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Тест Lexus IS 200t F Sport: седан с бойцовским характером

Тест Lexus IS 200t F Sport: седан с бойцовским характером

О том, что не всякий Лексус комфортом славится, сделал «Самодостаточное заявление» Lexus IS 250 третьего поколения. Теперь же Lexus IS 200t не только анонсирует свою спортивность внешностью и настройками шасси, но и подкрепляет свое заявление новым заметно более мощным и тяговитым турбомотором.

Что новенького?

На момент написания статьи стоимость обновленного Lexus IS в Украине начинается с 1 057 574 грн. Он предлагается в трех вариантах оснащения: Business, Executive и F Sport. То, что у нашего автомобиля – новейшая наиболее спортивная и одновременно богатая (1 427 089 грн) комплектация, выдает плетенная структура радиаторной решетки.

Четыре года назад с этой моделью третьего поколения мы знакомились на примере Lexus IS 250 с V-образной шестеркой объемом 2,5 л, развивающей 208 л.с. и 257 Нм.

Она стала немного крупнее и слегка приподняла «талию». А два огромных воздухозаборника в нижних углах – не что иное, как воздуховоды, через которые потоки воздуха направляются на передние тормозные механизмы для более эффективного охлаждения.

Для лучшей аэродинамики применяются накладки на днище, небольшие спойлеры-плавники на передних дверях в районе зеркал и на задних фонарях. Но быстрее всего обновленный Lexus IS вы узнаете по фарам новой формы. Они не просто поменяли «взгляд» седана, головная оптика теперь полностью светодиодная и умеет самостоятельно управлять дальним светом.

Форма фар Lexus IS поменялась, но, как и прежде, являет собой сочетание выпуклостей и плавных линий. Но за ними скрыты полностью светодиодные лампы. Сзади не хватает бегущих вдоль габаритных полосок указателей поворота. В углах решетки – дополнительные воздуховоды для охлаждения передних тормозов.

Вот только освещать повороты этот Лексус так и не научился. Когда загораются крупные LED-лампы, машина приобретает откровенно агрессивный вид. Но сектор освещения в непосредственной близости от машины узок.

Сзади обновленная модель щеголяет иными выпускными патрубками квадратной формы. А вот фонари хотя и знакомой формы, но другой светодиодной структуры и выглядят намного эффектнее прежних.

Дизайн и сложная архитектура торпедо с крупным выступающим парапетом – на любителя. Но в машине сидишь, как в спортивном купе: низкое кресло с цепкой боковой поддержкой, справа высокий трансмиссионный тоннель, в руках руль небольшого диаметра с крупными переключателями передач, за ним компактный щиток приборов, под ногами педали с алюминиевыми накладками.

На мой взгляд, еще более круто смотрелись бы динамические, бегущие вдоль габаритных полосок указатели поворотов, но они тут мигающие.

И как же авто в такой конфигурации идет новый цвет – насыщенный и глубокий голубой (Deep Blue Mica)! Он вызывает неизменное восхищение у всех, кто видел машину, и здорово сочетается с темно-красной обивкой салона.

Как и прежде, в дорогой комплектации есть вентиляция передних кресел, электрические приводы и память положения водительского сиденья и руля, подогрев обода баранки.

Впрочем, не только этим интерьер создает атмосферу спортивности. За нее также отвечают черная отделка полотка и стоек кузова, небольшой руль с логотипом F Sport и крупными подрулевыми переключателями, алюминиевые накладки на педали, а также посадка.

Почти купе

Компактный кокпит Lexus IS сразу настраивает на спортивный лад. Сиденья плотно держат в своих объятиях, водителя и переднего пассажира разделяет высокая консоль на центральном тоннеле.

С системой сенсорного управления температурой модель третьего поколения познакомила нас еще до обновления. Проводишь пальцем вверх-вниз – и градусы повышаются-понижаются, а каждое касание сенсора в нижней или верхней части понижает или повышает температуру на полградуса.

Он, кстати, создает много неудобств тому, кому досталось сидеть на втором ряду по центру. Тут даже невысокий человек ощущает себя лишним. Все-таки задний ряд отформован под двоих, а потолок слишком низкий.

Кнопки управления маршрутной информацией на руле собраны в новые – квадратные – блоки, а сам щиток приборов как на суперкаре Lexus LFA. А еще мне он напоминает о Lexus IS первого поколения.

Стиль приборной панели строг, и только в спортивном режиме появляется белая подложка шкалы тахометра. После 5000 об/мин она вспыхивает красным цветом, а стрелка на короткое время оставляет засечку там, куда успела взлететь перед падением при включении более высокой передачи.

