The all-new Lexus IS 350
- Take the Road Less Travelled
- The all-new Lexus IS 350
With its totally redesigned third-generation IS sedan, Lexus has thrown down the gauntlet: build the most fun-to-drive sport sedan in the world. Question is, does the newest gladiator in the auto arena pull off a victory? Absolutely, unquestionably, assuredly, undoubtedly… but don't just take our word for it.
Car and Driver, one of the world's most authoritative motoring magazines, rounded up the usual suspects including the all-new Lexus IS 350 to anoint the spiritual leader of the sports sedan pack. Their winner? The new Lexus IS 350 F SPORT of course. And, here's the proof:
"… the crowning of a Lexus as the high priest of the sports-sedan world is something few saw coming – until we dove into the twisting, climbing, kinking, plunging roads around Texas. We didn't see it coming because, on any other type of road, the IS clearly exhibits Lexus's traditional top priority: serenity. On typical highway surfaces, minute twitches in the steering wheel and nearly imperceptible shifts of the body offer only the slightest hint of what lurks within. But charge into a series of quick bends and the IS completely changes its character. Turn-in is crisper in the Lexus than in either the ____________ or the ____________, a fact borne out by its first-place slalom finish. More important, the Lexus is utterly imperturbable. Bumps that send other cars skittering off-line or scrambling to maintain their course are absorbed and dispatched, but not kept completely hidden from the driver. The IS manages to be both typically Lexus-civil and delightfully capable." Car and Driver June 2013
Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, endorses this glowing testimonial: "Lexus has covered all the bases and engineered the new IS to deliver the very pinnacle of dynamic performance and driver engagement while retaining the brand's legendary superlative standards of comfort and kit.
"If you're in the market for a sporting sedan with rear-wheel drive, you cannot afford to overlook the new benchmark."
Lexus IS 350 EXTERIOR
"A scaled-down GS - noticeable and aggressive… the details make the difference"
Car and Driver
- All-new exterior featuring Lexus spindle grille frontal design
- Lexus-first independent L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- F SPORT exclusive styling kit
A sporty car demands sporty looks and the all-new IS 350's tightly proportioned design fulfils this brief to a tee. At 4665mm overall, the new IS is 80mm longer and 10mm wider than its predecessor. The front overhang has increased by just 10mm, and significantly, the wheelbase has been extended by 70mm to 2800mm.
The front of the new IS represents a further evolution of the spindle grille from the GS and LS models. The design has been made more three-dimensional, and its shape accentuated by a chrome plated frame and the muscular projection of horizontal bars (E and EX models) which follow the curvature of the vehicle front.
Beneath a new, Lexus-first, pop-up bonnet design which allows for the lowest possible vehicle front profile while optimising pedestrian impact protection, the grille is flanked by headlamp clusters clearly positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself. Another Lexus first, the headlamp is underscored by Lexus trademark L-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) located independently below the cluster, giving the new IS a unique, highly distinctive visual signature.
The deep front bumper design anchors muscular front wings and flared wheel arches. Integral foglamps are housed within secondary, highly sculpted side air intakes which control the flow of air out through the wheel arches to enhance aerodynamic performance.
In profile, the strong horizontal beltline creates the impression of larger rear tyres and a lowered center of gravity. The mass of the cabin itself appears to be concentrated rearwards, visually applying weight to the rear tyres to enhance the perception of traction – thereby subliminally reinforcing the IS 350's rear-wheel drive status.
A rising crease line flowing from the lower body, through the rear wheel arch and merging into the rear lamp clusters adds further dynamism to the sweeping elegance of the sedan's sporting profile.
Incorporating an aero-stabilising fin (also known as Sakana fins) designed to smooth airflow and promote enhanced handling stability, the rear lamp clusters feature the trademark L-shape motif which instantly identifies the IS as the latest vehicle to join the Lexus model range.
The clean, elegant, coupe-like lines of the new IS are further enhanced by three additional Lexus firsts; a unique rear wheel arch design treatment which gives the tyre greater prominence by allowing it to be placed further outboard and closer to the wheel arch; a laser-brazed roof structure which joins the roof and flanks without the need for an unsightly roof drip moulding; ditto the antenna which is incorporated into the rear screen.
