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New models - Lexus - IS - IS250 sedan range

Lexus prices IS F under $130,000

Coming fast: IS F packs a 311kW 5.0-litre V8 and eight-speed lock-up auto.

Toyota luxury division prices IS F to please, eyes six new models in next 12 months

Lexus logo14 Oct 2008

LEXUS Australia has announced a scorchingly hot $129,000 pricetag for its upcoming 5.0-litre V8-powered IS F high-performance sedan – well below both its forecast of $150,000 and the current asking prices of its two key rivals in the BMW M3 sedan (which goes on sale in December, priced at a projected $145,000) and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG ($146,271).

The wildest ever Lexus goes on sale in Australia later this month as part of a facelifted IS medium sports sedan range, pricing for which was also announced today.

The IS250 Prestige auto is the same price as before ($56,990), while the IS250 Prestige manual is up $100 to $54,490 and the auto-only IS250 Sports Luxury auto is down by $779, at $79,500.

Lexus remains upbeat about the new products it believes will reverse a current sales slide that has seen vehicle sales reduce by 8.2 per cent so far this year, allowing its German luxury rival Audi to sweep past it by almost 2000 sales so far in 2008.

The Japanese premium brand has four new IS-based products and an all-new RX luxury SUV due in Australia over the next 12 months to resurrect sales.

Head of Lexus Australia, John Roca, claims that the current sales position is due to its luxury SUV reaching the end of its product cycle.

“We put it down to the RX. Effectively that vehicle is in run-out. Run-out years always struggle, but in the first quarter next year we launch the petrol version of the new car, so that’ll kick us back,” he said, adding that the new hybrid version of the RX (the RX400h replacement) will join the petrol model by July.

31 center imageMr Roca says that the Lexus IS250C, a new convertible version of the IS first shown at Paris three weeks ago and locally in Sydney from last week (left), is due here by August 2009. Mr Roca believes the IS250C will add 40 sales a month to the Lexus bottom line.

Lexus also hopes to spice-up the IS250 range by bridging the gap between the IS250 and the hyper-sports IS F model with a sports model based on the IS250, which could be offered as either an “F Sport” accessory kit or a full additional model, as it is in the US.

“We realised consumers want a bit more in their IS250, so that’s a different alternative,” says Mr Roca.

The IS250 Sports Concept (also on show at AIMS in Sydney) features lowered sports suspension, cross-drilled brakes with high-performance callipers and improved performance (by five per cent) thanks to a free-flowing exhaust and modifications to the air intake. Larger 19-inch wheels and a bodykit have also been added.

According to Mr Roca, the Sports Concept is not just a show special, but something he’d like to see in local showrooms - if it can be approved for Australian roads.

“We’re very serious. We think we should have it. (But) It’s a compliance issue at the moment, so we’re working on that,” he said.

The issues are that the exhaust and bodykit do not meet Australian Design Rules (ADRs) in their present form, but Mr Roca believes there is no point offering the kit without them. “We like to do it completely - we’d like it with the lot.” Mr Roca said that once the compliance issue was sorted out, he’d expect that the F Sport kit or model would arrive in the first half of next year.

Read more:

Sydney show: Lexus flips its IS wig

First look: Lexus takes the lid off its IS convertible

First drive: Smokin' IS F is the wildest Lexus ever

F and CC versions of facelifted Lexus IS are just for starters


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