Все показатели сгруппированы вокруг тахометра. И одним нажатием кнопки круглый циферблат можно элегантно сдвинуть вместе с обрамлением вправо. Такое можно встретить в суперкаре Lexus LFA. На открывающийся слева большой экран выводим массу информации. Помимо маршрутных данных, тут есть индикатор перегрузок и давления наддува. Когда стрелка залетает выше отметки в 1 Бар, вспыхивает желтый ободок.

В нем приборы были очень компактно размещены в стиле старинного хронометра. Теперь мы видим нечто похожее, но в современной интерпретации – в электронном виде.

А фишка в том, что при вызове дополнительного меню круглый циферблат элегантно скользит вправо, открывая дополнительный экран, на который можно вывести различную информацию.

Модернизированный джойстик системы дистанционного управления Remote Touch нового поколения с удобной подушечкой под руку и горячей кнопкой Enter – под большой палец.

Таким образом удобнее пользоваться аудиосистемой, не отвлекаясь от дороги. Жаль, что с телефоном так работать нельзя. Было бы удобно искать нужного абонента если и не во всей телефонной книге, то хотя бы в журнале последних разговоров.

Рядом с рычагом коробки передач – новый джойстик управления системой дистанционного управления Remote Touch следующего поколения с удобной подставкой под руку и горячей кнопкой Enter под большой палец.

Посадка очень плотная, но система легкого входа/выхода (руль и сиденье разъезжаются, освобождая проем) помогает легко попасть в салон и покинуть место водителя.

Сама система стала более прогрессивной. А в комплектации F Sport она оснащена цветным 10,3-дюймовым экраном Electro Multi Vision. Его можно разделить и одновременно пользоваться картой и телефонной книгой, отображать штатный рабочий стол и данные с климат-контроля и т.д.

Тут же при включении задней передачи открывается картинка с камеры, а в соседнем окошке – предупреждение о транспорте, приближающемся поперечным курсом. Ранее таким навыком этот Лексус не обладал, так как не оснащался системой мониторинга мертвых зон боковых зеркал. Теперь ее датчики контролируют ситуацию позади машины.

На втором ряду сидеть удобно, но место над головой ограничено. Даже я со своими 1,75 м практически подпираю потолок. Что уж говорить о среднем пассажире, сидящем на возвышении. Этот седан можно смело сравнивать с 4-дверными купе, которые сегодня в тренде.

На модель можно установить и камеру под лобовым стеклом. С ней Лексус начнет видеть полосы и предупреждать водителя о выезде на разметку, считывать и показывать на щитке приборов дорожные знаки, а также автоматически управлять дальним светом.

Помимо этого машину можно укомплектовать адаптивным круиз-контролем и системой превентивной безопасности. И тогда при помощи радара она будет определять риск столкновения, предупреждать водителя и заранее повышать давление в тормозной системе. А в самом критичном случае – тормозить и подтягивать ремни.

Багажник не изменился ни по объему (480 л), ни по оснащенности (под полом докатка), ни по трансформации (спинка заднего дивана складывается в пропорции 40:60 и образует высокую ступеньку).

Но я рад, что в нашем Lexus IS этих систем нет и я управляю машиной без надзора, ведь даже систему стабилизации можно полностью отключить – и тогда седан легко и естественно уходит в дрифт под тягой в 350 Нм, доступной уже с 1650 об/мин.

Турбоэра

Четыре года назад с этой моделью третьего поколения мы знакомились на примере Lexus IS 250 с V-образной шестеркой объемом 2,5 л, развивающей 208 л.с. и 257 Нм. И он очень лихо жег задние покрышки.

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Watch the video to see how the competitors of our 2017 Luxury Sedan Challenge fared in handling on an auto cross course and on the road.

A weak drivetrain and frustrating controls were two big reasons the 2017 Lexus IS 200t finished last in our recent test of luxury sports sedans, but stepping up to the V-6-powered IS 350 doesn’t completely solve the problem.

While the IS looks the part of a luxury sports sedan thanks to aggressive exterior bodywork, its driving experience comes up short in a class that now, more than ever, is filled with fun-to-drive cars.

The IS comes in three flavors, each with a different drivetrain. The base IS 200t is powered by a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the mid-level IS 300 gets a 255-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and the top IS 350 uses a 306-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. The IS 200t and IS 350 have standard rear-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmissions. All-wheel drive is standard on the IS 300 and optional on the IS 350; if you choose AWD, the eight-speed transmission is replaced with a six-speed automatic. Compare these cars’ specs here.

We drove an IS 200t with an as-tested price of $47,523 (including a $975 destination charge) and a rear-wheel-drive IS 350 with an as-tested price of $49,579. Options on both cars included navigation, a Mark Levinson premium stereo and the F Sport Package. This performance-oriented package includes a unique grille and front bumper, 18-inch F Sport wheels with all-season or summer tires, heated and ventilated F Sport front seats, aluminum pedals and an F Sport suspension that, in the IS 350, also includes computer-controlled adaptive damping.

