2013 Lexus IS has folding rear seats, nav, xenon headlights, auto standard

Lexus has launched the third generation IS sedan range in Australia and, as before, it features keen pricing as it seeks to entice buyers who prefer generally the German competition.

The IS range starts at A$55,900 for the IS250 Luxury, which is powered by a 153kW/252Nm 2.5-litre V6. If the 2.5-litre V6 is adequate there’s also the A$64,900 IS250 F-Sport and A$77,900 IS250 Sports Luxury. With all the power going to the rear wheels via a 6-speed auto the IS250 can manage the 0-100km/h run in 8.1 seconds. Officially it will drink 9.2L/100km and emit 213g/km of CO2.

Surprisingly this new IS is the first to offer a hybrid drivetrain option, which starts at just A$58,900 for the IS300h Luxury and tops out with the A$67,900 IS300h F-Sport. With just a A$3,000 premium for the hybrid option Lexus is hoping to tempt buyers who would otherwise choose a diesel-powered BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi. As is customary, the hybrid features continuously variable transmission (CVT), albeit one with six false “gears” when you use the car’s paddle shifters.

The IS300h is also the first IS-branded car to feature a four cylinder engine. In this case it’s a 133kW/221Nm 2.5-litre petrol engine coupled to an 105kW/300Nm electric motor; in concert they can deliver a maximum of 164kW of power. In official testing the IS300h drinks just 4.9L/100km and outputs 113g/km of CO2. Foot to the floor it will do the 0-100km/h standard in 8.5 seconds. In order to retain the 60/40 split folding rear seats (a first for any IS sedan), as well as similar boot space to the other models, the IS300h ditches the temporary spare for run-flat tyres.

For those wanting grunt to go with their handling there’s 233kW/378Nm 3.5-litre V6 which powers the A$65,000 IS350 Luxury, A$73,000 IS350 F-Sport and A$84,000 IS350 Sports Luxury. The big V6 drives the rear wheels via an 8-speed auto. It will chew up the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.9 seconds, drink an official 9.7L/100km and emit 225g/km of CO2.

Standard equipment on all models, including the base Luxury specification, includes bi-xenon headlights, 17-inch alloys, reversing camera, push button start, proximity entry key, heated and cooled front seats, and leather seating. The standard Pioneer audio system features 12 speakers, 299W output rating, digital and analogue radio, sat nav, Lexus Remote Touch controller, 7-inch high res screen, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary jack.

Step up the F Sport and you’ll gain 18-inch alloys, variable ratio power steering and adjustable suspension settings.

The top spec Sports Luxury models feature automatic high beams, radar-guided cruise control, lane departure warning, parking sensors, rear-seat mounted side airbags, and blind spot monitoring. A 835W, 12-channel, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system is also standard.

Dimensions, etc.

Length: 4,665mm
Width: 1,810mm
Height: 1,430mm
Wheelbase: 2,800mm
Weight: 1,645kg (IS250); 1,720kg (IS300h); 1,685kg (IS350)
Boot space: 480L (IS250, IS350); 450L (IS300h)

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]