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Future models - Lexus - IS - 200t

Lexus turbocharges IS

Change up: Lexus' first turbo-powered engine will be offered in the IS this year, after making its debut in the NX crossover earlier this year.

IS gains Lexus' 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, as ageing V6 variants get the chop

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Lexus logo29 Jun 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

LEXUS has finally confirmed its IS mid-sizer will be offered with the company's turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol powertrain, with the IS200t set to launch in Australia later this year.

The new turbo-powered IS200t will replace the IS250 variants in Australia, which are currently powered by the ageing 153kW/252Nm 2.5-litre V6 engine that has serviced a number of Lexus and Toyota models since the early noughties.

Under the bonnet of the IS, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit will produce 180kW and 350Nm, which is 5kW more powerful than its application in the NX crossover – the first Lexus model to feature the engine.

The rear wheels of the IS are driven by an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission, which, according to Lexus, varies gear shifts in accordance with G-forces.

The transmission downshifts under hard braking, holds the lower gear in the turn, and then selects the most appropriate gear coming out of the corner for optimal throttle response.

Lexus' powertrain features a twin-scroll turbocharger, D-4ST fuel injection, water-cooled cylinder head, an integrated exhaust manifold and a state-of-the-art variable valve timing system for improved fuel economy.

Following the IS, the next model to use the turbo four-pot will be the new-generation RX SUV, due in Australia next year, while the facelifted GS sedan is also likely to get the engine too.

In Europe, the IS200t has a zero to 100km/h sprint time of seven seconds, and official combined cycle fuel use of 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres.

In contrast, the outgoing IS250 consumes 9.2L/100km and the 0-100km/h time is 8.1s, while the NX200t's fuel use is 7.7L/100km and it can reach 100km/h in 7.3s.

Among its rivals, the IS200t will compete against BMW's 135kW/270Nm 320i that is quicker with a 0-100km/h time of 6.3s, but consumes more fuel at 7.3L/100km, while the Mercedes-Benz C200 gets to 100km/h in 7.3s and sips 6.0L/100km.

Pricing and specification will be revealed closer to the model's September launch, but it is unlikely to shift far from the IS250's pricing which starts at $54,000, plus on-road costs for the Luxury and tops out at $74,000 for the Sports Luxury.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley highlighted the performance capabilities of the turbocharged engine under the bonnet of the IS.

“This very advanced engine has already proven itself and been valued by Lexus customers in the NX 200t,” he said.

“It will also be extremely well matched to the IS 200t, delivering excellent performance and fuel efficiency to complement the driving pleasure already offered by the IS.” IS sales have slipped by 27.7 per cent to 862 units in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, meaning it trails its German rivals including the Mercedes C-Class (3967), the BMW 3 Series (1645), and Benz's CLA (1247).

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