How It Drives

In an era of powerful, responsive turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the IS 200t’s underwhelming four-cylinder drivetrain is an outlier. Gas pedal response is very gradual, and power comes on much more slowly than it does in competitors like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4 and BMW 330i. The subjective scores and objective performance numbers from our comparison test bear. Show full review

The IS comes in three flavors, each with a different drivetrain. The base IS 200t is powered by a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the mid-level IS 300 gets a 255-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and the top IS 350 uses a 306-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. The IS 200t and IS 350 have standard rear-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmissions. All-wheel drive is standard on the IS 300 and optional on the IS 350; if you choose AWD, the eight-speed transmission is replaced with a six-speed automatic. Compare these cars’ specs here.

We drove an IS 200t with an as-tested price of $47,523 (including a $975 destination charge) and a rear-wheel-drive IS 350 with an as-tested price of $49,579. Options on both cars included navigation, a Mark Levinson premium stereo and the F Sport Package. This performance-oriented package includes a unique grille and front bumper, 18-inch F Sport wheels with all-season or summer tires, heated and ventilated F Sport front seats, aluminum pedals and an F Sport suspension that, in the IS 350, also includes computer-controlled adaptive damping.

How It Drives

In an era of powerful, responsive turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the IS 200t’s underwhelming four-cylinder drivetrain is an outlier. Gas pedal response is very gradual, and power comes on much more slowly than it does in competitors like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4 and BMW 330i. The subjective scores and objective performance numbers from our comparison test bear this out: The IS 200t had the lowest-rated powertrain of the seven cars we tested, and it was slowest both to 60 mph (7.6 seconds) and through the quarter-mile (15.5 seconds at 93 mph). Complete performance results for all the cars we tested are available here.

Читать еще:  Lexus GS 2017

The IS 350’s V-6 also underwhelmed. Even though it’s rated a healthy 306 hp, it doesn’t feel as quick as you’d expect — particularly on the highway. While the IS 350 easily keeps pace with highway traffic in general, when you need more oomph to pass, the V-6’s reserve power is modest.

Editors had problems with the eight-speed automatic transmission, too. Though it doesn’t make the kind of abrupt, unrefined shifts we’ve experienced in some high-gear-count transmissions — like the nine-speed automatic in some Jeeps — they complained that the transmission paired with the four-cylinder engine was slow to respond and had trouble picking the right gear. The transmission works better with the V-6, where it readily performed both part-throttle downshifts and full-throttle kickdowns.

The Lexus IS 200t wasn’t particularly fun to drive, either, favoring driver isolation over involvement. There’s not a lot of steering feedback, and turn-in is gradual. Editors also dinged the IS 200t’s firm, busy ride and overall lack of athleticism. The Cadillac ATS, Giulia and Jaguar XE were much more entertaining.

The IS 350’s F Sport suspension is firm. You feel it most when you hit a manhole cover or drive on rougher pavement. Otherwise, the ride is comfortable, controlled and well-suited for long-distance cruising. The suspension doesn’t feel different between the Normal and Sport S settings, but the ride is a little harder in Sport S Plus mode.

The IS 200t’s EPA-estimated gas mileage of 22/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined is within a few mpg of its four-cylinder competitors. In the IS 350, estimated gas mileage dips to 19/28/22 mpg.

The Inside

Like some of its competitors, the IS’ cabin is snug. If you like to sit with the driver’s seat raised as I do, the side window and roof won’t be far from your head; my head once hit the roof when driving over a big bump (I’m 6-foot-1). There’s good legroom in front: The driver’s footwell is wide, and the bolstered F Sport seats are soft yet supportive, holding you securely in place when cornering.

With its good legroom and foot space, the backseat is big enough to comfortably seat two adults. It’s roomier than the Giulia’s or ATS’ backseat, but the roof encroaches a bit here, too. The seat cushion is also a little low, resulting in a slightly knees-raised seating position. The center floor hump is extremely large; anyone riding in the middle seat would have to find foot space in the outer footwells.

Folding the standard 60/40-split rear seat reveals a big ledge where the trunk floor and backrest meet, making it difficult to slide a long piece of cargo into the car and shrinking the opening between the trunk and passenger area. You can lock the folding seats from the trunk, which deactivates the cabin seat-release buttons.

Most of the surfaces you touch have a high-grade feel, like the soft-touch trim on the doors. It’s consistently applied, so backseat passengers enjoy the same premium materials as those in front. However, the patterned-plastic and silver-colored surfaces look cheap — a problem magnified by competitors like the A4, which includes standard aluminum trim.

