Hybrid Lexus IS offers real-world benefits, but not much go

Lifestyle

Hybrid Lexus IS offers real-world benefits, but not much go

And it’s a little pricier than its rivals

Motoring editor, reporter and presenter

Lexus launched the first-generation IS model in riposte to the BMW 3-Series. Of course, it was a delayed one: that Bavarian car had a few decades of existence under its belt already by the time the edgy Japanese newcomer arrived. The IS persevered with its sleek styling, rear-wheel drive chassis and range of straight-six engines, this being a hallmark of the Teutonic rival.`

Over its evolution the IS has matured, seemingly straying away from the mandate of aping the BMW. It grew into its own personality, placing a greater emphasis on refinement, plushness and a generous standard features list, including items that German rivals would charge extra for. Sure, you might not sight an IS as frequently as a 3-Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but those who own them are a satisfied bunch indeed.

Earlier this year Lexus launched the updated version of its medium-sized sedan. Rather than being an all-new model, it is a comprehensive refreshment of the vehicle first introduced in 2013. The visual revisions are pretty stark. From the exaggerated folds and edges to the gaping spindle grille, which looks like an impressive goatee, there is no mistaking this with its predecessor. After a regimen of mechanical workouts at their new testing facility in Shimoyama, it was deemed that additional bracing and welding would tauten things up. Sturdier suspension elements were incorporated, such as aluminium upper control arms and tougher coil springs. Complementing the more rigid skeleton is a wider track for both front and rear axles...

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