The Lexus IS luxury sport sedan models continue with a balance of luxury, agility and sportiness as they enter 2016 model year with a three model lineup — IS 200t, IS 300 AWD, and IS 350. The IS 250 and IS 250 AWD have been discontinued.
The IS sedans continue with an aggressive, elegant presence with the signature Lexus spindle grille, L-theme LED daytime running lights and dynamic bodylines. Available for all IS sedan models, the F SPORT package sharpens handling with unique 18-inch wheels and special suspension tuning, while sharpening the design with unique interior and exterior trim.
The lineup combines silken power delivery with multi-link rear suspension and finely tuned electronic power steering derived from the Lexus GS sedan. In addition to more engine choices, the Lexus IS has a few other changes for 2016.
The new optional Premium Plus Package includes a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers. A heated steering wheel also is available as a standalone option. The IS 350 adds standard 18-inch five-spoke wheels with all-season tires.
The IS adds a turbocharged gas engine option, bringing the number of three engine alternatives to go with rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-weather drive (AWD) and F SPORT options. The new IS 200t, available as RWD only, is powered by a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with an intercooler paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine cranks out 241 hp and has 258 pound-feet of torque at 1,650-4,400 rpm. Lexus developed the turbocharged engine in house, first integrated it into the NX luxury utility hybrid for 2015 and modified it for IS 200t.
The D-4ST direct injection system combines a high pressure fuel system for injection directly in to the cylinders with a low pressure system for injection into the ports. Injection is split between the direct and port injectors according to the engine load to help fuel economy.
With the popularity of the all-weather drive (AWD) system in bad weather, Lexus offers the IS 300 AWD with 255 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque at 2,000-4,800 rpm. The IS 300 AWD features a modified 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Lexus continues to offer the IS 350, in both RWD and AWD models.
A Drive Mode Select system features up to four driving modes to tailor the car’s combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics. All IS sedans feature ECO, NORMAL and SPORT modes. Equipping the IS 350 with the F SPORT package also nets Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), controlled with SPORT S and SPORT S+ modes. AWD models also have a SNOW mode.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.