The cabin has some unique elements, but they’re a mix of hits and misses. One of the hits is the motorized instrument cluster that’s included in the F Sport Package. It features a large tachometer and digital speedometer surrounded by a few other data points, like engine temperature and fuel level. Pressing a button on the steering wheel slides the tachometer screen to the right to show additional information, such as radio stations. Lexus could have used a single digital display to create these different views, but the motorized element is a neat touch.

On the other hand, the infotainment system’s volume and tuning knobs are a miss. They have a rubberized finish, which is a little odd, and the tops of them are beveled, which gives them a strange feel. We’re not fans of the touch-sensitive sliders for adjusting driver and passenger temperature, either.

Undoubtedly the biggest miss is Lexus’ frustrating Remote Touch controller, which comes with the optional navigation system but also controls other functions. It’s not as bad as the trackpad-style interface in other Lexus models, but the IS’ console-mounted, mouselike controller is much harder to use than the 3 Series’ iDrive system or the Mercedes-Benz C300’s Comand, both of which employ rotary knobs instead.

The biggest issue with Remote Touch is its freeform nature, which creates problems in a moving car. The mouse controller moves a cursor on the dashboard display, and even though the system incorporates haptic feedback, which you feel when the cursor lands on a selection, it still requires too much of your attention and is hard to use by feel alone. The navigation system’s 10.3-inch screen is new for the 2017 model year; its high-resolution graphics look great, and a split-screen view makes the most of the widescreen layout.

Safety

The IS received good scores (on a scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good) in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s roof strength test and moderate overlap front and side impact crash tests. It received an acceptable rating in IIHS’ small overlap front crash test and for its headlight performance, and its newly standard automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian detection was rated superior, the highest score possible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the IS a five-star overall rating — the highest possible — for its crash performance and rollover risk.

The emergency braking system is part of the IS’ standard Lexus Safety System Plus, which also includes lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights and adaptive cruise control. A backup camera and a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert are optional.

Value in Its Class

It has been a little more than four years since we last compared luxury sport sedans, and a lot has changed since then. While the 3 Series won our test in 2013, it finished second to last this time, just ahead of the IS 200t. Why the fall? The BMW 3 Series is now one of the older models in the class, and it was beaten by fresher competitors like the redesigned A4 and all-new Giulia.

Last redesigned for the 2014 model year, the IS is also one of the older cars in our comparison test. Even though its turbo four-cylinder drivetrain debuted for the 2016 model year, it didn’t do much to help the cause. Whether you’re looking for luxury or are more interested in sport in your next compact luxury sedan, you’ll have better luck with one of the IS’ competitors.

Lexus Is 200t

НазваниеОбъемДвигательКППМощностьЦена без скидки
Lexus Is 200t 2017 — . Business 2.0i (245 л.с.) 2WD 8AT1998 см 3Бен.Авт.245 лсУточняйте у мененджера
Lexus Is 200t 2017 — . Executive 2.0i (245 л.с.) 2WD 8AT1998 см 3Бен.Авт.245 лсУточняйте у мененджера
Lexus Is 200t 2017 — . F Sport 2.0i (245 л.с.) 2WD 8AT1998 см 3Бен.Авт.245 лсУточняйте у мененджера

При словосочетании «спортивный седан» многие отечественные автолюбители сразу вспоминают о Мерседесе C-класса и о БМВ 3 серии. Эти автомобили можно назвать «классикой» данного сегмента. Но неужели им нет какой-либо альтернативы? Задаваясь этим вопросом, вы наверняка вспомните об автопроизводителях страны Восходящего Солнца, а именно о Лексусе. Прямым конкурентом вышеупомянутых «немцев» является третье поколение серии IS, вышедшее в 2013 году. В 2017 году автомобиль претерпел рестайлинг, получив еще более агрессивный и стремительный внешний вид. Но помогло ли это «сместить» конкурентов? Попытаемся это выяснить на примере единственного представителя данной модели в Украние — Lexus IS 200t, который до 2017 года имел индекс IS 300.

Под капотом Лексуса ИС 200т устанавливается четырехцилиндровый бензиновый двигатель с турбонаддувом, развивающий мощность 245 л.с. и крутящий момент 350 Нм. Работает он в паре с 8-ступенчатой коробкой «автомат», которая передает все усилие на заднюю ось. Никаких альтернативных силовых установок и типов привода для Украины не предусмотрено. Судя по отзывам владельцев, положительных качеств у данного двигателя хватает:

  • Большой ресурс, как самого двигателя, так и навесного оборудования (при условии своевременного и качественного обслуживания)
  • Неплохие динамические характеристики – 7 секунд до 100 км/ч при массе автомобиля 1600-1700 кг
  • Плавная работа коробки передач
  • Расход топлива около 9 литров на 100 км в смешанном цикле

Безусловно, данная модификация найдет «своего клиента». Однако разгон в 7 секунд до «сотни» для автомобиля, который позиционируется как «спортивный седан» будет явно недостаточен. Особенно это очевидно на фоне немецких конкурентов, которые предлагают более обширную линейку двигателей с разными мощностными характеристиками.