The new IS is equipped with a choice of two aluminium wheel designs, one 17" and one 18" exclusive to the F SPORT variant.
The Lexus compact sedan is available in a range of nine exterior colours, of which three, Nova White, Electric Blue and Sonic Titanium, are exclusive to the F SPORT.
With reference to the latter, Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for this unusual hue. An additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appears finely polished.
The F SPORT package benefits from exclusive, more sporting and aggressive exterior and interior design features as well as dynamic enhancements.
Instantly recognised by an exclusive grille and front bumper design, the "waistline" of the grille is higher than on standard models, increasing the area of the lower grille to make it capable of drawing in a larger volume of cooling air appropriate to a sporting performance.
The grille itself has a unique, L-shaped mesh or honeycomb finish and the lower section is trimmed with a more prominent chrome-plated frame than that of the standard IS.
The bottom corners of the front bumper feature F SPORT-exclusive aerodynamic detailing to provide both downforce and enhanced brake cooling. Unique 18" wheels feature a Y-spoke design and a dark premium metallic coated finish which indentifies them with the LFA bloodline.
"The Lexus is lavishly, indulgently comfortable… its front seats are an ergonomic feat"
Car and Driver
- More cabin space - best-in-class rear seat accommodation
- Sublime finishes
- New multi-display screen with Remote Touch Interface
- LFA-inspired instrumentation for the F SPORT
The clean, horizontal theme of the new IS interior design is bisected by the strong upward sweep of the center console, creating a snug, driver-focused, ergonomical interior environment.
The newly designed, quilted driver's seat offers greater comfort and better lateral support. The seat hip point has been lowered by 9mm and rearward seat adjustment has been increased by 19mm. The new, LFA-inspired, 3-spoke, 370mm diameter steering wheel features a new paddle shift switch shape for easier, more accurate operation, and improved ergonomics to the wheel-mounted switchgear.
The angle of the wheel has been lowered 3 degrees, and steering reach adjustment has been increased, creating a more sporting driving position. In conjunction, the windscreen wiper rest position has been lowered by 15mm to maintain the same angle of vision as that of the current model.
With 50mm of its 70mm longer wheelbase dedicated to increased rear seat space and 20mm dedicated to increased luggage capacity, the new, 10mm wider IS offers rear seat occupants significantly increased levels of comfort. The combination of extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design generates an 85mm increase in knee room for the new, 60:40 split/folding seats. And a 20mm increase in the gap between the B pillar and the front corner of the seat improves accessibility.
Throughout the interior, high quality materials and finishes convey contemporary, premium look and feel, with a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Lexus is globally renowned. Soft touch finishes abound, including knee pads (F SPORT) on either side of the center console for increased driver and front passenger comfort.
Silver metallic trim detailing throughout the cabin is complimented by a precision machined, analogue clock with surface-emitting illumination, and the latest advances in HMI (Human Machine Interface) technology.
Human-oriented interior design is one of the fundamental tenets of the Lexus L-finesse design philosophy, and the new IS dashboard is divided into two distinct zones, a display zone and an operation zone, offering drivers more comfortable, ergonomically optimised interaction with the vehicle's HMI systems.
An upper display zone locates the 7" multi-display screen at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, while a lower operational zone allows access to system controls such as the second generation of Lexus' award winning Remote Touch Interface (RTI).
The new IS follows the GS and LS in adopting a Drive Mode Select system, with meter (instrument) illumination and multi-information display design changing from blue to red in sports driving modes.
The center console incorporates another Lexus first, electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature with the touch of a finger. The IS 350 with the standard package is equipped with a new Lexus Display Audio (LDA) system whilst EX and F SPORT grade models are equipped with Remote Touch-controlled Electro Multi Vision Navigation or EMVN multimedia systems (obviously incorporating standard SatNav), and the new steering wheel is the first on a Lexus to coordinate multimedia system control with both instrument nacelle and center console displays.
The new interior design is available in a choice of three smooth leather colour schemes; Black, Ivory, and, Dark Rose, an F SPORT exclusive.
