Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVE WAY - Bill Buys

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.

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