It’s reasonable to expect that when you are given more, you will have to pay more. But that logic simply does not apply where the new 2009 Lexus IS is concerned. Lexus has given its stylish sports saloon sharper looks inside and out, added extra equipment features and made detail adjustments to provide even better handling, while at the same time cutting prices – by more than £1,000 on some models.
Lower emissions, lower running costs for new IS 220d
Carbon dioxide emissions from the 175bhp (177 DIN hp) 2.2-litre diesel engine in the IS 220d have been reduced from 168 to 163g/km, moving the model down a band for Vehicle Excise Duty (E to D). This saves £25 pounds on a year’s road fund licence and also reduces the Benefit in Kind (BIK) rate for company car tax calculation to 23 per cent.
Emissions from the 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine in the IS 250 are unchanged at 231g/km (manual) and 214g/km (automatic).
New grade structure, higher specifications
Lexus introduces a new three-grade structure for the 2009 IS range: SE, SE-I and SE-L, with enhanced specifications across the board.
The most notable upgrade is the provision of Lexus’s advanced handling and safety system Vehicle Integrated Dynamics Management (VDIM) as standard on all models. VDIM co-ordinates the operation of the car’s ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with the Electric Power Steering (EPS), providing smooth, optimum assistance as the car reaches its performance limits.
Also new to all models are folding rear headrests for better rearward vision when the back seats are unoccupied.
Cellensia suede-effect upholstery is fitted to the entry level SE models, while the new SE-I versions build on the current SE grade with the addition of front and rear parking sensors.
For the top-of-the range IS 250 (now available exclusively with automatic transmission) and 220d SE-L models, 18-inch alloy wheels become a standard feature. These and the 17-inch rims featured on the SE-I versions both have a new design.
New Satellite Navigation Pack
Lexus has assembled an impressive Satellite Navigation Pack, available as an option (£1,825) on IS SE and SE-I models.
The pack comprises:
- Pan-European satellite navigation system
- Seven-inch VGA display
- Touch screen operation
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 13-speaker audio system with six-CD changer
- Rear parking monitor
The Multimedia Pack option for the IS SE-L (£2,710) provides the same features, but with a 14-speaker Mark Levinson hifi system with 5.1 surround sound and six-DVD changer. The satellite navigation offers an additional Dynamic Route Guidance function to provide automatic diversion routes to avoid any delays detected on a pre-programmed journey.
Exterior and interior styling
The 2009 Lexus IS maintains the sharp, eye-catching looks of the current model that powerfully express Lexus’s contemporary L-finesse design language. At the front there is a new front bumper with a revised grille. The door mirrors are new, too, with larger glass sections for improved vision and integrated indicator lamps.
At the rear there are subtle changes to the rear lamp clusters, and to the rear bumper of the IS 250. New-design 17-inch and 18-inch alloys are introduced and two new paint finishes join the IS palette: Atacama Gold and Sable.
In the cabin the changes are limited to minor adjustments to the tone of interior upholsteries and trims and the shape of switches and graphics on the centre console. The SE-L grade benefits from revised wood colours.
Improved driving dynamics
The IS’s excellent combination of sporty, dynamic performance with a comfortable ride and secure handling has been strengthened with detail adjustments to the anti-roll bar, suspension and EPS.
A paddle shift function is newly available on “D” mode in the six-speed automatic transmission.