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First look: Lexus unveils its next-generation IS sedan

Growing up: Lexus IS grows in every direction and is powered by a new 2.5-litre V6.

All-new Lexus IS increases arsenal to fight BMW 3 Series and Merc C-Class

9 Mar 2005

LEXUS took the cover off its next-generation IS sedan for next year in Australia its latest attempt to win more customers from the small-to-medium prestige segment dominated by the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.

Following the GS model with the marque's L-Finesse design philosophy, the all-new IS features a 2.5-litre V6 with a stoichiometric direct-injection system with Dual VVT-i. It is a development of the Toyota/Lexus variable valve timing system that, in this case, controls both intake and exhaust valves.

Producing 150kW at 6400rpm and 250Nm at 3800rpm, the engine combines with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with sequential paddle-shift control.

The car was unveiled in Geneva with the first diesel engine for a Lexus model, a 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit producing 130kW and 400Nm from 2000 to 2400rpm.

The car is 90mm longer and 75mm wider than the current car. Its wide track and prominent wheel arches combine with short front and rear overhangs to give the car a low centre of gravity and a broad, robust appearance – at least, that's how Lexus describes it. (We need not go into features such as the "Kirikaeshi" side-glazing motif creating an analogy to the movement of a samurai sword, need we?)The cabin has much greater attention to detail and a 60mm addition to the wheelbase translates into more rear legroom.

31 center imageLexus is also promising class-leading safety equipment with 10 airbags and a first-in-segment double knee airbag. A radar-controlled pre-crash safety system, adaptive cruise control and an intelligent adaptive front lighting system will also be available.

A lightweight, double wishbone suspension is used up front, while at the rear there is a new multi-link system. The car also features a new, speed-sensitive, electrically assisted power steering system.

European sales start late this year, with Australian deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2006.

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