Как уже говорилось, третье поколение Lexus IS 200t в 2017 году получило рестайлинг. Изменения коснулись всего автомобиля: новая передняя и задняя оптика, переработанный обвес, добавлено множество мелких элементов кузова, которые предают неповторимый стиль автомобилю. Как и в дорестайлинговой версии, новинка имеет три варианта внешнего оформления:

  • Комплектация Business. Наиболее простая комплектация. Визуально ее можно отличить по 17-дюймовым колесным дискам.
  • Комплектация Executive. Внешне практически не отличается от предыдущей версии. Основные изменения коснулись интерьера.
  • Комплектация F Sport. Особенностями данной версии является полностью переработанный обвес, легкосплавные 18-дюймовые диски, множество шильдиков с названием комплектации как снаружи, так внутри.

Если внешне Лексус ИС 200т всем своим видом изображает агрессию, стремительность с нотками футуристичности, то попадая в салон, сразу появляется некий диссонанс. О какой футуристичности может идти речь, если на самом видном месте – на центральной консоли – сделана огромная прорезь для CD-дисковода. Такая функция была актуальна в 2009, но не в 2019 году. Однако, если говорить об эргономике и комфорте, то все находится как обычно «на высоте». Даже в простой комплектации Business, сиденье водителя может механически регулироваться в 6 направлениях. Само кресло будет выполено из ткани или искусственной кожи. Руль достаточно приятен в обхвате и имеет множество функций, таких как: обогрев, электрическая регулировка в двух плоскостях, кнопки управления аудиосистемой, подрулевые «лепестки» переключения передач. Приборная панель выполнена в «классическом» стиле: два аналоговых прибора – спидометр и тахометр – между которыми расположен монитор бортового компьютера. В комплектации F Sport данная панель будет выглядеть несколько иначе: цифровой монитор, на котором изображен тахометр, а по бокам от него указатели уровня топлива и температуры двигателя. В верхней части торпеды находится монитор, на который выводится вся необходимая информация, в том числе навигация и мультимедиа. Ниже, между дефлекторов, есть механические часы. Такой элемент очень редко можно встретить на современном автомобиле. Еще ниже расположился блок управления климат-контролем. Вместо привычных «шайб», здесь две сенсорных «полосы». Судя по отзывам, данное дизайнерское решение не самое удачное, так как на ходу ими пользоваться не совсем удобно.

  1. Небольшой расход топлива
  2. Современный и необычный внешний вид
  3. Высокая надежность узлов
  1. Нет выбора двигателя, трансмиссии, типа привода

Если вам нужен яркий спортивный седан и при этом вы не хотите «быть как все», то Lexus IS 200t отлично вам подойдет. Благодаря броскому внешнему виду и редкости на отечественных дорогах, на этот автомобиль будут гораздо чаще обращать внимание, чем на его немецких «одноклассников». При этом эксплуатационные качества у него ничуть не уступают конкурентам.

Если вы хотите приобрести новый автомобиль, то лучше всего это сделать через сервис Nahodim. Вам нужно лишь связаться с нашим менеджером и выбрать нужную машину (ее комплектацию, цвет и тип двигателя). Мы же, в свою очередь, найдем подходящий автомобиль за минимальную цену.

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2017 Lexus IS 200t Sports Luxury – THE PACKAGE

Lexus claims that all models in the lineup are updated with eight main exterior styling changes, which provide an even sharper, angular and futuristic appearance than the previous model. The most notable exterior change is in the front and rear lights, which adopt sharper angles and LED technology. There are also 15 changes within the interior, and major improvements to the display screen and sound system.

Going by the feature list, the top spec IS 200t comes with the glut of features you’d expect; blind spot sensors, distance-controlled cruise control, lane departure warnings, emergency braking, auto high beam and windscreen wipers, you name it. Comparing to the competition, one feature it seems to miss out on is automated steering parking assistance, which is only a loss if you count on actually using this feature.

This end of the market is where we usually learn about emerging technologies, but there is nothing really new or outstanding among the feature list, but it is only a mid-model update. And that’s okay, the IS 200t is still very much keeping up with the competition in most areas.

The only real differentiator is the control used to navigate the infotainment system with a bigger 10.3-inch screen. Seen before in previous Lexus models, it is similar to a computer mouse, but it guides your button-clicking selection by using magnets and adjusting them to the current menu. The idea is something you need to give a good chance to get used to, as it can go a long way to reducing the time a drivers’ attention is taken off the road. But being so different, it may come across as overly fiddly and not to everyone’s liking.

