Just launched in Ireland, we drive Lexus’s new Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series rival the IS 300h
What is it? Offering only a hybrid version Lexus are taking on established rivals such as the BMW 3 series with their IS 3000h. Powering this new model is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. Lexus have opted not to include a diesel in the range.
First impressions of the new Lexus IS 300h? Inspired by the LF-CC concept, the IS 300h is radically styled inside and out. Far more muscular than before, the exterior won’t be to everyone’s taste but it is certainly striking.
What about the interior? Inside it is both spacious and scrumptious in equal measure. The seats are beautifully comfortable and the driving position is good. The dash is modern and everything feels solid and durable.
And on the road?
Lexus IS 300h and the city: It is light and nimble to manoeuvre and around corners its surprisingly sporty. There are three main driving modes to choose from, Eco, the best for fuel efficiency; Normal, and Sport, for sharper throttle response and a sportier steering setting. Be warned the Eco Mode, in its drive for efficiency also modifies the climate control settings so it may not be very suitable for our current continental climate. At very low speeds there is also the option of running the car in complete electric mode.
Lexus IS 300h and the open road: At speed the IS 300h feels very assured, the steering is nicely weighted. Switch it to Sport mode and the suspension is firm but not harsh and overall it is very engaging to drive.
How Much? The new 223bhp Lexus IS300h Eco starts at €37,780 rising to €46,780 for the range topping IS 300h Premium.
How Safe? The IS 300h interior is home to eights airbags and features a number of advanced, new active safety features, including automatic headlamp high beam operation, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There is also greater protection for pedestrians, the bonnet has a new pop-up design to help prevent serious injury in a collision.
What about my options? ,The IS 300h is available in five grades, Eco, S-Design, Executive, F SPORT & Premium and boasts CO2 emissions as low as 99 grams, meaning road tax from only €180 per annum.
3 words to describe the Lexus IS 300h: Silent; Sporty; Stylish
10th July, 2013