Dual-zone Air Conditioning with Electrostatic Switches
The new IS features a dual-zone air conditioning system incorporating a compact, high cooling performance expansion valve. Power consumption has been greatly reduced.
The control panel incorporates a Lexus first, touch-sensitive, electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature. Sliding a finger up or down the bar shaped switch allows for temperature adjustment in 0.5 degree Centigrade increments. Temperature can also be adjusted by simply pressing the top or bottom half of the switch or the arrow markings.
A blower customisation function allows users to select from a choice of fast, medium or soft airflow settings during Auto control. A full screen display has been added to the Lexus Display Audio (LDA) system to confirm the operational status of the system.
Advanced Multimedia Systems
Two types of multimedia system are available for use in conjunction with the high-resolution 7" full colour display, Lexus Display Audio (LDA) fitted to IS 350 with the standard package and Electro Multi Vision Navigation (EMVN) which is standard on the EX and F SPORT models.
The new generation EMVN system has been developed to provide excellent connectivity and enhanced HMI features. The new steering wheel is the first on a Lexus to coordinate multimedia system control with both the center console and instrumentation nacelle displays.
The ability to link the EMVN to the monitor in the instrument nacelle display allows the driver to view audio data, mobile phone reception and incoming call information, as well as navigation directions, while also using the cross switch on the steering wheel to select music tracks and place outgoing phone calls.
The CPU of the integral navigation system (EX and F SPORT) has approximately four times the processing power of the current system. Incorporating automatic screen zoom at intersections, the system features several advanced functions. They include a true 3-D view with city model and landmark graphics, the accurate replication of motorway signage and speed limit information.
Second Generation RTI
The EMVN system is operated via a second generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device, which has been enhanced for increased user-friendliness and ease of operation.
The system incorporates the world's first slide haptic joystick mechanism (operates much like a computer mouse) that allows users to scroll quickly and easily across the display screen. The ENTER command is now accomplished by simply pushing the controller. Usability has also been improved through the addition of ambient lighting, and by minimising the difference in height between the RTI controller and the armrest.
Premium Sound System
The new Lexus IS is fitted as standard with a Premium Sound System representing the next generation of realism and clarity in Lexus sound. It features a fully digital, Class-D, 8 channel amplifier capable of creating virtually distortion-free sound with minimal voltage losses. The natural sound dynamics and rich harmonies generated by the high definition amplification are faithfully reproduced by an enhanced, 8-speaker layout which features a new, 55 mm wide-range tweeter.
iPod functionality and interface quality has been enhanced; via USB port connectivity, the iPod menu can now be driven from the vehicle's steering wheel control switches, and album cover art displayed on the 17.78 cm (7") multimedia screen.
The major differentiator on the F SPORT model is the instrument cluster which incorporates an innovative driver's meter with moving center ring from the LFA (can also be customised for personalised display information).
A Lexus first, an exclusive, highly supportive sports seat design uses an "integrated foaming" construction method, allowing injection moulding of large concave surfaces while ensuring that there are no gaps between the seat upholstery and the foam padding to combine excellent comfort with outstanding lateral holding performance.
Bespoke interior trim detailing includes an F SPORT steering wheel and shift knob finished in perforated leather, metal film 3D-effect ornamentation, black seat stitching, and aluminium pedals and scuff plates.
"Changing from 'normal' to 'sport' reveals a sharp duality."
Car and Driver
- 228kW 3.5 V6
- Zero to 100 km/h in 5,9 seconds
- 8-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) auto box from the Lexus IS F with G-AI, G force-response gear selection and shift control
Carried over from its predecessor, the new IS 350's advanced, 3456cc V6 petrol engine features D-4S direct and port injection, and Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) to both intake and exhaust camshafts, significantly enhancing engine performance and reducing fuel consumption.
The engine features a lightweight, die-cast aluminium cylinder block. The cylinder head castings have been optimised to make them thin-walled and lighter, the spark plugs have been positioned near the center of the combustion chamber to enhance anti-knocking and combustion performance, and the intake and exhaust valve diameters have been made as large as possible to improve performance.
