If you can’t beat them, join them. Admitting that the German turn to turbo has been the key to their success at the $60,000 price point, Lexus have introduced a turbo IS four-door. After years of dragging their tails with the ageing IS250, Lexus are back in action in the small luxury sedan class with the IS200t.
Without a great base engine, it is hard to be competitive at all in this segment. The former entry-level V6 IS250 was smooth, but its glacial pace and thirst meant it was overlooked, time and time again, in favour of European options like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Audi A4.
The Lexus experiment with hybrid power hasn’t worked in Australia, either. Admirably, the Japanese luxury brand has admitted to having learned its lesson—and the IS joins the Germans, plus the Jaguar XE, in being having a turbo base model. The IS200t is a four-cylinder that makes 20% more power, and a staggering 40% more torque, than the old V6.
The IS already had sweet handling and solid dynamics. Plus, it’s one of the best cars to look at amongst the competition, with athletic lines and sharp angles everywhere. The problem was not having a spirited motor in the least expensive trim. With the IS200t solving that, on paper, is the IS the new car to beat in a segment packed with high-quality options?
Key specs (as tested)
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