SPORTY SEDAN IS ALL CLASS
COMPARABLE TO EUROPE’S FINEST, AT AFFORDABLE PRICE
IT'S hard to keep up with the ID of the extended and everchanging Lexus family, but one to make special note of is the new IS200t.
It's a four-cylinder turbo that replaces the V6 IS250, and is an altogether much more engaging car.
The beautifully styled luxury sports sedan has a 2.0-litre motor that develops 180kW, with a hefty 350Nm torque available from as low as 1650rpm.
In another case of smaller is smarter, the IS200t is more powerful, quicker and more economical than the superseded 2.5 V6, and it drives the rear wheels through a superb eight-speed automatic with eco, normal and sport drive modes.
Official fuel consumption is 7.5litres/100km.
It's more nimble too, with tweaked suspension and lovely steering to ensure comfort and safe passage through the twisty bits.
The IS200t comes in Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury trim, with prices starting at $57,500.
Among the new standard features are Pre-Collision Safety System, Active Cruise Control, eight-head clearance and reversing sonar, rain-sensing wipers, and power-adjustable steering column.
The F Sport adds adaptive variable suspension, sports pedals, high-friction front brake pads, 18-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats and unique instrumentation, and costs $65,500.
The top-of-the-line IS200t Sports Luxury has standard moon roof, woodgrain trim, Mark Levinson 15-speaker audio, an electric rear sunshade, and is $76,500. There are also various 'enhancements packs' to individualise each model.
Inside it's the luxury and comfort one would expect of a premium brand.
The dash design is pleasing, with classy buttons for the various controls and the navigation system has a mouse-like control. Alternatively, voice control can be used for most of the infotainment functions.
The 480litre boot is bigger than most in its class and the rear seatbacks can fold down to liberate extra cargo space.
The powered front seats are comfy and supportive and the back seats can take two adults and provide adequate head, shoulder and legroom.
Visibility is excellent, likewise the reversing camera's coverage, and once on the go, it's a joy to discover the car's sporty personality.
It has smooth, strong acceleration, running to 100km/h in 7.0seconds, but the most impressive aspect is the confidence it engenders in its road manners.
It cruises beautifully – and exceptionally quietly – and it stands out in traffic like a rose in a vegie patch.
We're still undecided on the signature spindle grille, but there's no doubting the class and lines of this thoroughbred, nor its value, which puts it up against Europe's finest, but at a more affordable price.
Verdict: Five-star motoring, four-star cost.