A roller rocker arm has been adopted for the valve mechanism to reduce friction and improve fuel economy. And the engine's target idle speed in D range at low speed has been changed to further enhance fuel efficiency.
The unit develops 228kW at 6400rpm and 375Nm of torque at 4800rpm, accelerating the IS 350 from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 225km/h. Fuel consumption is pegged at 9.7 L/100km in the combined cycle.
8-Speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) Automatic Transmission
All new SA-spec IS models are now equipped with the 8-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission from the acclaimed Lexus IS F.
In Sport mode, via new paddle shifters with improved ergonomics, this is the first Lexus model to adopt G-AI control; a system that automatically selects the optimum gear and downshift pattern in response to G force input (courtesy of yaw sensors), also maintaining the selected gear through a corner. The transmission also offers complete lock-up for quick-response shifting from 2nd through to 8th gear.
"The manner in which it transforms from innocuous to vivid is … miraculous"
Car and Driver
- New laser screw and adhesive body bonding techniques for a substantial increase in overall body rigidity
- Revised front suspension with a 20% increase in roll rigidity, new multilink rear suspension for increased grip and stability
- New Electric Power Steering System for a lighter, smoother more accurate feel with greater feedback
- Newly Adopted Drive Mode Select -switchable optimisation of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics
- Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system for fine tuning ride characteristics
The target of segment-leading driving enjoyment has been at the heart of the new IS development programme, and -sacrificing none of the quietness and comfort inherent in any Lexus- every aspect of the new compact sedan's driving dynamics has been painstakingly engineered to that end.
The new bodyshell is lighter, yet more rigid than its predecessor. The front suspension system has been revised, and an all new rear suspension system adopted, combining outstanding grip performance with excellent response to steering inputs. A new steering system offers a lighter, smoother, more accurate steering feel with enhanced response to inputs and greater feedback to the driver.
A new Drive Mode Select system features up to five switchable driving modes- ECO, SNOW, NORMAL, SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+ (the latter two settings available on the F SPORT model which is equipped with AVS), to optimise the driver's preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
An Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system is standard with the F SPORT package, allowing for the fine tuning of vehicle ride characteristics with a choice of NORMAL or SPORT S+ modes.
Lighter Bodyshell with Improved Rigidity
New, laser screw and adhesive body bonding techniques, along with additional spot welding, have substantially increased overall body rigidity. This not only enhances stability and body control, but also allows for a more comfortable ride with no detriment to handling agility.
The comprehensive use of body adhesives is a major factor in the optimisation of the new IS's handling. Rather than joining panels at points, as in spot welding, the body adhesive technique forms a bond along the entire surface of joined panels, maximising the rigidity of the joints. Over 25 metres of body adhesive has been used in the new IS, with a significant effect on the enhancement of body rigidity and improves the bodyshell's vibration damping characteristics.
Adopted for the first time on the new LS, the IS also uses laser screw welding which is applied to the door openings and around the upper back panel. This new technique achieves a fine pitch not possible with spot welding, joining a larger panel area than traditional welding to better suppress cross-sectional deformation.
Weight reduction was a second important goal in the development of the new IS bodyshell. The use of hot stamped and high-tensile steel sheets for reinforcements and other critical components combines strength and structural simplification with a reduction in weight. This, allied to the use of aluminium in various locations including the bonnet, has made several key components lighter than in its predecessor.
Revised Front Suspension and New Rear Multilink System
The new IS combines a revised double wishbone front suspension system with a new multilink rear system similar to that of the latest generation Lexus GS. Both systems have been fine tuned to match the driving feel of the new Lexus, combining improved ride comfort with outstanding grip performance and excellent response to steering inputs.
The front suspension system features revisions to the upper support, hub and bearing, stabilizer link, bushing and bar, and the lower arm. The stabiliser layout has been revised and bar rigidity increased by 20% to reduce roll during cornering. Compensating for this increase in stabilizer rigidity, the coil spring rate has been lowered, enhancing ride comfort.
Roll rigidity distribution has been increased to help optimise steering response and stability during emergency manoeuvre. In addition, the front lower arm bushing rigidity has been doubled to enhance yaw response during steering.
