The new Lexus IS range.
The new Lexus IS range. Paul Bradshaw - The Project Grou

New Lexus IS range is better looking and more fun to drive

LEXUS has added a hybrid to its new IS sports sedan line-up, which is more modern looking, more rigid and more fun to drive.

Lexus has made solid gains with a more contemporary look, characterised by the spindle grille and more masculine front bumper on sports models, funky alloy wheels and a beautiful sweep leading up to the back wheel arch.

And having just driven the IS350 around Phillip Island, it features increased rigidity, greater grip along with a better steering feel and stronger brakes.  

Starting from $55,900 for the base model V6, the Lexus IS range has three engine options, three gearboxes and three trims across eight models.

Lexus is f sport 2
The new Lexus IS. Grant Edwards

New pricing for the entry level offering is $100 more than the outgoing Prestige variant but gains improved specification. 

Standard equipment includes satellite navigation, reversing camera, pop-up hood (for pedestrian safety), smart entry with push button start, heated and ventilated leather accented front seats, digital radio, eight airbags (10 on up-spec models) and Bi-Xenon HID headlamps.

The range will be available in showrooms from July 15. An updated V8-powered IS F or a convertible is yet to be revealed. 

The IS 250 range will also feature F Sport and top-of-the-line Sports Luxury variants for $64,900 and $77,900 respectively.

But the hybrid is the IS range's headline act. Under the bonnet is four-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol-electric engine which costs $3000 more than the comparable IS 250 model. The IS 300h is the smallest price jump between any Lexus petrol and hybrid variant.

The Lexus IS 300h range will feature Luxury and F Sport variants and have price-tags of $58,900 and $67,900 respectively.

The 233kW IS 350 Luxury gets a new IS F style Sports Program Direct Shift (SPDS) eight-speed sequential transmission and is priced from $65,000 - a rise of $200 over the previous IS 350 Prestige.

IS 350 will also be offered in F Sport ($73,000) and Sports Luxury ($84,000).

Bottom line:

IS 250

Luxury $55,900, F Sport $64,900, Sports Luxury $77,900.

IS 300h

Luxury $58,900, F Sport $67,900.

IS 350

Luxury $65,000, F Sport $73,000, Sports Luxury $84,000.