Lexus IS 200t with new turbocharged engine takes on the 3 Series

News | July 25th, 2015 by 9
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The Lexus IS line of cars was always kind of an afterthought in its segment dominated by the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz …

The Lexus IS line of cars was always kind of an afterthought in its segment dominated by the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C Class. The first-gen IS was, to put it kindly, a poor alternative to its German rivals. The second generation was improved over its predecessor, but still couldn’t really hang with the big boys. It’s third generation, however, has become much improved and is actually right up there with zee Germans, in terms of handling and performance. The only issue with the current IS is the base engine, a 2.5 liter V6, which is simply not good enough for the segment. But Lexus is out to fix that.

For the 2016 model year, the Lexus IS 250 will be replaced with the IS 200t. The difference is the switch from the ancient 2.5 liter V6 to a much smaller 2.0 liter four-cylinder.

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And if you’re wondering whether or not that “t” at the end of the name stands for turbocharged, you’d be right. A twin-scroll turbocharger, very similar to BMW’s own, will be fitted to the four-banger, giving it 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That puts it right in contention, power-wise, with the current 328i and upcoming 330i.

Power will be sent through an eight-speed automatic, which thankfully replaced the old six-speed unit. While driving the old IS 250 F Sport last year, I remarked on how the steering and chassis dynamics were actually quite nice, but the engine was horrifically underpowered and the six-speed auto was dim-witted and down right sluggish. It made the already underpowered engine feel even worse. So this powertrain upgrade is a very welcome change.

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With similar power figures to the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C Class, and good chassis dynamics, the IS 200t looks to finally get into the game with the rest of the gang. With BMW’s revised F30 3 Series, Audi’s upcoming B9 A4 and Mercedes new C Class, I’m not so sure the IS will be able to remain competitive with just a base engine upgrade, but it’ll sure be interesting to find out.

9 responses to “Lexus IS 200t with new turbocharged engine takes on the 3 Series”

  1. joseph_rma says:

    But still man, this design… You can’t make an alien with Down-syndrome and beat the Germans :)

    • Kaisuke971 says:

      The old IS looked very good, but then they went full retard with this new one. The IS F was the pinnacle of Lexus’ design department, along with the LFA imo… Well the only problem being the fake exhaust tips x)

      • joseph_rma says:

        I agree with you, previous one was the sedan on it’s place, not bad looking at all. And now seems like Japanese are experimenting with design and seems they even don’t know what they are doing at all, like they are lost. They can’t beat Germans on other aspects too.
        But LFA, that was a masterpiece in every sense, no more words :)

  2. Otto says:

    Wait a minute, I’ve seen this somewhere else… Yeap :

  3. jason bourne says:

    The only contending the Lexus will have with that hideous Predator front fascia is Ugliest Car on the Planet.

    • ThatOneDude says:

      Couldn’t be in agreement with you more. I love nearly everything else about the IS, and was super excited about the 200T, but was holding out hope that they would fix that GOD AWFUL Predator front fascia into something more refined… something more classy and strong. In fact, even the standard non Fsport face looks miles better. But no, all the new pics surfacing immediately killed my desire to pursue the new 200T. But that’s okay. Instead I bought a 2014 Audi S4 and I LOVE it. I don’t have even a shred of regret. Cheers.

  4. […] test consists of the BMW 330i, Jaguar XE 25t, Lexus IS200t F Sport and Mercedes-Benz C250. Each and every car in the tests came equipped with a 2.0 liter turbocharged […]

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