The new multilink rear suspension features a separately located coil spring and shock absorber which increases shock absorber efficiency, enhancing ride comfort. This modified layout has increased the pitch between the suspension towers, increasing luggage space.
The multilink system has been substantially revised for installation in the new IS, with revisions to both upper and lower arms, the toe control arm, the upper support, shock absorber, carrier, hub bearing and stabiliser.
The characteristics of the bushing and shock absorber sliding parts have been optimised by adopting a lightweight, resin-free piston with sliding ring, achieving a 53% reduction in suspension friction. And locating the toe control arm at the back increases tyre grip by some 15% when cornering, contributing to excellent stability.
New Electric Power Steering System
Steering feel and feedback is fundamental to an enjoyable driving experience, and the IS's new Electric Power Steering (EPS) system benefits from a steering gearbox based on that of the new GS, incorporating a variety of tuning implementations.
With particular attention paid to a clear perception of the neutral steering position, the structure and rigidity of each gear box component has been revised to create a lighter, smoother, more accurate steering feel with enhanced response to input and greater feedback to the driver.
The stroke ratio of the power steering gear has been increased by some 8%, changing the rack stroke per pinion turn to 55.6mm. The rigidity of the rack bushing has been increased to four times that of the current model, rack end bushing wear has been reduced, and the use of floating end bushings offers enhanced response to minor steering adjustments. Within the steering gearbox, pinion gear support rigidity has been increased and the ball screw structure has been modified to enhance the smoothness of motor torque transfer.
In conjunction with these comprehensive improvements, the EPS assist characteristics have also been optimised to further enhance the vehicle's dynamic performance and steering feel.
Enhanced Braking Performance
The IS features a completely new brake system, designed to offer the quick response, smooth, linear effectiveness and controllability appropriate to a Lexus sports sedan.
IS 350 feature 334x30mm ventilated front discs, and 310x18mm ventilated discs to the rear with the lightweight aluminum alloy rear brake calipers derived from the new GS.
The compact, lightweight master cylinder and stroke simulator have been designed using knowledge gleaned from the development of the LFA. Brake booster power has been optimised to enhance brake effectiveness and controllability. And the pedal shape, angle and ratio changed to provide instant response to changes in applied pedal force and greater controllability.
Brake cooling performance has also been improved by the adoption of straighter brake ducts which provide an increase in cooling airflow volume, minimising brake fade even under protracted use.
Newly Adopted Drive Mode Select
A new Drive Mode Select system features up to five switchable driving modes - ECO, SNOW, NORMAL, SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+ (the latter two available on F SPORT models), to optimise the driver's preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
In ECO mode, engine output, throttle opening and gear selection are automatically modulated to favour fuel efficiency under all driving conditions. The air conditioning system temperature and airflow volume are also cooperatively controlled, further reducing fuel consumption.
SNOW mode modulates throttle response to optimise vehicle traction and stability when starting on slippery surfaces.
In SPORT/SPORT S mode, engine speed and throttle responses are optimised to allow customers to enjoy a more engaging driving experience which exploits the full capabilities of both petrol and full hybrid powertrains.
Available on the F SPORT model which comes standard with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), SPORT S+ mode combines the SPORT/SPORT S mode's enhanced powertrain output with coordinated control of the AVS and EPS or Variable Gear Ratio Steering to minimise body roll, sharpen vehicle handling and optimise steering feel, rewarding drivers with the ultimate in sporting driving dynamics.
Enhancing the enjoyment of the new IS's expanded breadth of driving style preferences, the ambient illumination of the driver's instruments changes to a tranquil blue in ECO mode, whilst switching to red in both SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+ modes.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) System (F SPORT)
The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system allows the driver to fine tune the IS F SPORT's ride characteristics with a choice of two damper settings; NORMAL mode, for everyday driving comfort, and SPORT S+ mode, for improved body control and precise responses to steering input while cornering.
In response to driving operation, vehicle body motion and road surface conditions, AVS automatically adjusts the performance of the suspension at all four wheels, independently activating the adjustable damping force shock absorbers to fulfill a wide range of specific control functions.