The IS 200t Sports Luxury is now equipped with a world class 15 speaker sound system. It sounds magnificent. Of course, it is all customisable and includes many options, media inputs, and sound modes to match your taste.

The rest of the interior exudes the highest of quality, style and attention to detail in every corner. Like all Lexus cars, you can really tell how much thought is put in to making sure every surface is designed and manufactured to perfection. We love the look of the simple yet elegant instrument cluster too. The black background is so dark, it’s almost as if you’re looking into endless space, and the dial needles are hovering in thin air. It’s a very nice touch.

Front seats are of five-star, lounge-room-level comfort; and at the same time, supportive when taking corners fast. For larger guests, side bolstering may feel a tad intrusive. The seating position in relation to the cockpit is a legacy trait of the IS. The centre console sits quite high next to you, which makes you feel like you’re sitting in a bobsled. If you like to feel an airy and spacious existence in your car, spare some attention to the seating position.

A downbeat inheritance of previous IS models is the rear occupant space. It may not be important for most, and maybe Lexus has done this on purpose, but it has only improved slightly from previous generations. In this specific class it remains as one of the tightest spaces.

On the plus side, boot space is exemplary. Luggage is easy to load because of a low boot lip. Offering 480 litres, it makes it six litres bigger than your everyday Mazda6. A space-saving spare wheel is used to maximise space.

2017 Lexus IS 200t Sports Luxury – THE DRIVE

Across all IS 200t variants, the same 2.0-litre turbo-assisted four-cylinder engine seen in many other Lexus models is employed. It produces 180kW at 5800rpm, which is pretty low for a petrol engine, and 350Nm of torque from 1650 to 4000rpm. This is delivered to the rear wheels, just like the European counterparts. It’s good to see Lexus has finally joined the party and applied turbo technology to increase outputs and maximise economy. These figures are excellent for an entry-level engine; outpowering entry-level petrol rivals such as the Audi A4 (110kW), BMW 318i (100kW), and the Jaguar XE 2.0t (147kW).

Behind the figures, the engine is one of the best we’ve seen when it comes to getting the job done in a modest and effortless way. It’s incredibly smooth and quiet in the delivery of power, and it gives off a sense of freeness and no sign of a struggle to rev. In fact, there is rarely a time where you’d wish it had more power, for this kind of vehicle, whether with a full car of passengers or overtaking up hill. You can be forgiven for forgetting that it is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

In order to help with this market-leading power, Lexus has coupled the engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Racing through the many gears under pressure or cruising up to speed gently, gear changes velvety smooth. One setback that bugged us was a noticeable delay in lining up the right gear after slowing down. For example, if you are slowing down to approach a corner, the gearbox seems to sit in a high gear until you start accelerating out of the corner. By this time, the right gear should already be engaged, ready to accelerate. Maybe it is trying to be too economical by staying in a higher gear. In the sports driving mode this can solve the issue, or by using the paddle shifters.

The all important 0-100km test officially records an impressive 7.0 seconds flat. Our testing timed it in 7.7 seconds, although this was in very hot weather. The official claim beats the Jaguar XE’s base 2.0-litre petrol engine by 0.7 seconds, Audi A4’s entry-level 1.4-litre offering by 1.5 seconds, and the BMW 318i’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine by 2.1 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest out there for an entry-level petrol offering.

There are a few driving modes to select from; ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’, and only elsewhere seen in the F-Sport specs, a ‘Sport +’ mode. ‘Sport +’ mode sharpens up accelerator response, changes the gearbox into a fired-up, tap-and-go unit, delays automatic up-shifting, changes gear quicker, and stiffens the electric steering. In this mode you can really appreciate the sporty ride, especially if you use the paddle shifters and develop a bit of a tempo in the bends.

Continuing with Lexus’s relentless pursuit of perfection, steering in the IS 200t is positively firm when travelling at higher speeds on the freeway, and varies to give a light manoeuvrability when battling tight city streets. It gives the right sensation that you are in charge, and very connected to the road.

Taking a corner at a decent speed is truly fun with this hot number, just like in previous IS generations. You can really throw it around corners and it won’t give in easily. Being a rear-wheel drive, accelerating out of corners can commence early and the rear won’t fling out unexpectedly. Traction and handling ability is definitely up there with the Euro competitors. The Sports Luxury is fitted with 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225 front and 255 rear tyres, offering relentless grip.

The 2.0-litre engine out-performing the competition comes at a cost when it comes to fuel consumption. Although other entry-level engines are less powerful, almost all of them are more fuel efficient than the IS 200t. Official figures read 7.5L/100km, but our rather harsh testing didn’t see the figure dip below 10.8L/100km. There is room improvement here, as other brands show official figures hovering around 5.5L/100km, in this specific class. Of course, you always have the slightly more expensive IS 300h hybrid and its 4.9L/100km official average if you’re purely after efficiency.

