Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lexus IS 250 (Malaysia Review)

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By LOUIS CHEANG
Photos by KEVIN TAN

TOYOTA Motor Corp's luxury brand Lexus has done a fine job with the second-generation Lexus IS 250 sports sedan.

It is totally new with styling and looks completely redesigned – a new, bigger and more powerful engine; a more luxurious interior with plush soft leather upholstery; and a chic dashboard and instrumentation.

Taking delivery of the car from its Lexus's swanky Mutiara Damansara headquarters (near IKEA), we were quite taken with the car’s avantgarde looks enhanced by the flowing convex and concave lines which emphasise a sporty image.

Viewed from all angles, the simplicity of its lines are apparent and there are some very European styling cues – evident by the sculptured bonnet and the bold aggressive face when viewed head-on.

But as we made our way to the Damansara-Puchong Highway, what struck us was the silky smooth power delivery of the 205 horses lurking from the 2.5-litre V6 engine.
That smoothness happens to be a hallmark of all Lexus models.

To suit its image of a sports sedan, Toyota has decided to upgrade the engine from the original 2.0litre 155bhp straight-six VVT-i engine to the bigger and more powerful 2.5-litre 205bhp V6 VVT-i engine with the latest Lexus D4 direct-injection technology.

Torque has also gone up from 195Nm to 252Nm at the same 4,800rpm.

This gives the IS 250 the ability to clock 8.4 seconds 0-100kph and a top speed of 225kph.
Surprisingly, at 1,500kg, it is no heavier than the earlier model and the use of lightweight materials has come into play. These include a die-cast aluminium cylinder block and intake manifold as well as a resin composite intake chamber.

Consistent theme: The dashboard falls in line with the style of other Lexus models.Also, the overall engine assembly is made lighter and more compact through the installation of the water and oil pumps within the chain cover.

To keep engine vibration and noise low, the engine mounts are liquid-filled.

Because of its flexible engine characteristics, the IS 250 uses a six-speed super ECT (Electronic Control Transmission) with a choice of normal automatic (D) which is ideal for town/urban driving, and Sports and/or up/down sequential shift or via F1-style paddle shifts on the steering wheel for highway or long distance travel.

The gear position is clearly shown in the usual PRND position as well as the other drive modes.
We also found out that there is a further way of knowing the actual gear position used by the engine via the Multi Display Information. This gives information on average speed, fuel consumption and the like including actual engine gear position being used.

Optitron meters for clarity in all lighting conditions.This is shown right on top of the instrument panel in smaller lettering. A button marked “Display” on the right spoke of the steering wheel controls the various functions.

Thankfully, the instrumentation is electronic and uses the latest generation Optitron meters, which are clearly visible in all lighting conditions.

Of course in a car of this level, the front seat adjustments are electrically driven, as are those for the steering wheel reach and height.

The dashboard now follows the style of other Lexus models.

Another sign of exclusivity is the hi-fi system used in the car – a Mark Levinson found in top-end hi-fi systems.

Another touch of class is the soft Japanese leather upholstery along with well-padded seats, which have an air-cooling feature for the driver and front passenger.

What about handling? Well, suspension and settings are set to give the best in handling characteristics Japanese-style and therefore is still a little behind European cars, like a BMW 325i or an Audi A4 quattro. Still, we had a lot of fun driving fast in the Lexus IS 250.

Suspension is via double wishbones for the front and a newly developed multi-link for the rear.
Driving safety is enhanced with Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Braking System, Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. All these aids help to keep the IS 250 on the road despite the conditions.

Passive safety is crucial when an accident cannot be avoided.

Like all Toyota cars, the bodyshell is GOA-certified, which is the car company’s own safety standard.

Intelligent supplementary restraint system airbags are provided for the front occupants. It has three different inflation speeds depending on the collision conditions. Airbags are also provided at knee level to give additional protection.

There are also curtain airbags over the windows, which will deploy when there is a side impact. These curtains protect from head injuries as well as being thrown out of the car.
The IS 250 is feature-packed to give the owner or driver the best and also fulfills the Lexus brand image.

Lexus Malaysia says the IS 250 is priced on-the-road with insurance at RM313,166.

original source: http://star-motoring.com

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