Lexus is adamant that, while the new IS might not be their most expensive vehicle, it is in fact a vital cog in the wheel of their model portfolio. This new IS200t means we are the equal leaders in torque delivery and a close second in the power stakes in the segment with this car. There’s plenty of standard kit, sensibly priced options packages and all the safety tech you’d expect at this end of the market – without the price that is often associated with it.
The most important change to the new IS200t can be found in the model name itself. Gone is the rather uninspiring IS250, powered by a V6 engine that rarely (if ever) tugged at the heartstrings, replaced with this new model, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. There’s a lot to like about the basic specifications too. Peak power comes in at 180kW at 5800rpm, while maximum torque is on offer between 1650-4400rpm.
If you think peak torque being available that low in the rev range makes for an engaging daily driver, you’re right. The IS200t is immediately a more spirited and enthusiastic engine than the V6 it replaces. The smaller capacity coupled with two less cylinders doesn’t make for a drop in performance anywhere through the rev range, quite the contrary. The almost imperceptible turbo lag combined with peak torque delivery so close to idle, makes for rapid acceleration whenever you want it. This four-cylinder engine is yet another example that less is sometimes more, and at no point are you left wondering where the extra power is lurking. The IS200t delivers more than you’ll ever need.
Backed by a sweet eight-speed automatic with an ingeniously broad spread of ratios, the pairing is very difficult to criticise. Our only issue would be the engine note, which is a little more muted than we’d like for a luxury sports sedan. The ADR fuel claim is 7.5L/100km on the combined cycle and we saw figures in the 9-9.5L/100km range at launch on a lengthy country drive with speed limits generally between 80-100km/h – more on that in a minute though.
Published: Tuesday, September 29, 2015