95 RON premium petrol is recommended, which contributes to higher running costs. A 66-litre fuel tank means you can expect to refuel after roughly 650km.

Servicing is required more often than usual, at every six months instead of the usual 12 months, or 10,000km, whichever comes first. But, Lexus after-purchase servicing is world class, so regular services might not be such a bad thing. Some packages will see dealers collecting the car from you and giving you a loan car in the meantime.

2017 Lexus IS 200t Sports Luxury – THE VIDEO

2017 Lexus IS 200t Sports Luxury – THE VERDICT

Lexus has continued its relentless pursuit of perfection with the 2017 IS 200t, and the Sports Luxury adds a distinctively pampering experience. If it’s not the absolute refinement and detail in the interior that merges luxury and sport at the same time, or the impeccable handling and suppleness over any road types, it has to be the powertrain smoothness that wins you over. Either way, lining it up against the competition, there really isn’t much justification to hang on to the ideology that a Euro alternative is better. Provided you see past that small downshifting transmission lag issue.

PROS:
– Handling and suppleness to soak up bumps is a standout
– Lexus-famous refinement and build quality in every corner
– Engine smoothness and highest output among competition’s entry-level engines
– World class sound system
– Unique and interesting design against conservative German rivals

CONS:
– Some transmission lag in auto mode, reluctant to kick down
– Canoe-style seating position not ideal for larger people
– Rear occupant space
– Fuel consumption not up to scratch compared to rivals

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

Sporty in Theory

The rear-drive-only IS200t’s four-cylinder still produces 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque—along with an incessant induction drone that permeates the cabin. We’d definitely welcome the greater engine control afforded by a manual gearbox—an option several of the IS’s competitors offer—but Lexus continues with an eight-speed automatic as the sole transmission choice. While generally smooth and unobtrusive in normal driving, it upshifts early and fumbles for ratios when pushed hard. Using the standard paddle shifters allows the tach to swing up to the 6100-rpm redline, but there’s a frustrating delay in the transmission’s responses to paddle commands.

Our 3798-pound test car improved upon the performance of the 2016 model, despite weighing an additional 81 pounds and being shod with the same Bridgestone Turanza summer tires (225/40R-18 in front, 255/35R-18 out back). Lateral grip around the skidpad increased a decent amount, from 0.85 g to 0.88, and both the zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile times (6.5 and 15.0 seconds) were 0.3 second quicker than before, with a trap speed 3 mph faster at 94 mph. However, the IS200t remains relatively porky and slow—a 2017 BMW 330i automatic is 229 pounds lighter and more than a second quicker to 60 mph. This Lexus is also thirsty: Our test car’s average fuel economy could only match the EPA’s 22-mpg city estimate, and the 31 mpg it returned on our 200-mile, 75-mph highway loop was 2 mpg below the EPA highway rating.

Lexus gets down to business.

  • Writer Mark Hacking

When luxury offshoot Lexus first entered the North American market in 1989, the focus was clear right from the start—vehicles that were comparable in quality to the very best in the world at a fraction of the price. Outright performance didn’t figure into the brand’s mission until much later; the year was 2008, to be exact, when the Lexus F line debuted with, first, the IS F sport sedan and, later, the LFA supercar.

The latter was a curious offering—so exclusive, so expensive, and so unattainable, it was a halo car without the corresponding immediate halo effect. Only 500 examples of the LFA were built before production ceased in 2012; the V10-powered supercar, which initially retailed for $375,000 (U.S.), remains a rare sight to this very day. But the Lexus brand is finally getting serious about performance.

In 2014, they released the Lexus RC F, a riotous sports car that encourages drifting as much as driving. A year later, the GS F, a 467 horsepower sport sedan from the iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove school, appeared on the scene. Now, we have a refreshed version of the IS compact sedan—and it’s the best IS yet.

While there’s no F Sport version of the latest IS yet (the original IS F was discontinued in 2013), what’s clear from piloting the base IS 200t and top-shelf IS 350 is that the car can accommodate a much higher performing powertrain. The 200t is the nominal entry-level model, but in many respects, it’s the one that will appeal most to true driving enthusiasts.

The 200t is the nominal entry-level model, but in many respects, it’s the one that will appeal most to true driving enthusiasts.

The main reasons: It’s the only IS available with rear-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission (the others make do with 6 forward gears) and a sound amplifier that gives the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine a more menacing tone.

In driving this version around a rainy Cowichan Bay and then around a slick Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit (VIMC), the true nature of this compact sport sedan revealed itself: solid, predictable, composed, and no small amount of fun. Of course, the power-hungry out there will want the IS 350; powered by a 3.5-litre V6, this version features AWD and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Is it more suited to racetrack duty and rainy roads? Sure, probably.

