Lexus IS (Facelift) – Japanese Luxury at its best

The face-lifted Lexus IS has been launched in SA last year, while retaining its familiar look, including those signature LED daytime running lights, the IS sports a redesigned ‘spindle’ grille within the new bumper and the standard LED headlights have also been reshaped. The rear bumper has been revised and some new exterior colors have been added to the mix. Furthermore, E and EX models receive new alloy wheel designs. The changes run to more than skin deep though, as while the engine range hasn’t altered, the suspension and steering have been tweaked to improve handling.

Lexus IS 200T EX – Front Quarter


Lexus IS 200T EX – Rear Quarter

There’s no doubt that the Lexus IS has its work cut out for it in what is an exceptionally competitive class. It needs to be seriously good to go head-to-head with seriously good cars like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE and even the Volkswagen. Each of these has its own particular appeal; the Lexus’ is the fact that it’s almost defiantly, proudly different.

On the inside the instrument cluster has been revised and also improved panel finishes while EX and F-Sport models get a larger infotainment touch-screen, which grows from seven to 10.3 inches in size.

Lexus IS 200T EX – Interior Front


Lexus IS 200T EX – Centre Console


Lexus IS 200T EX – SatNav

The engine options remain unchanged: 180kW/350Nm 2-litre turbopetrol motor in the IS 200t (sold with E and EX grades) and a normally aspirated 233kW/378Nm 3.5-litre V6 in the IS 350 F-Sport. In all cases, drive is to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with flappy paddles, and the recent mechanical tweaks mean it’s better on the road than was previously the case. The Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series are still more entertaining, but the IS is – CVT gearbox and inert steering aside – confident, assured and not un-involving on winding roads.

Rather than copying the competition, Lexus has forged its own path with the new IS sedan. Sharper steering, firmer suspension and a more rigid chassis mean it handles better than its predecessor, but still retains the refinement Lexus is famous for.

The Lexus IS has an unimpeachable reliability record and has a smooth ,quiet and comfortable ride. It is a great alternative to the German 3.

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Murray Kroucamp

Murray Kroucamp Has a passion for cars and the wonderful world of motoring journalism. Background includes: Regulatory liaison; Customer Experience Executive Complaints Management; Data analyst. Founded the Mazda 2 Owners page on Facebook in 2008. Founded Murray’s Car Reviews (South Africa) on Facebook in 2015 which has around 800 active members. Also started writing car reviews on Linkedin in 2017. Working on turning the hobby into a profession.

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