The third generation rear wheel drive 2013 Lexus IS 250 Sport Luxury is very impressive. Having just spent a week in the Lexus IS 250 Sport Luxury, I handed the car back with mixed emotions. Lexus have always built good cars, the IS however borders on excellent.
Externally the designers have excelled. This is one good looking car for a standard sedan. The sedan sits on a 75mm longer wheelbase (2800mm) and is 10mm wider than the model it replaces. Small dimensions sure, but they make an impact on the overall look.
The grill features the very familiar Lexus wide-mouthed spindle grille with standard Bi Xenon HID low/high beam headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lamps. Overall the Lexus IS 250 Sport Luxury shows intent in its exterior look and feel.
Like all the Lexus range though it’s when you step inside that you notice something different. The IS 250 Sport Luxury is no different. Smart keyless entry is the hint of things to come, with more changes and improvements than is possible to list.
The front seats of the IS 250 Sports Luxury are all about luxury. Now being 190cm and a touch bigger than the average bear it is sometimes difficult to have enough seat slide to get comfortable. Not so, I found the perfect driving position.
The driver’s seat is obviously electrically adjustable for almost every movement you can imagine and combine this with the heated leather height and reach adjustable steering wheel and voila! One change that is appreciated by taller drivers in the extended seat squab bolsters which supports drivers knees better. The memory function allows driver seat position, tilt and telescopic steering wheel position, side mirror position and seatbelt anchor position to be recalled automatically.
Speaking of the steering wheel, it is modelled on the LFA Supercar. It feels great in the hands, leather clad with a multitude of controls on the spokes. Importantly it feels well weighted and provides excellent feedback to driver inputs. The variable ratio steering especially enhances the sport and sport+ modes
The dash features a dual dial design with a central full colour multi-information display including audio, trip, navigation, phone and ambient temperature. Dials are crisp, clear and easy to read.
The centre stack houses the 7 inch TFT display, air-conditioning controls, stylish analogue clock, audio controls and the mouse inspired controls on the centre console.
Storage is a mixed bag, with large door pockets, glove box and twin cup holders in the centre console. However the centre bin is smallish and there isn’t a lot of space to dump the obligatory crap we all seem to carry.
The Sport Luxury is packed with standard features such as dual zone climate control, electric rear sunshade, wireless “smart entry” key with ambient interior white LED welcome lights, a multitude of vanity and reading lamps, automatic high beam, daytime running lights, heated and ventilated front seats, touch-sensitive electrostatic switches for the air conditioning (very cool).
Rear seat passengers have more shoulder and knee room than before. While it anecdotally feels like more than its main competitors, it can still be a little crammed with taller front seat occupants though. The rear seats are more individually sculptured, comfortable and split 60/40 for through boot storage. The boot is now capable of carrying 480l of luggage and with the rear seats folded it can carry objects up to 1.5m long.
Audiophiles will appreciate the latest version of the 835-watt, 12-channel 15-speaker Mark Levinson®# audio system – featuring Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB+) technology. The sound has to be heard to really be appreciated. The clarity and live music characteristics are superb! It’s probably better than 99% of home systems.
The all-new audio system is controlled by Lexus’ second-generation remote touch controller and paired with a seven-inch multimedia display. USB+ and AUX+ inputs are provided in the centre console storage compartment and voice command technology has significantly improved.
The new-generation navigation system uses HDD data to ensure its always up to date and the screen now addresses the glare issue of the previous model. Being mounted high on the dash also helps with driver visibility and safety. Its computing power is four times better and this allows a clever design feature of co-ordinating the centre stack display with the MFD.
The ability to link both displays enables the driver to view data from the audio, mobile phone and navigation systems on the instrument cluster screen, while still using the steering wheel-mounted switches to select music tracks or place phone calls.
Safety is paramount with a 5 star ANCAP rating. Features include Pre-Collision safety System (PCS) with Adaptive Cruise Control, 10 SRS airbags: two-stage dual SRS front airbags, driver and front passenger SRS knee airbags, front and new rear SRS side airbags, as well as full-length SRS side curtain airbags, Blind Spot Monitor, Pop up Bonnet, Hill Start Assist and Lane Departure Warning. Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) coordinates control of the powertrain, electronic brake system, steering and vehicle stability control. In addition the reversing camera is clear and extremely functional.
IS 250 Sport Luxury features a 2.5-litre all-alloy V6 developing 153kW and 252Nm of torque, with that power delivered via a six-speed sequential transmission with throttle blipping and fast shift capabilities.
Handling is assisted by the double wishbone front suspension system that has been redeveloped, offering a 20 per cent increase in roll rigidity. To the rear, a new multi-link suspension system similar to that found in the latest generation Lexus GS has been adopted, providing both storage and handling improvements.
The IS 250 Sports Luxury also benefits from Adjustable Variable Suspension (AVS), which links to a new Drive Mode Select system, featuring up to four switchable driving modes – ECO, NORMAL, SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+ – to optimise the driver’s preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics. These really do work and the Sport selections provide and engaging experience.
All this translates without interruption through the excellently weighted steering wheel. Such driver input has been reserved for the ISF previously. A new staggered wheel and tyre package, with 225/40R18 Bridgestone front and 255/35R18 rear, provides additional grip and performance.
The pleasing factor for me was just how easy the IS250 Sport Luxury is to live with on a day by day basis. This is a car that blends in with your lifestyle, provides a modicum of driving pleasure and an abundance of luxury.
It’s fun to drive, not in the blasting way of an ISF but in a Sunday afternoon cruising along the back roads passing time way. The Sport modes certainly provide a fully engaging experience that you wouldn’t expect. It had handling and dynamic characteristics you would expect of a BMW. It is very responsive to driver inputs.
At around $85,759 RDAP the Lexus IS 250 Sports Luxury isn’t cheap, but what you get is a sporty sedan that is full of luxury features and technological design. It is stylish, easy to live with and fun to drive. Watch out Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW, Lexus is looking to lead the pack.
What is good:
• Value for money
• Build Quality
What is not so good:
• Rear leg room
• ‘B’ Pillar inhibits entry
• Nothing else I can think of
Model 2013 Lexus IS 250 Sport Luxury
Model Price $85,759 RDAP*
Engine 2.5L V6 Petrol
Drivetrain RWD 6 speed auto
Power 153kW @ 6400rpm
Torque 252Nm @ 4800rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions 213 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 4 Star
Economy (ADR comb) 9.2L/100km
Tow Capacity –1500Kg
Tow Ball Rating 100Kg
Servicing $Not Supplied
Warranty 4yr 100,000 with roadside assist
*Based on postcode 2000 from www.redbook.com.au
Overall AnyAuto Rating 86/100
Behind the Wheel 9
Ride & Handling 8
Fit for Purpose 8
Build Quality 10
Value for Money 8