By on July 24, 2015

2016_Lexus_IS_300_AWD_F_SPORT_001_2AEF9F669D0BB0948BE16C125B5434AE04D64090

Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday.

The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers.

The smaller mill in the IS200t will produce 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, according to the automaker, and will only be offered with rear-wheel drive.

Lexus said it would offer a version of its existing 3.5-liter V-6 in an all-wheel drive IS300, detuned from its current 306 horsepower. The revised engine will produce 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The IS350 will be rear- or all-wheel drive and continue to sport the 3.5-liter V-6.

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48 Comments on “Lexus Expands IS Engine Lineup to Include Smaller, Turbo Four...”


  • avatar
    sofast1

    Compact? Say what?

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      In fact I felt more cramp in a IS then I did in my A3.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Former coworker has an IS-250, I sat in the backseat once (6’0″) – never again. I have a pretty good streak of claustrophobia and I literally was borderline of having a panic attack after 20 minutes back there. Tight is an understatement.

        I really, REALLY like the IS, but no way on earth would I own one, crazy cramped (prior gen). Haven’t sat in the new one.

        More on topic, the demise of the tiny V6 is a good thing.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    They have to turbocharge the 3.5 now. Maybe drop it down to 3.0L and go with a hot V. It’s only right

  • avatar
    wmba

    Everyone makes a 2.0t these days, except FCA and Mazda, with Honda’s on the way and Nissan using the Mercedes unit. So it’s entertaining to see who makes a decent one, and this milquetoast one from Toyota hardly seems like the class leader.

    Reading Euro reviews of the NX200t wherein they declaim mild power delivery and a noisy engine at high rpm is in stark contrast to US reviews, where it gets high marks, no doubt due to advertising pressures from Big Daddy Akio and need to hype the vehicle following the his punt into the weeds with the world-beating FR-S.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I’ve driven the NX200t. It’s in no way louder than BMW’s N20 motor, and it sounds fairly tame. The NX needs a bit more power for my taste, and I didn’t really dig the vehicle… but the engine actually seems to be a very well thought out piece of machinery. It should do pretty well as the base engine for the IS line.

      I’m gonna assume that you dislike Toyota for whatever reasons, but I would certainly expect you to have personal experience with something before describing it as milquetoast.

      • 0 avatar
        SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

        There are no such reviews as he mention and he has absolutely no desire to drive these cars. All he wanted was to claim that the 2.0t is slow and noisy – exactly the properties which would persuade potential buyers away. He made his “hit” post and there are probably people who will read and believe his post, in which case he gets exactly what he wanted.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I have had my 2.0t 1990 Plymouth Laser since it was new. For the first 20 years of ownership, seemed it was the only 2.0t car on the road. Now 2.0t they seem to be standard issue for almost every major manufacturer.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    It’s cool, because BMW did the turbo 4 base motor thing years ago in their 3 and even 5 series, which is what gave Cadillac the (false) confidence to do the same in their ATS, CTS, and now, even their upcoming “it’s either a 5 series or 7 series contender depending on the day/month” CT6.

    • 0 avatar

      And Audi and Mercedes-Benz did it well before that. Even Jaguar, which most certainly isn’t the quickest company to adapt to new market trends, has had a turbo-four XF for a while…even though said vehicle is underpinned by a Ford platform from the late nineties.

      We’re aware that Lexus is late to the game with this, but the important thing is that it happened at all, because the IS 250 with its 2.5-liter V6 was horrendous (yes, I sampled one)…even worse than the Infiniti G25 Journey, which similarly had a 2.5-liter V6.

      I do remember when BMW made the switch on the F10 5-Series (2011-present). For 2011, the 3.0-liter N/A I6 was carried over from the E60. But in 2012, they replaced it with that turbo-four unit…which I personally would not want in a 5-Series.

      And while Lexus *is* chasing BMW, I hope it doesn’t lose its excellent reliability ratings, especially on long-term-keeper models like the LX (which is getting ready to receive a major facelift fro 2016) and GX. Part of why Lexus doesn’t have the same maladies as the Germans is because it has relied upon naturally aspirated engines up to now, so let’s hope this 2.0T engine was done right.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        If Lexus is chasing BMW with the IS they must have gotten really drunk just before making the second generation.

        • 0 avatar

          I really don’t think they were necessarily going after BMW until the debut of the current one. The first IS was an honest-to-goodness Japanese tuner…although (like a BMW) it was the one that had a straight-six.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I don’t know if it is as much as Lexus upping its game with each generation of the IS, or BMW continued softening and “mainstreaming” of its offering enabling others to catch up – and in some ways, pass.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        This reminds me of when Toyota finally was the last to cross the FWD Rubicon (the metaphorical river, not the physical Wrangler) with the Tercel. Toyota always, always lets everybody else debug a new technology, then introduces it last themselves only when they’re utterly confident it won’t break. This is a milestone to me, honestly — the reliability seal of approval on turbo technology, decades later.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      Just in case you forgot, GM did it with the 2.0T in a couple of flavors with Saab, as well as the LNF which included direct injection (and which they dropped the ball on as far as integrating it further into their products). Keep buying into the marketing, your biases are well known

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Fingers crossed they don’t forget the carry-over convertibles. This could take the IS250C to simply miserable from being miserable and humiliating.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Just look at that front end. Lines, creases, chaos.

    Has Sajeev done a Vellum Venom on this car?

