March 1, 2005 – Geneva Motor Show 2005
On 1st March the Lexus Stand at the Geneva Motor Show revealed the New IS Sedan. This new model, so important for Lexus in Europe, is also the first ever Lexus fitted with diesel technology.
THE NEXT GENERATION IS
"We have been obsessed by attention to detail. As a Lexus, the new IS cannot simply adopt new technologies. Everything has to touch perfection, and work together beautifully." -Suguya Fukasato, NEW IS CHIEF Engineer.
ï¿½ World debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2005, on sale at the end of 2005.
Setting new class standards in driving dynamics, on-board luxury and ergonomic excellence, the new IS – the next generation of Lexusï¿½ compact sports sedan – makes its world debut at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. Building on the success of the first IS, the new model range offers an exclusive, highly sophisticated experience within the premium D segment.
The next generation IS also marks the introduction of the first ever Lexus diesel engine. The most powerful unit in its displacement category, the new, all aluminium, 2.2 litre power plant fulfils the most exacting standards of Lexus performance and refinement. It combines exceptionally quiet, ultra-smooth operating characteristics with class-leading torque availability and power.
The introduction of a diesel engine within the Lexus model range will have a fundamental impact on the strength of the brand throughout Europe. ï¿½Diesel is critical to any brandï¿½s success in Europeï¿½ considers Karl Schlicht, Vice President of Lexus Europe. ï¿½Our first diesel engine will open the market to us and it will put Lexus on a level playing field.ï¿½
The increase in sales volume generated by the new Lexus IS will instigate the growth of a dedicated dealer network of some 340 Lexus outlets throughout Europe. As a result, by 2010, Lexus anticipates a three to four-fold increase in European sales.
Representing a radical new design direction initially explored through the LF-S and LF-C concept vehicles and implemented for the first time in the next generation GS, the new IS sports sedan is the second road-going iteration of L-Finesse, the Lexus design philosophy.
Integral to Lexusï¿½ ceaseless quest for perfection, L-Finesse is a ground-breaking design rationale deeply rooted in Japanese culture, with references drawn from the timeless heritage of true Japanese design iconography, both ancient and modern. The new design direction expresses three fundamental elements: ï¿½Incisive Simplicityï¿½ – perhaps best explained as purity, ï¿½Intriguing Eleganceï¿½ – a sense of depth that appeals to the emotions, and ï¿½Seamless Anticipationï¿½ – part and parcel of traditional Japanese hospitality wherein the anticipation of an event is fundamental to its ultimate enjoyment.
L-Finesse informs every aspect of the next generation IS. An ongoing evolution of a complex rationale first successfully realised in the latest GS, the new philosophy develops an even stronger visual synergy between the interior and exterior design of the new IS.
The next generation IS marries the elegance of powerful, sweeping coachwork lines with an intriguing contrast of convex and concave surfacing to reinforce the central tenets of the L-Finesse philosophy. The resultant incisive purity of overall form is complimented by the painstaking crafting of individual components, reflecting a fascination with even the smallest detail; a hallmark of traditional Japanese design aesthetics.
The new Lexus is 90 mm longer and 75 mm wider than its predecessor. Its wide track and prominent wheel arches combine with short front and rear overhangs to give the car a low centre of gravity and broad, robust appearance, appropriate to its sporting prowess.
To the front, a trademark, vertically latticed grille instantly identifies the new IS as a sporting member of the Lexus marque. As first demonstrated on the LF-S concept vehicle, the aggressive, twin-barrel headlamp clusters are positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself. This carefully considered disposition of the key frontal elements will become a unique characteristic of future Lexus models, focusing the eye at the very apex of the vehicle to strengthen the impression of speed and agility.
The IS grille generates a powerful coachwork line which highlights the clean muscular bonnet surface before sweeping seamlessly into the windscreen pillar. An adjacent concave surface stretches between bonnet and wheel arch to reinforce the carï¿½s wide, dynamic front stance, and is punctuated by a new, sporting, door-mounted mirror design as it flows into the narrowing belt line.
In profile, tight shoulders and a wide side surface support a steeply raked windscreen and a side glazing motif inspired by a symbol of traditional Japanese culture that expresses dynamism: "Kirikaeshi" describes a rapid, yet fluid change of direction, creating an analogy to Japanese calligraphy or the movement of a samurai sword. This is most powerfully represented in the strong ï¿½arrowheadï¿½ configuration of the ï¿½Cï¿½ pillar. This arrowhead motif, already integral to the frontal design of the next generation GS, will become a further key styling element to the Lexus marque.
Astern, splayed rear wheel arches taper into a short, pugnacious rear overhang topped with powerful LED lamp clusters. The unique and unexpected sporting design graphic of the rear lamp cluster reflects an intriguing elegance central to the L-Finesse philosophy, and once more sets a precedent for the styling of future Lexus models.
