Lexus Malaysia has officially unveiled the latest version of their compact sedan, the IS. Two years since its Malaysian debut, the Lexus IS range has been revised with the introduction of a new engine that’s more relevant in today’s market outside of North America.

The new engine for the IS is the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the IS 200t, and at the same time the IS 250 with its 2.5-litre V6 has been discontinued to make way for the smaller yet more powerful engine. The IS 300h remains the range-topper, with no changes on the hybrid drivetrain under the hood.

QUICK FACTS

Name Lexus IS 200t Premium Lexus IS 200t Luxury Lexus IS 200t F Sport Lexus IS 300h
Engine 1,998 cc inline-4 twin-scroll turbo 1,998 cc inline-4 twin-scroll turbo 1,998 cc inline-4 twin-scroll turbo 2,494 cc inline-4, 650 V electric motor
Transmission 8-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic 8-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic 8-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission
Max Power 241hp @ 5,800 rpm 241hp @ 5,800 rpm 241hp @ 5,800 rpm 178 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 105 kW (electric motor), 220 hp (combined)
Max Torque 350 Nm @ 1,650-4,400 rpm 350 Nm @ 1,650-4,400 rpm 350 Nm @ 1,650-4,400 rpm 221 Nm @ 4,200-5,400 rpm, 300 Nm (electric motor)
0 – 100 km/h 7.0 seconds 7.0 seconds 7.0 seconds 8.2 seconds
Top Speed 230 km/h 230 km/h 230 km/h 200 km/h
Price (w/o insurance) RM 298,000 RM 350,000 RM 385,000 RM 452,000

EXTERIOR

The sharp lines on the IS still looks as fresh when it was introduced a few years back, therefore Lexus has kept everything intact in terms of the design. As before, the IS 300h comes only in a single spec, and the IS 200t follows the outgoing IS 250, which means it’s available in Premium, Luxury or F Sport trims.

All Lexus IS models get LED DRLs and LED front foglamps as standard, but only the IS 300h gets the full-LED headlamps as opposed to the Xenon headlamps on the IS 200t. Every IS variant bar the IS 200t F Sport gets the spindle grille with horizontal slats, whereas the F Sport feature a wiremesh insert to go along with the unique F Sport front bumper.Lexus-IS200t-Malaysia-44

The wheels are not only different in design on each model, they differ in size as well. The IS 200t Premium and IS 300h are running on 17-inch alloys wrapped in 225/45 R17 tyres (runflats for the latter), while IS 200t Luxury and IS 200t F Sport are fitted with 18-inch staggered alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 R18 tyres at the front and 255/35 R18 tyres at the rear.

At the tail end, LED tail lamps are standard feature, together with dual exhaust tips on each side. Even so, the tailpipes are hidden underneath the diffuser on the IS 300h. Reverse camera is available on all models except the IS 200t Premium, though.

INTERIOR

Nothing is changed on the inside either, you will still get the lovely “LFA-inspired” cockpit with the horizontal dashboard bar and a sloping center console, but every variant is trimmed differently from each other.Lexus-IS200t-Malaysia-33

The instrument cluster for instance – as seen in the IS 200t F Sport – uses the super-cool LFA-style F Sport meter with configurable display and performance-oriented theme. In the IS 300h it’s almost similar to the IS 200t Premium and the IS 200t Luxury, but it gets the rev-counter replaced with an Eco dial.

No matter which variant you choose, the cabin is sumptuously equipped. There’s leather upholstery, powered steering column adjuster, powered front seats, dual-zone climate control, and 7-inch screen for the infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity.Lexus-IS200t-Malaysia-34

However, the IS 200t Premium misses out on the navigation system, Remote Touch Controller, driver’s memory seat, and powered rear sunshade. The 15-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround System is available exclusively on the IS 300h and the IS 200t F Sport, while the latter also adds aluminium pedals as well as dimpled genuine leather covering the steering wheel and the gear lever.

PERFORMANCE

The major update is the powerplant in the IS 200t, where it shares the same 2.0-litre longitudinally mounted four-cylinder turbo that debuted in the NX 200t. Mated to an eight-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, the 241 hp and 350 Nm engine is capable of sending the IS 200t from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.0 seconds and onto a top speed of 230 km/h. Those who want a sportier ride can opt for the IS 200t F Sport; it throws in adaptive suspension which includes additional Sport + on the Drive Mode Select on top of Sport, Normal, and Eco.

The IS 300h still utilises the Lexus Hybrid Drive System consisting of a 2,494cc four-cylinder petrol engine producing 178 hp and 221 Nm that’s assisted with an electric motor juiced by a dense Nickel-metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack. Although the electric motor alone generates 105 kW (or 140 hp equivalent) and 300 Nm of toque, their combined output is rated at 220 hp.Lexus-IS200t-Malaysia-41

The IS 300h sprints slower than the IS 200t, but then again the IS 300h is geared towards economy rather than performance, and it even has an additional Eco mode on the Drive Mode Select. Using an Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT), the IS 300h gets from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, and the top speed is lower than the turbocharged variants by 30 km/h, at 200 km/h. The hybrid’s fuel consumption is better at 4.3 litres per 100 km, compared to 7.0 litres per 100 km manage by the IS 200t.

SAFETY

Up to 10 airbags (yes, 10 airbags as standard) can be found in the cabin, and the IS is equipped with the usual host of safety kit including Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control System (VSC), and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM). Additionally, Blind Spot Monitor & Rear Cross Traffic Alert (BSM & RCTA) is offered on all trims except the IS 200t Premium.Lexus-IS200t-Malaysia-16

WHAT ELSE?

The prices have gone up slightly for all models in the latest IS range. It starts with the IS 200t Premium at RM 298,000, followed by IS 200t Luxury at RM 350,000. The sporty IS 200t F Sport is priced at a hefty RM 385,000, while the sole hybrid model IS 300h retails at RM 452,000. Every model is covered by a 3-year or 100,000 km warranty, whichever comes first. Furthermore, the IS 300h gets an 8-year hybrid battery assurance programme thrown in as well.


IMAGE GALLERY


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najdi U
Najdi appreciates and sees cars as more than just a transportation tool. He believes that driving is therapeutic and finds solace when cruising at 110 km/h. Given the chance, he prefers to drive than being driven.