Lexus has won a high reputation based on the quality of workmanship and a refined drive which owners love to boast about to drivers of other prestige models.
Few can argue but in the past many had to admit that the fun was with the German high-end rivals.
Never ones to ignore a criticism, Lexus has got engineers to redesign and tweak the driving bits and the results can be appreciated in their compact executive model, the IS220d. Apart from restyling the exterior and improving the interior, there are big improvements to the suspensions and steering which allows for a much more lively performance, even on poor Irish road surfaces. Also attended to has been the transmission to give better gear changes and a peppier engine performance.
A new S design grade is now standard and includes 17" alloy wheels and the Lexus Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system is standard on the entry-level model – priced at €38,340 – as well as the Executive and Sport models. This system is a notch up in the car's driving/safety components.
The Executive model gets electrically-operated seats; Bluetooth and parking sensors are also available. Go for the sport model at €44,325 and standard items include 18" alloy wheels, memory on seat positions and heated seats. Items such as rain-sensing wipers are among other luxury touches. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine gives a strong performance with 177-bhp output and returns 400Nm or torque at 2000 rpm. The emissions are 161g/km which puts it into tax band D which is just under €450 in annual road tax. Lexus have fine-tuned the engine to a high degree and the 0-100m sprint can be achieved in nine seconds. The top speed is 226 km/h.
What is more important are the fuel consumption figures and in sedate uninterrupted drive Lexus claim 6.1 litres/100 km which is a very good figure for a car of this size. This figure will naturally rise dramatically in urban traffic crawl and expect about nine litre/100km as a more reasonable estimate.
Performance is right up there with the Audi A4 and Mercedes Benz C-Class and the economy of the diesel engine and built-in quality means that residual values will remain high for even second- and third-hand buyers.
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