Produced as a direct competitor to the luxury sport sedans of the leading European luxury marques, the Lexus IS 300 was designed with a greater performance emphasis typically seen on Japanese luxury vehicles.
At first glance, it looks like a typical Euro-brand car like the Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the 3 series of BMW. But as I began testing the unit, I felt a stronger kinship with the car. The moment you sink into its premium semi-aniline leather, you’ll begin to forget all your cares.
Compared to its previous model, the Lexus IS 300 shows no mercy towards its rivals. It has an elegant cabin equipped with state-of-the-art, upscale features. The center console offers a lot of functionality, but manages to remain uncluttered.
Air-conditioning is superb—thanks to the dual-zone automatic air-con system that maintains temperature. To complete its interior refinement, the IS 300 also offers power-seat adjustment and power lumbar support for both driver and passenger.
The IS 300 has a rear-view mirror equipped with electro-chromic auto dimming and a power tilt/telescopic steering column. What’s more, it has the Lexus premium audio system that features a 6-disc, in-dash CD player and 13-speaker system for impeccable sound that rivals any cinema. (This was the feature I loved the most!)
The luxurious cabin features intelligently designed displays and controls that are easy to read and use. One good example is the multi-information display located on the speedometer. This versatile feature integrates a trip computer that provides outside temperature, driving range, average fuel consumption, and average speed. The display also includes an oil maintenance reminder and system warnings, all arranged in a single convenient location.
At the heart of the IS 300 is a 3GR-FE 3-liter V6 engine with dual variable valve timing (VVT-i) that boasts an impressive high output per liter and a very good power-to-weight ratio.
Speed addicts will have no reason to be bored, as the engine can rev more acceleration through paddle shifters that can be turned manually or automatically.
I have good news to all motorists—the car consumed a measly 10 kilometers to the liter in three days of city driving. Not exactly thrifty, but I think that is fair for a V6 engine.
Handling was pretty impressive, especially at tight corners. The IS 300 has good traction and stability control that keeps the suspension balanced (thanks to double wishbone and multi-link suspension). Safety is one of the key elements of this vehicle. The Euro-4 top notch possesses Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and help correct the situation with a combination of braking and throttle control.
Bad news is that buyers need to earn at least Php. 200,000 per month from his salary just to buy this vehicle as the IS 300 is priced at staggering Php. 2.948 million.
In all aspects, the IS 300 provides sporty yet sophisticated driving. With its excellent engine, fine handling, and impeccable build quality, I think driving the Lexus IS 300 is a worth entry in the sports-sedan market.
What do you think?
- Impressive acceleration
- Precise steering
- Safety features
- Premium drive
- State-of-the-art interiors
- Cramped rear seat