to be powered by the proven Lexus Hybrid Drive System which mates a 178hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 141hp electric motor. The setup offers maximum torque of 221Nm spread from 4,200 to 5,400rpm. Electrical energy for the motor is stored in a 230V, 192-cell NiMH traction battery.
To match its improved performance, the IS 200t receives enlarged brake discs for better stopping power. Suspension remain unchanged, with front double wishbones paired to rear multi-links. All variants come with a Front Performance Rod for further improved handling with the IS 200t F Sport variant additionally equipped with adaptive dampers.
Safety has been commendably enhanced, with the already-impressive existing airbag count of eight inflated to ten with the addition of a new pair located at each side of the rear seat next to the door opening for additional protection in severe side impacts. The IS 200t Luxury, IS 200t F Sport, and IS 300h further receives a radar-based blind spot warning system along with rear cross traffic alert.
Like all Toyota and Lexus models, all variants of the Lexus IS are covered by a standard 3-year / 100,000km warranty with the IS 300h’s hybrid battery additionally assured by an 8-year warranty.
Pictures: Official Lexus release.