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We drive the Lexus IS250

  • More kit for less cash
  • IS given facelift, too
  • Better, but not great value
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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It looks like Lexus is getting into the spirit of the January sales. Thanks to a recent face-lift, the IS compact executive now provides more kit for less cash.

How much cash? Well, the 2.5-litre V6 petrol version we have here now starts at Β£22,715, where it used to check-in at Β£24,127. The range-topper now sets you back Β£28,240, but it used to cost Β£29,687.

More kit - less cash

The increased kit levels come courtesy of the re-jigged trim structure, which now begins with SE. It has alloys, climate control, suede-effect upholstery, cruise control, a six-disc CD stacker with MP3 socket, stability control and eight airbags as standard.

Theres plenty of space upfront, but anyone travelling in the back seats is less well catered for.
The boot is small and awkwardly shaped, too, with significant wheelarch intrusion.

The looks have changed slightly: there are reshaped bumpers, redesigned rear lights, new door mirrors and two new colours.

On the road

Despite small changes to the suspension, the Lexus still cant give you the thrills that rivals can. You need to work the 204bhp 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine hard to make brisk progress, but it pulls cleanly from low revs. The IS turns into corners swiftly, grips keenly and is unfazed by mid-corner bumps, so its a shame that the steering doesnt offer more feedback, while the hard ride means its nowhere near as comfortable as the equivalent BMW, the 325i.

The IS250 manages only 28.8mpg while the 325i returns 39.8mpg. The Lexus is catastrophically heavy on CO2, too, chucking out 231g/km to the BMWs 170g/km so the company car tax bandings are 22% for the BMW and 34% for the Lexus.

Our verdict

Better value, if not exactly great value

Lexus IS250 Price: Β£22,715 - Β£28,240
On sale: Now
You'll like: Lower prices; more kit
You wont: Jiggly ride; running costs