Lexus Philippines has been busy despite the crippling pandemic, introducing the new LM MPV and the gorgeous LC500 Convertible earlier this year.
To highlight the year, Lexus PH unveiled the all-new edition of its popular IS model at the Lexus Manila showroom this weekend with two variants – the IS 300h and IS F-Sport models.
Since the introduction of the IS model in 1999, Lexus managed to engage the high performance oriented premium market segment by giving the buyers an exciting and luxurious car which can be driven daily using a proven platform unique to compact rear wheel drive sports sedans. With its low sung and sharp handling chassis, the formula remained the same over the last two decades.
But the new IS has been further enhanced and developed, born and bred at the US$2.8 billion 600 hectare Shimoyama Technical Center Test Track, a specially-designed course that mimics the challenging and historic Nürburgring Nordschleife course in Germany used as a proving ground for its previous models.
However, it was time for the company to create its own hallowed road course, proof that Lexus and its parent company Toyota continue to intensify its dedication toward building ever-better cars by honing them thoroughly under exacting driving environments. With this mindset moving forward, the new IS sets the bar for the dynamic handling of all future Lexus models.
Lexus says that Shimoyama is a road course that duplicates every possible kind of on-road scenario in the world. One that has every type of corner radius, every conceivable bank angle, and every kind of elevation change that you can possibly encounter when behind the steering wheel. A road where vertical changes are so severe and abrupt that finding the proper suspension damping setting is critical. In a place like this, the stability and handling of a car would be put to the test. Using its testing and racing experience on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the course was designed with its own challenging test course in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture that takes advantage of local topography and features a roughly 75-meter change in elevation between its highest and lowest points—as well as a wide range of curves and corners.
“With the aim of making ever-better cars, we have continued to make various efforts in “feeling the road” and “conversing with cars” through driving tests around the world, including our Five Continent Drive Project and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race,” said Lexus Master Driver and Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda. “Based on such experiences, we have replicated a variety of roads in the world at the new test course. In addition to conducting driving tests all over the world, and with the replication of severe driving conditions at the new test course, we intend to thoroughly hone every one of our models and develop the types of cars that epitomize the true joy of driving.”
The Lexus IS is the very first of these cars to emerge from the Shimoyama Test Track.
A quick look at the spec sheet of these two variants shows that the new IS has grown a bit in size, and it uses the same double wishbone type front suspension and multi-link type rear suspension with coil springs and swing-valve shock absorbers and stabilizer bar similar to the bigger ES mid-sized sedan models, giving it an even more luxurious and sure-footed ride. The F-Sport variant is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 Four Cam 24-valve DOHC engine that is rated at 315PS of power and 380Nm of torque while the 300h is powered by a 2.5-liter L4 16-Valve DOHC Dual VVT-I engine rated at 181PS of power and 221 Nm of torque. Inside, the interior layout is similar to the previous IS model but noticeably enhanced with some design elements from its beautiful RCF coupe model.
Alvin Uy wears many hats, foremost among them being an executive for a home improvement chain and real estate developer and part of a family-owned chemical business. Aside from writing about motoring news and car reviews, he loves to write about traveling, food and wine reviews, mechanical timepieces and classic cars.