When SPORT S+ mode is selected, the AVS system automatically increases the difference between inner and outer shock absorber damping through corners to further reduce vehicle roll.
Intake Sound Creator
All models have an intake sound generator which creates a more sporting engine note. The sound creator uses a damper that amplifies the vibration of the intake pulse and introduces it as an enhanced mechanical note into the cabin to heighten the sporting driving experience.
Variable Gear Ratio Steering / VGRS (F SPORT)
Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) is available for the first time on the IS model range with the F SPORT package.
At low and medium speeds, VGRS automatically decreases the steering gear ratio for fast, accurate vehicle response during tight cornering and parking manoeuvres. At high speed, the gear ratio is increased to provide a more gentle response to steering inputs and maximum vehicle stability.
The VGRS system promotes excellent driver feedback, with refined steering wheel operation at very low speeds, reduced understeer feel and enhanced steering adjustment response when cornering, and minimal steering angle adjustment required when changing lanes.
The VGRS system actuator is also linked to the Lexus sedan's sophisticated Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management control system (VDIM) which, as the IS approaches the limit of its performance envelope, constantly re-evaluates the steering gear ratio to optimise the front wheel steering angle and, hence, maintain vehicle stability with minimum driver input.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE SAFETY
- Unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM)
- High- and ultra-high-tensile steel body structure realising maximum occupant protection and weight reduction
- Lexus-first Pop-Up Hood (PUH) design combining low front profile with optimum pedestrian impact protection
- 10 SRS airbags fitted as standard
Every Lexus is designed to offer the very highest levels of active and passive safety. Incorporating Lexus' unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, the new IS model range builds on the already superior safety performance of the current generation model with the addition of several, advanced new active safety features such as an Auto Location Tyre Pressure Warning System (AL-TPWS).
Within a highly rigid body structure of exceptional car-to-car impact compatibility, no less than 10 SRS airbags are fitted as standard, and a newly developed pop-up hood design allows for the lowest possible vehicle front profile while optimising pedestrian impact protection.
Auto Location Tyre Pressure Warning System (AL-TPWS)
Based on data from a sensor integrated within the tyre air valve assembly, the AL-TPWS indicates pressure values for each of the four tyres via a display located within the driver's instrument binnacle. When low tyre pressure is detected, the display shows the air pressure of the affected tyre in amber, highlighting the figure.
With a conventional system, the warning lamp will not notify the driver of the specific tyre in question, whereas AL-TPWS clearly indicates which of the four tyres has low-pressure status.
Since sensor data is received the moment the ignition is turned on, the driver can check tyre pressures before starting off. This not only helps enhance fuel economy and tyre longevity, but also contributes to preventive safety by helping to reduce the risk of a flat tyre or similar failure.
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)
The new IS model range features Lexus' unique, state-of-the-art Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system to enhance performance, traction control and vehicle stability.
With comprehensive status data provided by sensors throughout the vehicle, VDIM integrates the IS's Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) active safety systems with the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) or, in the case of the F SPORT, Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).
By the application of integrated control of all the elements related to vehicle movement, including motor torque, brakes and steering, VDIM not only optimises the activation of braking, stability and traction control systems, but is also able to further improve the overall kinetic performance of the vehicle.
Moreover, whereas conventional active safety systems are only activated immediately after a limit of the vehicle's dynamic envelope has been reached, VDIM activates control before that limit is realised. As a result, the limits of the vehicle's dynamic threshold have been expanded, while offering smoother vehicle behaviour at this threshold through less obtrusive intervention and, hence, a more pleasurable drive.
When braking in a corner, for example, a loss of rear tyre grip may result in oversteer. Through the EBD function, the use of linear brake actuators makes it possible to begin control before the vehicle's limit has been reached. The VDIM system apportions the appropriate braking force to each wheel, ensuring continued vehicle stability by pre-emptively restraining the spinning tendency, while contributing to superior braking performance.
Under even stronger braking in a corner, front wheel lock-up and loss of grip may result in understeer. By once again independently controlling the braking force to all four wheels via the EBD system, VDIM helps to prevent front wheel lock-up and regain vehicle balance, offering seamless control until the conventional ABS and VSC functions take over.
