2nd Mar 2002, 18:52

I have driven all of the three Lexus IS series available here in Australia, the IS 200 manual & automatic, & the IS300 automatic.

In my opinion, the IS200 automatic is grossly underpowered, showing me a 0-100km/h time of 13.84 seconds when I measured it against the stopwatch with the transmission in Power mode. I have never driven a car so slow for the amount of outright roadholding & neutral handling this vehicle has to offer!

The manual IS200 is a better choice. I have timed this version from 0-100km/h in 10.13 seconds. It is easy to drive with this six speed manual gearbox, even in spite of the clutch engagement not being the smoothest. The gear ratios are very closely stacked-at 100km/h in 6th gear the engine is showing 3200rpm, in 5th gear the engine speed is 3500rpm. The other gears are very short as well-they need to be in order to try & capitalise on the middling to high rev range torque-not a really tall order as the gearshift quality is very precise & baulk free.

The IS300 is the ultimate choice. I have timed this vehicle from 0-100km/h in 9 seconds flat. This version is only available in 5 speed automatic guise, with E shift- a function that allows you to shift gear ratios up or down on both left & right hand spokes of the steering wheel. This version has the power to capitalise on its chassis & make it truly throttle steerable.

Downsides to all IS series Lexus? The interior design & detail is far too fussy, with so many elements that clash, although the interior is well built.

I would say that the IS series Lexus is nearly as good as an equivalent 3 Series BMW, the interior the only issue stopping it from being directly equal to its German rival.

21st Sep 2004, 13:08

This has been a dream car to me for along time. I can't believe they come in various specs. In-line four, as I see it, is the faster of the available models. It has so much potential. With a little modification combined with aftermarket parts, she kicks major butt. I would recommend this car to anyone. "Better performance for a better price." What else would you get?