The Lexus IS200t marks the start of the company’s progressive rollout of its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, a configuration we’ve already experienced in the NX. While some may squawk at its downsized capacity the new 2.0-litre is a very competent engine delivering ample power and torque – 180kW and 350Nm to be precise. Compared to the 3.5-litre V6 IS350 there’s no denying the 2.0T falls short in terms of sound and emotion but it makes up for that in other areas. It’s just as sprightly, needing only seven seconds to make the sprint from 0-100kph. Fuel economy is also very good with official figures of just 7.5L/100km on the combined cycle with C02 emissions pegged at 175g/km.
Visually not much has changed over the IS350 – razor-sharp Origami-inspired sheet metal and outlandish head- and tail-light arrangements are still the order of the day. Two equipment grades are available, both of which are characterised by 17-inch wheels. Interior appointments are impressive with seat heating and ventilation, a 7-inch central colour display, full leather upholstery, electric front seats and PDC all standard. The EX adds such niceties as sat-nav and a reverse camera.
Decent body control also comes standard. The IS200t has one of the best ride qualities in the segment. It manages to soak up bumps and road imperfections with ease, all without sacrificing handling and ride control, thanks largely to the Yamaha-tuned dampers. The steering – while partially devoid of feel – is accurate meaning the IS200t can be tossed from side-to-side with ease, all the while managing to track clean lines through corners.
In a highly competitive segment ruled by mainstays such as the Merc C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, the Lexus IS200t for the first time poses a genuine threat – it’s that good. However, the only way to really know if it has the credentials to cause an upset is to test it in the same conditions against its adversaries. Bring on the group test.
Lexus IS200t E
PRICE R 518800 ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 180kW @ 5800rpm, 350Nm @ 1650-4400rpm TRANSMISSION eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive SUSPENSION Double wishbone front, multi-link rear LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT 4665mm / 1810mm / 1430mm WEIGHT 1405kg PERFORMANCE 7sec 0-100kph, 230kph top speed, 7.5L/100km, 175g/km CO2 ON SALE Now
By - AARON BORRILL