What’s most apparent from driving both versions of the latest Lexus is this: the time is ripe for the return of the Lexus IS F. It’s still a rumour at this point, but given the recent appearances of the RC F and the GS F, there’s no reason to think another powerful addition to the Lexus fleet isn’t right around the corner.

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The cabin has a couple of other issues, too: the cupholders up front eat into space for the passenger’s elbow to rest if they’re in use; Lexus persists with the foot-operated park brake rather than an electric system; and there’s a lack of decent storage for loose items like the modern day tablets we call smartphones.

The back door storage is lacking – literally, there isn’t any door storage for those in the back – despite the fact the front doors have bottle holsters and a little extra space for odds and ends.

The rear has a flip-down armrest with cupholders, dual map pockets in the front seatbacks, rear seat air-vents and dual ISOFIX child-seat anchors (and three top-tether hooks), but the seat space is short for the competitive set.

With the driver’s seat set for a six-foot pilot, the rear headroom, knee-room and toe-room were all tight, and outer edges of rear seats are so bolstered that it could be uncomfortable after a few hours. The front seats, too, aren’t as comfortable as some other Lexus offerings – we reckon the NX SUV could have the comfiest front seats of any car on the market.

Being a Lexus, the boot is good: there’s 480 litres of space, easily enough for a couple of suitcases, and the opening is large enough to make awkward-sized objects easy to load. And the materials used throughout – even in the boot – are of a high standard.

As part of the 2017 Lexus IS update, the luxury sedan saw the addition of new safety equipment, including autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, fatigue monitoring, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam lighting. The lights worked fine, the lane departure system, too – but as with many radar cruise control systems, it errs on the side of leaving a massive gap, even when the shortest distance between your nose and the tail of the car in front is chosen… so expect some other commuters to jump in.

Those auto high-beams work in conjunction with the redesigned bi-LED headlamps, while further differentiating it from the existing IS range is a new bumper and reshaped grille, new-look rear tail-light inlays, as well as new 17-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust tips. There are two new colours, too: Deep Blue as seen here, and Graphite Black (replaces Starlight Black).

The 200t in the name of this version of the IS denotes the fact it’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, and there’s 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque available. It’s rear-wheel drive, with an eight-speed automatic and paddle-shifters offering the driver options.

It’s an engine that feels up to the task for the most part, offering good – but not overly zesty – response and refinement when you’re just tootling around town. The biggest concern we had was the gearbox’s tendency to always choose the highest gear possible – it was annoying at times when you’d prefer to have a few more revs on board in a lower gear. It would have to shuffle between cogs to maintain momentum, and while the engine is generally decent in terms of response it can fall into a bit of a black hole as a result. This was mainly during urban driving, or if you pulled off a highway onto a lower-speed road.

On the open road, or under harder driving, that wasn’t such a problem because the transmission – and the drive experience – was transformed in sport mode. With that engaged the ‘box behaved a lot more engagingly, holding gears nicely to allow you to explore the rev range of the engine. In manual mode it will upshift when it thinks it should rather than allowing you to bounce it off the rev limiter, and it proved decently peppy and rewarding even so – we just wish it sounded sportier under revs.

Lexus claims fuel use of 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with 95RON premium unleaded required. We saw a bit higher than that during our time with the car: 10.2L/100km across a mix of urban, highway and windy road driving.

As for its road manners, the IS200t’s steering was natural and accurate, with good weighting no matter what speed was being done, but without a lot of feel to the driver’s hands. In the twisty stuff it didn’t feel as heavy as it is – a tubby 1680 kilograms – but nor was it as rewarding to steer as, say, a BMW 3 Series.

It rode nicely on bumpy back roads, wasn’t upset by sharp bumps at low speeds, and ironed out larger roll-over edges like speed-humps with confidence. It was pretty quiet for the most part, too – but on coarse-chip surfaces it was a touch noisy.

Lexus offers a four-year, 100,000km warranty, but the company still doesn’t offer a capped-price service program, nor a pre-purchase plan like its main rivals in the luxury space. Lexus Australia has advised maintenance for the IS200t is due every 12 months/15,000km (whichever occurs first), with the first maintenance visit at 15,000km coming free of charge. The estimated cost for the following three years/45,000km is $625 per year, which is pretty steep.

We’re convinced the Lexus IS200t Luxury doesn’t feel like a base model – it feels luxurious on first impressions, and even after a week in the garage the plush factor was still high. But there are a few shortcomings in the way the car is packaged that still leave a bit to be desired, and its gearbox can be a tad annoying around town.

Those criticisms aside, the 2017 Lexus IS200t Luxury is certainly worthy of consideration at the lower end of the luxury car class.

Click the Photos tab above for more images by Sam Venn.

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