Any mention of the Japanese luxury car manufacturer Lexus brings to mind an image of a high speed dash across town and a baby girl sitting on a bed and smiling.
The dash was made in a Lexus following a call I received at work from my then wife who had locked herself out of the house.
She was standing on the front verandah when she made the call, looking through the window into our bedroom where, perched on the bed, was our nine month old child.
“Get home as fast as you can and bring your house keys’’ cried my wife. “If she starts to crawl, she’ll fall off the bed.’’
I made in home in record time in the big, V8 powered Lexus LS400, the first model to be sold, and saved the day.
That was about 25 years ago and the memory remains. The IS200t is smaller and far removed from the LS400 but the elements of exceptional quality and luxury remain.
The IS200t replaces the IS250, the IS series being pitched against the likes of the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz Class and Audi A4.
They’re German, it’s Japanese and part of the Toyota empire. Surely, the German luxury brands have more cachet and likely to generate more envy among your colleagues.
Once, perhaps, but not any more.
The main difference between the IS200t and the model it replaces lies beneath the bonnet where instead of a six cylinder 2.5 litre V6 there is a four cylinder, turbocharged engine.
It’s a significant change, the new engine producing 27more kW of power at 180Kw and 98Nm more torque at 350Nm than the old motor.
The engine now drives through an eight speed automatic transmission that replaces the six speed unit on the previous model.
The new car is smoother, faster and quieter than the one it replaces and is available in three models – Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury.
The handling is sharp, the ride supple, the performance satisfying and the build quality superb.
Sit in this car, feel the support of the nicely sculpted leather seats, grip the small, leather trimmed steering wheel and take in the ambience of the cabin and you will begin to feel its appeal well before you push the engine Start button.
It’s safe with a five star rating, scoring 35 out of a possible 37 points and has 10 airbags, frontal collision warning, auto emergency braking, stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist as standard.
Fuel economy is around 8 litres per 100km which is good.
The “basic’’ Luxury model at $57,500 is the one to buy. It’s loaded with features and if you compare it against the Germans, offers excellent value.
There is always the badge factor in the minds of those people who believe that to be seen behind the wheel of anything not carrying a three pointed star on the bonnet is to be seen as slumming it, which is a shame.
Lexus makes some of the best cars in the world and anyone considering a Mercedes C-Class or BMW 3-Series should add the IS200t to their shopping list.
Price: $57,500 – $76,500
Warranty: Four years or 100,000km.
What car brand holds the most memories for you?