Honed At Shimoyama - The All-New Lexus IS

Posted by clifford chow
30 Nov 2020

The fourth generation Lexus IS is finally here, and boasts what they call the “Lexus Driving Signature”; something Lexus is setting as a new development standard for every new model they produce from now on.

The promise of delivering a driver’s car goes even further, with Lexus parent, Toyota building their very own dedicated test track in Shimoyama, Japan just a year ago. The proving ground features a 5.3km winding test course that emulates many sections of the world renowned Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. The new IS was developed here, and subject to elevation changes of up to 75m, varying road surfaces and curves. This has allowed Lexus engineers to further refine the Lexus IS to have an even higher vehicle performance, comfort and quality.

The new executive compact IS features even bolder styling, with a low stance to achieve the proportions of a four-door coupe. In their ‘Relentless Pursuit of Excellence”, Lexus engineers have shaved grams with the introduction of compact lightweight headlamps, which marries well with the car’s expression of a low centre of gravity, through low-positioned areas around the signature spindle grille and lowered side character lines. 

Muscular rear fenders, straight-line-type rear combination lamps sporting an “L” motif, and three-dimensional bumper garnishes, lower side character lines and muscular fenders add to the IS’s aggressive stance.

The new car is about the same length as the BMW 3 Series, at 4,705mm, while shorter than the Audi A4 by about 60mm.

So what has Lexus really done with the all new IS?

Well.. a lot actually. Body rigidity has definitely been enhanced,especially at the C-pillars to the sides of the roof, which has resulted according to Lexus, elimination of unwanted noise and vibration and improved riding comfort. Unsprung mass has also been reduced to further suppress unnecessary body movement.

Swing-valve shock absorbers are a new innovation, first seen in the Lexus ES. Designed to deliver just the right amount of damping force, regardless of the amount of the level of compression transferred through the wheels. The dampers, which are equipped with ultralow-velocity valves, are key in managing the correct amount of oil flow, according to Lexus, results in a constantly even ride quality.

A new interior, which features a 10.3” touchscreen supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Lexus has also moved this screen closer to the driver for better access. 

Safety has also been enhanced with a suite of features, like its Intersection Turning Assist, that recognises oncoming traffic or pedestrians, while Emergency Steering Assist (ESA) – Steering assistance is provided in situations where the Pre- Collision System has detected the possibility of a collision and the driver has initiated steering to avoid the collision.

Driver conveniences like its Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is also able to trace your path around bends using its Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) making it deal with Singapore's highway traffic which is often a stop-and-go affair.

Various other forms of advanced safety equipment are featured on the new IS and are being actively introduced by Lexus. These include the Parking Support Brake (PKSB) , which consists of intelligent Clearance Sonar and Rear Cross Traffic Brake (RCTB) to mitigate damage in collisions due to pedal misapplication in places such as parking lots or minor collisions with vehicles approaching from the rear.

For the F-Sport and Hybrid models, a small change in switching to hub bolts, in-place of hub nuts to hold the larger 19” wheels, are done so for greater fastening strength.

Both the IS 300 and IS 350 F Sport models are paired with an 8-speed automatic. The IS 300 gets a 2.0 turbocharged inline four, good for 241bjp and 350NM, while the higher-powered IS 350 F Sport utilises a natural-breathing 3.5 litre V6, delivering 311bh and 380Nm.

The “greener” IS 300h which gets a 2.5 litre straight 4, paired with a hybrid drive, and boasts 5.4L/100km will arrive here in 2021.

The Lexus IS 300 is available at Borneo Motors at $198,800, while the higher-powered IS 350 F Sport will set you back a tidy $243,800 both car prices are inclusive of COE.


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