The all-new Lexus IS will hit showrooms soon, with the current model having been in production since 2005. This means there'll be plenty of bargain-priced examples of this BMW 3 Series rival on the used market, with many available from around £5500.
Lexus listened to criticisms of the first-generation IS and set out to address them in this current model – and, for the most part, it has been successful. The 2.5-litre V6 has performance that's on par with swifter models in the BMW 3 Series range, while the refined 2.2 turbodiesel has plenty of go, too.
However, the IS is letdown by steering that has neither the feel nor the accuracy of that in the 3 Series. The IS grips well through corners, but its firm ride never really settles in town or on the motorway.
The cabin is superbly built, with loads of standard equipment and generous safety kit. We think the dashboard is a little fussy and there should be more rear space, but there’s no doubting the overall sense of class.
Engine-wise, there’s a choice between the 2.5-litre V6 petrol and the 2.2 turbodiesel. Our vote goes to the punchy petrol engine, not only for its performance, but also for its superb refinement. However, the diesel's no slouch – it's one of the most powerful in its segment and returns an average of 44.8mpg.
You can also find IS models with an automatic gearbox in place of the six-speed manual, but we’d stick with the latter.
Whichever engine you prefer, there are four trims, starting with the basic IS. This is anything but basic, though, coming with cruise and climate controls, CD autochanger, and alloys.
Our favourite trim, SE, brings bigger alloys and adds electrically adjustable leather seats, while SE-L gets electric seats, keyless starting and automatic headlamps. Range-topping Sport models have a subtle bodykit and firmer suspension.
We found these on the forecourt…
Lexus IS 250 SR
‘09/09, 28,000 miles, £9990.
Farnell Approved used Lexus
Lexus IS 220d SE
‘08/08, 33,000 miles, £8988
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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