The painstaking constructional skills inherent in both traditional and modern Japanese aesthetics are key to L-Finesse. This is reflected in a stunning new interior once more combining convex and concave surfaces; the former denoting control functions such as the centre console switchgear and engine start button, the latter providing driver and passenger accommodation. The seamless, dynamic flow of the door panel surfaces into the dashboard culminating with the projecting instrument binnacle, the focal point of the new IS cabin.
The vertical linking of cabin elements through the centre console, and door grips once again inspired by the "Kirikaeshi" principle, further reinforce the volumetric homogeny of the interior design.
The apparently dislocated position of the side air vents reflects the influence of another symbol of Japanese traditional culture: "Hazushi" or ï¿½shift out of phaseï¿½. This expresses the intriguing notion of something that is part of a whole but, at the same time, retains its independence.
Careful consideration has gone into the modelling and spacing of individual components, with a detailed coordination of finishes to touch surfaces such as the chrome highlighting to door handles, gear shift paddles, gear knob and starter button.
The new steering wheel features a redesigned rim cross-section for added comfort, and the gear shift paddles are mounted directly on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to modify steering wheel grip, even when cornering.
The front seats combine snug lateral support with a broad shoulder area, reflecting the optimisation of ride comfort and sporting driving dynamics inherent in the new IS chassis. The optional leather seats also feature heating and fan assisted ventilation. Painstaking attention to detail is here reflected by significantly tighter tolerances to the leatherï¿½s double stitching, now reduced by 25%. Rear seat legroom has been significantly improved through the addition of 60 mm to the wheelbase of the new Lexus IS, increasing the distance between front and rear passengers to the highest level in the segment.
The cabin also features striking metal highlights and an optional birdï¿½s eye maple wood finish of the highest quality, carefully integrated with peerless fit and finish management. Every effort has been made to reduce, and in some cases eradicate altogether, gaps between interior components, creating an environment of clean, uncluttered luxury unprecedented in this class.
The new IS may be accessed through the standard Lexus Smart Keyless Entry system. With the key in his or her possession, the driver has only to touch the inner side of the door handle to unlock all four doors. Thereafter, the engine may be started with the simple touch of a button, the key remaining stored in the driverï¿½s pocket or purse throughout.
The most advanced satellite navigation system on the market is also available in the new Lexus IS. It boasts the worldï¿½s fastest route calculation technology, and incorporates a Bluetoothï¿½ hands-free system for compatible mobile phones and a voice recognition system, covering navigation, audio and climate functions.
The standard audio system, featuring 13 speakers and a 6-CD autochanger, will play MP3 and WMA files. The system also includes an auxiliary socket (installed in the console box) to enable a portable audio player to be plugged directly into the system. For customers wanting the best in the segment, Lexus offers a premium, 14 speaker, Mark Levinsonï¿½ surround sound system. This unit can also be specified with an in-dash 6-disc DVD player.
The sculpted, metal plate instrument binnacle features the next generation Optitron technology. Rev counter and speedometer needles feature a progressive illumination system that provides additional refinement.
The understated opulence of the next generation IS interior is further reinforced after dark through a comprehensive, ambience enhancing cabin lighting design. Cabin access is highlighted by puddle lights on the door mirrors and front footwell illumination, which may be combined with unique, blue LED scuff plates. Overall interior illumination is provided by front and rear seat overhead lighting, whilst front and rear reading lamps comprise 4-cluster, white LED spotlights, and the gear lever is illuminated by a single, low-intensity, white LED spotlight.
A wide range of bespoke equipment is also available, including an electric rear shade and the Lexus Parking Assist Monitor. The latter features a video camera mounted in the rear number plate surround which, operating via the centre LCD touch screen, projects a full colour rear view of the surroundings. Even greater manoeuvring accuracy is promoted by screen-generated guidelines which indicate the prospective path of the vehicle based on the current steering position.
ENGINES AND TRANSMISSIONS
The next generation Lexus IS is offered with a choice of two power plants:
2.2 LITRE DIESEL
Fulfilling the most exacting standards of Lexus refinement, the new 2,231 cc common-rail diesel unit is constructed entirely from aluminium to optimise weight saving and driving dynamics in the new IS, and includes several unique design features.
As befitting the marque, particular attention has been paid to reducing noise and vibration to levels unprecedented within a diesel engine. Integrating the first common-rail system with piezoelectric injectors in this displacement category, the new Lexus powerplant thus combines an exceptionally high injection pressure of 1,800 bar with the worldï¿½s lowest diesel engine compression ratio of 15.8:1. The marriage of up to 4 separate injections per cycle to an ultra-low compression ratio not only elicits exceptionally quiet combustion, but also a more efficient fuel burn, promoting significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions control.
