Published on June 26th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Lexus IS range gets turbo 2.0-liter as the IS 200t
Perhaps a eulogy is in order. Lexus was the last of the luxury sedan manufacturers to have a naturally-aspirated engine in their entry level sedan segment, which was unique (though not necessarily competitive). Toyota Europe has just announced the launch of the IS 200t, which is said to go on sale by September 2015. It was an inevitable decision, what with the engine first coming in the NX 200t and slowly spreading through the Lexus range- and it’s the only way to stay competitive in terms of power and efficiency.
So we bid farewell to the lovely, silky smooth (albeit a little anemic) 2.5-litre V6 that powered the IS 250, and we usher in this punchy little 2.0-liter turbo motor. For those who aren’t familiar with this engine, it’s one of two new engines that Toyota is developing as part of their foray into forced-induction, with the other being a 1.5-litre for use at the lower end of the model range. Think water-to-air intercoolers, oil-squirters, coolant-suppressing for quicker warm up, direct injection- all the good stuff you’d expect on a modern engine.
It’s a pretty advanced engine, with an extremely responsive turbocharger system and a highly optimised head; outputs sit at 245 hp and 350 Nm of torque, kicking in at 1650 rpm and pulling until 4400 rpm. This seems to be the new industry standard for this segment, with the 328i, C250, and Infiniti Q50 all pushing the same kind of outputs. For reference, that’s 100 more Newton-metres of torque at idle than the IS 250 made at peak torque, and about 50 horses more.
The driveline also gets a little it of an update, with a new 8-speed transmission replacing the 6-speeder that has been employed by Lexus for the past few years. Apart from that, there’s little else on the IS model that has been changed- perhaps because the car is already a pretty slick machine as it is. The styling remains the same, the fantastic interior remains the same, and perhaps the only indication is the different badge on the back.
Again, this was an inevitable decision on the part of Lexus. It’s necessary in the pursuit of efficiency, and while the engineers at Toyota and Lexus have always denied the need to move to forced-induction systems, they have had to change their position in the face of tightening European emission regulations and shifting customer demands. Perhaps the only issue with the IS 250 has been solved with this turbocharged motor, and having experienced it in the NX 200t it’s safe to say that the refinement and quality is definitely up to Lexus standards. Expect to see this model on our shores late 2015 or early 2016.