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Twenty-teens styling paradigm. Make it as busy, complex, and cluttered as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        This is what happens when the automotive press calls a car brand boring and bland long enough and they get sick of it. Every car magazine and enthusiast out there asked for this. You’ve made your bed, now sleep in it!

        The FSport shown above is worse than the other trims, and neither is still as bad to me as a 2011 Sonata.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          The word for today is ‘discordant’.

          I read the specs and 2.0 turbo four and rwd only… thats cool cool cool

          and then I see it… yick

          who can wake up to that every day?

          then I see the plain white Jetta that Baruth just reviewed and thats the antithesis… and that car works… this Lexus doesn’t

          they say some companies are not ‘self aware’ – i have to think that Lexus isnt aware of how horrible their stuff looks

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            “i have to think that Lexus isnt aware of how horrible their stuff looks”

            Yet, Lexus sold almost as many cars as Benz did last month… and a full third more than Audi did.

            Sometimes, you have to come to terms with the fact that it’s just you…

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            “Yet, Lexus sold almost as many cars as Benz did last month… and a full third more than Audi did.

            Sometimes, you have to come to terms with the fact that it’s just you…”

            Personally I think it’s more the point that most Toyota/Lexus buyers are committed to buying the car regardless of how it looks (or drives, if they even do a test drive). They’re buying it based on the reputation, good brand experiences in the past, etc. If it looks a bit funny, so what, they aren’t going to go buy an American or German car instead. It might break down!!

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “personally I think most Toyota/Lexus buyers…”

            Well, there’s over 300K Camry buyers alone in a single year, so what you “think” amounts to within a rounding error of zero in the real world. That’s a lot of people to armchair stereotype from a keyboard.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            > Well, there’s over 300K Camry buyers alone in a single year, so what you “think” amounts to within a rounding error of zero in the real world. That’s a lot of people to armchair stereotype from a keyboard.

            Well in the real world based on direct observation, it seems like Camry drivers operate their vehicles as though they were under the influence of Sominex.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      It’s very bad, but IMHO, it could be vastly improved with just a body colored horizontal bar that split the “Electric Shaver grill” in half. I don’t know why they keep using it, it’s not a bad looking car, except for the front end.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It is much better looking in person. A lot of cars today look horrid in photographs, but look a lot better in the flesh.

      The “predator” face on the IS works – it actually works well.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I agree. I actually found myself admiring a new IS in traffic a few weeks ago before realizing it was the same car I absolutely hated when I saw reviews online. Same happened with the redone 4runner and 2015 refresh of the Camry. Some of that is just shock value wearing off perhaps, but I think you’re right, a lot of new cars are very unphotogenic bit look much less “out there” when you see them in the flesh.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    At least on paper it’ll now be competitive with the other 2.0T cars in its segment.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Most boring drivetrain. Should be an “interesting” competition.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > Most boring drivetrain. Should be an “interesting” competition.

        The word “boring” feels that associating it with Toyota constitutes a “defamation of character” and just filed a motion with a federal judge to issue a cease-and-desist injunction.

  • avatar

    I’ll have to look at the reliability and durability of the new 2.0L turbo before I replace my IS 250. The writing was on the wall for a long time for the 4GR-FSE and Toyota dragged their feet with turbos thanks to hybrids being the focus. If I have to make a move sooner, it’s just not going to be another IS.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I finally had a chance to drive a current-gen IS250, and the engine does indeed kill the proposition for anyone wanting more than adequate power. It’s creamy, refined, and sounds decent when revved, and is quick enough at the top end. But it’s torqueless, so unless I wrung the car’s neck it was no quicker than my 5 cylinder Jetta. 3500lbs of $37K premium-badged metal are just too much for it to move around.

    The new 2.0T looks like it would provide the acceleration and driveability at low rpm more fitting of the car’s price. It moves the 4200lb nx200 to 60 in 7 seconds, so probably mid-low 6s for the lighter IS.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I think the 2.5 was for women buyers. It was the cheapest way into a Lexus, it delivered the smoothness a Lexus buyer expected, and at the risk of stereotyping, that market is GENERALLY less concerned with bleeding-edge acceleration. I usually saw a woman driving one.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    New engines for the IS! We took our nine year old engine and detuned it!

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I wonder if this is actually a detuned 2GR-FSE (IS350 engine) or the 2GR-FKS (similar to the Tacoma). If the FSE, that would likely mean that it is designed to run on regular rather than premium of the FSE (lower compression, less aggressive valve timing?) If it is the FKS, that would be the wide angle VVTi that we’re seeing on the Tacoma that will allow it to run a modified Atkinson cycle and give a decent boost to fuel economy. If it is the former, I’m not sure what their logic is unless they were able to squeeze some considerable fuel economy gains out of it. The latter would be a great middle ground engine that has the latest and greatest fuel savings tech but still be a smooth V6 and have a nice solid output.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Knew this was coming. Was hoping Lexus would retain naturally-aspirated engines as a brand distinction and engineering reference point. They could have essentially said, “See what we learned about engines from the LFA? We don’t need turbos because we understand how engines work better than the other guys.”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Lexus said it would offer a version of its existing 3.5-liter V-6 in an all-wheel drive IS300, detuned from its current 306 horsepower. The revised engine will produce 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.”

    Huh, what? Why? That’s not an acceptable power figure for a luxury car with a 3.5.

    EDIT: This IS is a perfect example of a car which does not work in white. The Panamera is another example. As well as the MKS.

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