Additionally, the adoption of a balancer shaft within the unit offers further noise reduction at higher revs, and the electrical activation of the variable nozzle turbocharger increases its efficiency whilst allowing for its operation at lower engine speeds, hence significantly improving low range torque.
The most powerful engine in its displacement category, the new diesel generates 130 kW / 177 DIN hp (175 SAE hp) at 3,600 rpm and an impressive 400 Nm / 295 lb.ft of torque between 2,000 and 2,400 rpm.
The new 2.2 litre diesel is equipped with Lexus Clean Diesel Technology. Key to this technology is the Diesel Particulate NOx Reduction (DPNR) 4-way catalytic converter; the only catalyst in the world that reduces NOx and PM (particulate matter simultaneously, surpassing EURO IV emissions requirements and making the next generation Lexus IS one of the cleanest diesel luxury sedans for combined values of NOx and PM emissions.
The new Lexus diesel engine is mated to an accurate and compact
2.5 LITRE V6 PETROL
The new, double overhead camshaft, 2,499 cc petrol engine, latest member of Lexusï¿½ new family of peerless V6s, combines a stoichiometric direct injection system with Dual VVT-i – a sophisticated development of Lexusï¿½ renowned variable valve timing system, now controlling both intake and exhaust valves – to achieve the optimum balance of high performance with low fuel consumption and emissions.
Featuring direct injection technology which affords this unit the highest injection pressure amongst petrol engines, the new V6 is one of the most powerful engines in its class. It develops 150 kW / 204 DIN hp (201 SAE hp) at 6,400 rpm and 250 Nm / 184 lb.ft of torque at 3,800 rpm.
The ultra-smooth Lexus V6 may be mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or an entirely new, 6-speed automatic transmission featuring sequential paddle-shift control. Activated by simply selecting ï¿½Sï¿½ in the gear lever gate, the gear shift paddles are mounted directly on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to modify steering wheel grip, even when cornering. In addition, gear range selection can also be performed through the conventional gear lever.
CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
With a body shell of exceptional torsional stiffness, featuring aluminium bonnet, suspension members and powerplants to reduce overall weight, the next generation IS is wider and lower than its competitors. The resultant low centre of gravity combines with a sophisticated suspension system and a new electric power steering to afford the new Lexus exceptional driving dynamics without compromising the marqueï¿½s legendary ride quality.
To the rear, a new multi-link system with toe control arms and an aluminium rear axle carrier offers excellent ride comfort allied to high cornering stability. New high performance shock absorbers with an increased piston diameter improve steering feel and body control, as well as reducing impact shock transmission through the bodywork.
The next generation IS features a brand new, speed-sensitive, electrically assisted power steering system, superior to comparable hydraulic systems in offering perceptible fuel savings, noise free operation and smooth linear feedback to the driver. In addition, a lower gear ratio provides an enhanced, more direct steering feel.
The new Lexus IS offers the highest content of sophisticated, active and passive safety technology in this segment, including Lexusï¿½ state-of-the-art Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, and an Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which can automatically match the speed of the vehicle in front and, once the road ahead is clear, accelerate back up to the selected cruising speed.
The Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM) employs brake pressure, steering angle, torque steer, yaw rate, G-force and vehicle speed sensors to fully integrate the new ISï¿½ Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) systems. VDIM has been designed to act on anticipation, before the limit of the vehicleï¿½s performance envelope has been reached, not only greatly improving active safety, but also promoting smoother ï¿½on-the-limitï¿½ vehicle behaviour through unobtrusive intervention and, hence, a more rewarding drive.
The new Pre-Crash Safety system (PCS) fitted to the IS 250 uses a millimetre-wave radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. Simultaneously, ECU software monitors vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate inputs, as well as the position, speed and expected travelling course of all detected obstacles, to determine, in advance, whether a collision is unavoidable. If the system determines that this is the case, it will pre-emptively activate the Pre-Crash seatbelt pretensioners and will prepare the emergency Brake Assist system for immediate action, once the brake pedal is depressed.
The new IS is fitted with a powerful new braking system featuring front and rear disc brakes. High friction pads significantly improve braking efficiency from high speeds, and a variable ratio brake pedal not only affords a more progressive feel, but also a more pleasant pedal feel on emergency braking.
The new IS comes with no less than 10 airbags fitted as standard, including two multi-stage Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) front airbags, full length curtain airbags and new, enlarged, front seat side airbags, 30% bigger than previous designs. Dual knee airbags (for driver and passenger) make a first appearance in this segment.
The new Lexusï¿½ bi-Xenon headlamp clusters also feature an Intelligent Adaptive Front-lighting System (I-AFS), which swivels one projector (covering both high and low beam function) through up to 15 degrees, helping to illuminate bends as the driver steers into them.
Credit: Lexus Europe