Car review: Lexus IS 300h F-Sport driven — road test — BBC Top Gear

30 Апр 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Lexus Lexus IS 300h

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Set against the almost tediously competence of the German Three’s £30,000 saloons, the all-new IS300h is as fascinatingly patchy as an Alfa Romeo. Well, the areas in which it’s (quality, refinement, cost of and the areas in which it’s deficient (engine charisma) are an reversal of what owners of old ‘enjoyed’. Even so, the Lexus is a car demands its buyers are sure what they want a car, and what drawbacks are prepared to suffer in pursuit of aims.

The new IS really is all-new on top and new underneath. But Lexus’s ambition have limits. They that in Europe more two-thirds of the 3-Series/A4/C-Class stranglehold is up by two-litre diesels. And they’re charmingly frank that don’t have the diesel to match the opposition. But since low CO2 are the main reason all those are sold, they decided to to their knitting: a petrol (They offer an IS250 a V6 petrol too, but no one will buy it, as no one much in Europe buys six-pot BMWs and Audis and anymore. Plus it’s an thirsty engine, and it’s for really.)

Actually, the new IS nearly didn’t Back in 2008 when no one how far the world car market would many people in Toyota rooting for a cut-price solution to development. In the US, they have a car the ES, a rebodied Toyota Camry. as big as the GS, but has FWD and is no fun, yet in the US (Lexus’s prime it outsells the GS four to one. The for killing the GS looked clear. But got a petrol-head new boss, and a new rear-drive GS got the I was driving that GS a few weeks and it’s an engaging car.

The suspension, powertrain, hybrid architecture, electronics and much have been transferred to the IS. than one senior Lexus has told me there would been no RWD IS without that GS. I we’d have had a rebodied instead, so help us.

The IS’s engineer Naoki Kobayashi is a bit of an himself. He had been assigned to do a new — go Google the FT-HS — but, in between the being poured into the GT86 and the development-hell Lexus that car was canned and he got to do this IS (The story later another twist, since and BMW are now working together on a sports car in the Supra space.)

The new IS has some of the body structure of the old but it has several new braces underneath. still didn’t think was enough and wanted to use adhesive-bonded seams. He knew the management say no, because that needs factory investment. So, under the he built a seam-glued prototype and got the boss to drive it. Sure the investment was approved.

As I say, is good at hybrid. This one a mostly new 2.5-litre engine, lots of friction-reducing measures. It direct injection, and is tuned to best at medium revs, the electric motor filling in the On-paper acceleration is OK, with in 8.3 seconds, but top speed is limited to because it uses a simpler for the electric motor than in the GS to cut weight and friction. For most of us, 125 is fine.

The IS300h slips the magic 100g/km CO2 line, at the narrow-tyred base version and so company car tax is super-cheap. We were the F-Sport on broad rear but even so it manages a scant All versions do 0-62mph in 8.3secs. noting is that Lexus’s has automatic transmission integral to the whereas for most rivals you to pay extra, both in price and

Wrapping all this is a body similar in outline to the last but has stronger curves and haunches. also punctuated by a grille a big digital figure-eight, and sharp LEDs separated from the lamp clusters. The tail-lamps as if from a slash in the bodywork. The is also 70mm longer in its to the good mostly of rear-seat though if you were sat there for you’d still call it a bit for a four-door.

From the front, the a success. It’s an unusual and fetching three-dimensional dash clad in either leather or a thereof that had me fooled. it’s a Lexus, the quality of is pretty fine and the list of goes on and on. The F-Sport version has reconfigurable clocks to the ones in the and excellent sports seats Many versions have a of radar eyes and blind-spot and satnav capable of online and even Google Street (which shows you a screen you the option of street view of current position. Why not just out of the window instead of staring at the

This stiff body and suspension do reap rewards, not in handling but in ride and refinement, To all intents and purposes, the IS steers as and as sharply as any of the opposition. Especially in the version, which has a slightly chassis, the handling’s slop-free, and the assembly has a happy hunger for and roundabouts, with a reassuring, if one-dimensional, mild understeer it’s all out. The ride’s too, without much or thumping, even though it is, on the slightly on the taut side of the

Lexus Lexus IS 300h

So far then, you’re thinking has hit a bit of a bullseye in making an attractive, and thrifty sports saloon. But because we haven’t got to the hybrid and the way it drives. If you like curving with lots of speed this is a bit of a stinker. Not because it change speed, but for the way it does it.

The 2.5-litre petrol engine and motor together make at peak. Good on paper; power than the rival 2.0 anyway. But the Lexus/Toyota hybrid depends for its efficiency on the engine up and down in a way that’s almost unrelated to road speed. of auditory hints on the way into a you have spookily little how fast you’re going. as you accelerate away again, its to the accelerator sounds squidgy and Not sporty, then.

But Kobayashi has a — and rather sneaky answer. A little switch a loudspeaker that emits a ‘engine’ noise. Its pitch is to road speed. It even has six registers controlled by steering-wheel To stress: it has nothing whatsoever to do the true rpm, it’s synthetic. But it does offer ears a clue to your of acceleration or braking. You can play while braking do a ‘downshift’ and the synthesised sound rise in while the real rpm on the tacho falling. It’s gimmicky, but it helps you engage more the IS. Pity they didn’t the LFA’s V10 howl — or that of one of those Eighties twin-cams on twin Dell’Ortos.

Anyway, thrash a hybrid that, and it gets thirsty. CVT petrol hybrids shine in driving, especially in cities. In situation, they’re probably economical and definitely far quieter diesels, especially for the surprisingly times when you dribble under electric power The IS is civilised on the motorway too. I Lexus had binned the idea of it sporty and softened off the suspension, to the powertrain’s strengths.

The numbers

4cyl + hybrid, RWD, total system power, n/a lb ft, 109g/km CO2, 0-62 in 125mph, 1650kg, £33,495


The sound of one hand clapping. character doesn’t agree the (excellent) rest of the car.

Lexus Lexus IS 300h
Lexus Lexus IS 300h


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