Friday, 21 September 2007

Lexus Malaysia introduces new IS250

Click on images to enlargeLexus Malaysia has launched the IS 250 just recently. The second generation IS 250 carries the luxury Japanese automaker’s L-Finesse philosophy creating dynamism based on the visual contrast between simplicity and elegance.

By this, the designers have combined convex surfaces with concave ones, giving a much sculpted appearance to the entire design, while achieving a low aerodynamic efficiency of 0.27 Cd. The low drag resistance is aided by close attention to under-body airflow management, which also minimizes lift forces at cruising speed.

Powering the IS 250 is a new DOHC 24-valve 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine featuring Toyota’s D4 direct-injection technology which affords this unit the highest injection pressure - amongst petrol engines - at 130 bar. The new engine punches out 205bhp at 6400rpm and a class-leading 252Nm of torque at 4800rpm. The adoption of D-4 technology reduces the intake mixture temperature, which allows for a higher compression ratio, resulting in both enhanced power output and fuel efficiency. Interestingly, fuel requirement for this high output engine is RON95 even though it has an exceptionally high compression ratio of 12:1.

Amazingly, the new V6 weighs in at 180kg, which is no heavier than the in-line 6, 2.0L motor used in the earlier IS model. The new petrol motor employs an aluminium cylinder block and intake manifold, and a resin-based intake chamber. Further weight saving and engine compactness are achieved through the installation of the water and oil pumps within the chain cover.

The application of Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) on both intake and exhaust camshafts also significantly enhance both low-end and top-end torque as well as contribute to a reduction in exhaust emissions and better starting performance.

A new 6-AT Sequential Transmission with Super ECT transfer power and torque to the IS250’ rear axle. For manual gear selection (override) paddle-shift controls are mounted directly on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to modify steering wheel grip, even when busy cornering. Alternatively, +/- gear selection can also be performed through the conventional gearlever if the driver so desire. AI-SHIFT Sport Driving Control (an Artificial Intelligence control program) automatically changes the gear shifting schedule according to road conditions and driving style. Meanwhile, Super ECT incorporates uphill/downhill shift control and a flex lock-up system for smoother performance. While an enhanced lock-up timing control can improve fuel efficiency in 5th and 6th gears, an automatic transmission fluid warmer further improves fuel economy during cold starts.

Lexus is noted not just for luxury and premium quality but also superlative comfort and convenience. Every little detail to provide pleasurable motoring in the IS 250 has been considered and refined, from the ventilated seats to the Optitron instruments panel to the climate control system. Even the audio system - with 14 speakers - is by Mark Levinson, one of the top-end brands for audio systems.

The IS 250’s new front and rear suspension system is claimed to offer a higher threshold for more spirited driving. The suspension designs optimize dynamic wheel alignment to help provide precise, confident handling and maximum tyre grip. At the front, the double-wishbone arrangement with a high-mount upper control arm uses high-strength steel and aluminium suspension components to keep unsprung weight low. The lower arm uses a large, liquid-filled bushing at the rear to minimize vibration and harshness.

A newly developed multi-link rear set up enables precise control of suspension geometry in all dynamic conditions. The results are reduced body roll and improved anti-lift or anti-squat. Large 10-spoke 17-inch alloy rims have a distinctive design which presents a solid and powerful image to the IS 250. To ensure optimum transmission of power to the tarmac and higher grip, the IS 250 is fitted with wider tyres at the rear i.e. 245/45R17, while the front rubbers are 225/45R17. Braking ability is just as reassuring with large diameter discs all around, hooked up to ABS and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) systems.

The headlamps also have an Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) which lets the driver see around corners. It estimates where the car will be in three seconds' time, using sensors that monitor the speed and the angle of the front wheels, altering the angle of the headlights in that direction. The rear lights are illuminated by LEDs which are longer-lasting and brighter, lighting up faster than conventional bulbs to quicker alert drivers in following vehicles. At the rear bumper, dual tailpipes provide a dynamic and sporty intent for this compact executive Lexus sedan.

Airbags are provided for both the driver and front occupant. The driver’s airbag is designed to inflate at one of three different speeds depending on the conditions (severity, seat position, etc) at the time of the collision. Airbags are also provided at knee level to give additional protection. Additional curtain airbag systems are also provided over the windows which will deploy when there is an impact from the sides, giving extra protection to front and rear passengers.

The new IS250 retails for RM305,000 (excluding roadtax and insurance). For Wheels has had a brief driving impression of this new junior executive aimed at challenging the BMW 325i and C230 (2.5) V6. Look out for it tomorrow.

To watch the new IS250 video:

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