The new IS incorporates a number of standard features available only as options on many competitive vehicles, including leather-trimmed interior, power moonroof and SmartAccess with push-button start. In addition, driver and front passenger 10-way power seats are also standard on all IS models.
"The mission of the new IS was to be best in its class in terms of styling, performance and outstanding value," said Bob Carter, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "We improved upon a great car with significant enhancements in performance, fuel mileage, lower emissions and a level of luxury only found in a Lexus."
Manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) is $29,990 for the IS 250 rear-wheel drive with the six-speed manual transmission. The 2006 IS 250 includes $5,000 of additional standard equipment with only a $255 increase over the previous model. The IS 250 rear-wheel drive with six-speed sequential automatic transmission MSRP is $31,160 and includes Formula One-inspired steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The IS 250 all-wheel drive MSRP is $34,285 and, in addition to the above features, includes a perforated leather-trimmed interior upgrade with heated and ventilated front seats and wood trim.
The IS 350, the fastest sport sedan in the near luxury car segment, MSRP is $35,440. Its highly tuned 3.5-liter engine delivers a best-in-class 306 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque, resulting in the quickest zero-to-60 mph time of any competitor sport sedan.
The new IS exterior showcases additional standard features including projector beam headlamps, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, dual exhaust, LED tail lamps and brake lamps, and nighttime side-mirror puddle lamps that activate as you approach the car. Ten exterior colors are available and are matched with a choice of three interior colors.
The IS has an impressive lineup of standard interior features such as a 13-speaker premium audio system with an in-dash, six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary input for iPods or MP3 players, separate driver and passenger climate controls, HomeLinkï¿½, direct tire-pressure monitor, outboard rear-seat pretensioner seatbelts, steering wheel audio controls and Optitron gauges with personalized shift and speed settings.
Several innovations highlight the IS sport sedans' technical features. A new twin-chamber front-passenger airbag is designed to help manage impact energy by dispersing the impact of the accident between the head and shoulders. It is a part of the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) featuring eight standard airbags, including driver and front passenger knee airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags and front passenger airbags.
The IS sport sedans' exceptional performance characteristics begin with two new direct-injection V6 power plants with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and dual exhaust. Mated to either a manual or automatic six-speed transmission, the 2.5-liter V6 shows considerable improvement in fuel economy versus the last generation IS 300. The robust 3.5-liter V6, mated to the sequential six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, carves out class-leading performance with a zero-to-60 time of 5.3 seconds.
The integration of these new technologies contributes to segment-leading efficiency with the IS 350 obtaining an EPA-estimated combined fuel consumption rating of 24 mpg (21 mpg city/28 mpg highway); the IS 250 coming in with an estimated combined 27 mpg (24 mpg city/32 mpg highway) for the automatic model and an estimated combined 23 mpg (20 mpg/29 mpg highway) for the manual transmission; and the IS 250 AWD attaining an estimated combined 25 mpg (22 mpg city/28 mpg highway). All 2006 IS models carry the EPA's Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) certification.
All IS models come standard with electronic vehicle stability control, a feature which helps prevent loss of traction in a turn. While the IS 250 features Lexus' sophisticated Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), the IS 350 comes standard with Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), one of the most advanced active safety systems in the world. Operating in a rapid, smooth fashion, VDIM is less overt than other stability-control systems, allowing the driver to approach the sport sedan's handling limits before it transparently applies subtle adjustments to the throttle, brake and steering system to help the driver maintain vehicle control.
The latest, most advanced Lexus Navigation System will be offered as an option in the new IS with a higher-resolution Video Graphics Array (VGA) screen. Sharper graphics with 3-D shadow effects compliment enhanced color definition and a 32,000-color palate. The new fifth-generation navigation system adds voice-recognition destination input, freeway exit-lane guidance and a route-trace capability. Spanish has been added to the voice-prompt feature along with English and French when the user selects their language preference at system start-up.
The all-new IS 250 and IS 350 will be in Lexus dealer showrooms on October 14.
Credit: Lexus USA
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