Moreover, via the EPS or VGRS actuator, VDIM will augment VSC operation by providing steering assistance to reduce torque steer under braking on surfaces of varying grip, as well as introducing steering torque assistance in both understeer and oversteer conditions, helping the driver to optimise the front wheel steering angle and maintain vehicle stability with minimum input.
Reflecting the stringent car-to-car impact compatibility standards unique to the Lexus marque, the new IS has been created with the express aim of achieving class-leading safety in full-frontal, offset, side-on and rear collisions.
The comprehensive use of high- and ultra-high-tensile steel within the body structure optimally transfers and disperses impact load, minimising cabin deformation during a collision and maintaining space for the occupants.
The rear bumper reinforcement has also been fabricated using new, electromagnetic forming techniques. The caulked structure eliminates the need for bolt fastening, combing energy absorption efficiency with weight reduction.
Satisfying current pedestrian impact legislation would have required the raising of the new IS hood by some 40mm over the height of the current model. However, a newly developed Pop-Up Hood (PUH) design allows for the lowest possible vehicle front profile while optimising pedestrian impact protection.
A Lexus-first, the system uses a sensor in the front bumper to detect that a person has collided with the front of the vehicle. Actuators then immediately pop up the hood some 70mm, maximising the space between the hood and engine, and allowing the hood to deform in order to absorb the collision impact of the person's head.
The high-precision sensors and control system ensure that the PUH will not deploy in the event of a collision with a bollard, lamp post or other obstacle.
The Lexus IS benefits from 10 SRS airbags; two-stage Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) front airbags, both driver and front passenger SRS knee airbags, front and rear SRS side airbags, as well as full length SRS side curtain airbags.
The advanced, Supplementary Restraint System controls variable-force SRS front airbags for both driver and front passenger. Sensors determine the severity on an impact and, hence, the force with which the SRS airbags are deployed.
PRICING AND SPECIFICATION
Hamman remarked that, "while it may seem vulgar to talk price when referring to such a sophisticated car, one cannot overlook the fact that the new Lexus IS now offers more car for your money than any of its rivals."
The entry point to the new range is the IS 350 priced at R449 900. This model is generously specified, and includes the following main specifications:
- 17" alloy wheels
- Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- Drive Mode Select (Normal, Eco & Sport)
- Illuminated Entry System
- Cruise Control
- Economy Meter
- Smart Entry System and remote control
- Multi-Information Display
- Three-spoke steering wheel with audio switches and paddle shift
- Dual-zone climate control
- Power heated mirrors
- HID headlamps with dusk sensing function and headlamp clearner
- 10 airbags
- Full leather upholstery
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- 60/40 split rear seats
- Eight-way power adjustable front seats
- Auto Location Tyre Pressure Warning System
- Eight-speaker Lexus display audio with audio input terminal, iPod integration and Bluetooth connectivity
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
- Traction Control (TRC)
- ABS with Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
- Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM)
The feature model of the new IS range is the EX, priced at R499 900. This model adds the following to the E model:
- Electrochromatic mirror
- EMVN Multimedia system with upper display and lower operational zones
- Lexus' winning Remote Touch Interface (RTI) controller
- Fully integrated satellite navigation with automatic screen zoom and 3-D functionality
- Lexus Park Assist with Back Guide Monitor (BGM)
- Park distance sensors
- Rain-sensing wipers
F SPORT is the premier model which is priced at R553 900. This version adds further sport cues to the interior and exterior design as well as extra technology including:
- 18" 10 spoke F Sport alloy wheels
- F Sport mesh grille
- Power heated mirrors with memory and auto retractable function
- Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) System (in combination with Sport S+ setting on the Drive Mode Select
- Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS)
- LFA-style instrument meters
- F SPORT aluminium sports pedals
- F SPORT leather trim on steering wheel and gear lever
- F SPORT sports seats
As with the rest of the Lexus range, all models in the IS range are covered by a four-year/100 000 km warranty. On the maintenance front, the E Model comes standard with the Lexus "Distance" plan, the EX model gets "Distance Plan Plus" and the F-Sport gets "Distance Plan Complete".