Lexus IS Luxury Sport Sedans Gain Further Refinement for 2008

August 29, 2007
2008 Lexus IS 350 15
August 29, 2007 – Torrance, CA - Lexus continues to refine its successful second-generation IS entry luxury sport sedan models, the IS 250 and IS 350, with the kind of continuous improvement that has been a brand hallmark since its inception. Developments for 2008 enhance the driving experience and convenience.

"The second-generation IS has been an outstanding success for the brand, reaffirming our two-car strategy in the entry luxury segment along with the ES 350," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The IS provides the luxury and comfort expected from Lexus, yet with a distinctly sporty nature that springs directly from its core engineering."

Distinguished by the brand's striking L-finesse design, the V6-powered Lexus IS models offer one of the most compelling packages of performance, luxury and safety features in their highly competitive segment. Among luxury brands, Lexus alone offers a unique choice in the entry-luxury segment: The rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive IS models emphasize the brand's sportier side, and the front-wheel-drive ES 350 is focused on ultimate comfort. The IS models account for about 40 percent of Lexus car sales in this segment, with the ES 350 taking 60 percent.

The 2008 IS line offers three models: The rear-wheel-drive IS 350 is powered by a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 and can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.3 seconds; the IS 250 is powered by a 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6; and it is available as either a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive model.

The IS rear-wheel-drive models offer the sporty "X Package" option that combines sport suspension and five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels with a boldly styled front-lip spoiler and sport pedals. A Premium Plus Package that is optional for all models includes perforated leather seating trim and heated and ventilated front seats. The comprehensive "Sport" and "Luxury" option packages also including sport suspension. Standard upholstery includes heated, leather-trimmed seats.

Stand-Out Design, Smooth Demeanor

The Lexus IS sedans show a strong family resemblance to the Lexus GS models while establishing their own distinctively sporty identity. A notably wide stance and long wheelbase, coupled with tightly drawn bodywork, give the IS an athletic, road-hungry yet sophisticated style. Carefully shaped body contours, a subtle ducktail-curved trunk lid and "air kick" tail lamps contribute to a low 0.28 coefficient of drag (Cd).

The sound of powerful V6 engines will resonate with driving enthusiasts, yet all vehicle occupants will appreciate Lexus' ability to minimize undesirable noises. A highly rigid body structure is the starting point for controlling noise intrusion. Strategically placed noise-suppression materials, including special window and door seals, acoustic windshield glass and asphalt sheeting, take over from there. No detail has been overlooked, down to the sound-absorbing sun visors.

High-Technology Safety and Luxury

The brand's focus on safety for the IS models includes standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) for the IS 250, while the IS 350 is exclusively equipped with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, an advanced technology that integrates all of the car's dynamic-control systems. All IS models feature eight standard airbags, and it was the first car in its segment to offer an optional pre-collision system that can help reduce collision damage.

The Lexus IS also offers premium, high-technology options associated with prestige-luxury models, such as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS); heated and ventilated front seats; a power-tilt-telescope steering wheel and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound audio system.

Powerful V6 Engine Family

The IS 250's 2.5-liter V6 engine delivers 204 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 185 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. The IS 350's 3.5-liter V6 delivers 306 horsepower at 6,400 RPM along with 277 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. Both engines use aluminum cylinder blocks and heads and employ dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts.

A direct-type fuel-injection system provides a cooling effect in the cylinders, enabling the high compression needed to extract maximum energy from the fuel. Both engines benefit as well from reduced internal friction via chain-driven camshafts and roller-rocker arms. Aside from its larger displacement, the 3.5-liter V6 differs chiefly in that it augments the direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors. In light- and medium-load conditions, these additional injectors help produce a precise burn, increasing power and efficiency. A dual-exhaust system reduces backpressure at higher engine speeds. All 2008 Lexus IS models carry the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) certification.

An advanced six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard on the IS 350 and the IS 250 the all-wheel drive model. The rear-wheel drive IS 250 comes standard with a crisp-shifting six-speed manual transmission, with the paddle-shift automatic offered as an option.

Driver-Focused Dynamics

The Lexus IS was engineered to provide for a sporty driving experience. Its double-wishbone front suspension features a high-mount upper control arm, and the lower arm uses a large, liquid-filled bushing at the rear to minimize vibration and harshness. The multilink rear suspension emphasizes precise control of geometry in all dynamic conditions, helping make the Lexus IS sport sedans ultra-stable for confident driving. High-strength steel and aluminum suspension components reduce unsprung weight, helping the IS remain stable on bumpy surfaces and improving ride comfort.

Monotube shock absorbers employ larger pistons than conventional twin-tube shocks to provide superior damping-force response and control, especially at low piston speeds. The sophisticated shock-absorber design utilizes multi-leaf linear control valves to help improve damping force, plus rebound springs that offer improved body control without degrading ride comfort. Available sport suspension with 18-inch wheels further enhances handling response.

In the IS 250, VSC helps to control loss of lateral traction while cornering by using throttle intervention and applying individual wheel braking to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading.

The IS 350 is equipped with Lexus' innovative VDIM system to provide superior handling dynamics and traction control. Combining input from a variety of sensors, VDIM is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and help correct the situation with a combination of braking and throttle control in a way that is essentially transparent to the driver. VDIM integration provides precise management for Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque via the electronically controlled throttle. The driver can disengage VSC via the "Trac off" switch, which can be desirable in certain situations.

All-Wheel Drive for All-Weather Performance

The 2008 IS 250's available all-wheel-drive system helps to enhance handling in diverse driving conditions. A planetary-gear center differential and a wet-type multi-disc clutch control front-to-rear power distribution. The system normally sends 70 percent of available power to the rear wheels to provide the traditional performance advantages of a rear-drive car and will vary the torque-split ratio from 30:70 to 50:50 in response to driving conditions and driver input. The AWD system's electronic-control strategy takes inputs such as steering and throttle angle from driver activity combined with vehicle signals from wheel speed and yaw rate sensors.

Advanced Steering, Powerful Brakes

The Electric Power Steering (EPS) helps to provide linear steering response, precise control and excellent straight-line stability. The vehicle-speed-sensitive system eliminates parasitic loss from a hydraulic pump, and reduces weight and complexity.
The IS 250 features ventilated front and solid rear rotors; the IS 350 steps up to larger ventilated front and rear rotors. In addition, the IS 350's aluminum four-piston front calipers aid in heat dissipation and stopping power and reduce unsprung weight.

Standard all-season performance tires measure 225/45R17 in front and 245/45R17 for the rear (225/45R17 on AWD). Available as a stand-alone option or as part of the Sport Suspension, summer 225/40R18 front tires and 255/40R18 rear tires reward the enthusiast driver with even higher cornering grip.

Comfort Through Convenience

The IS models' luxurious cabin features intelligently designed displays and controls that are easy to see and use. Bright, clear Optitron gauges and smartly integrated metallic trim, or available Bird's-eye Maple trim, help create an elegant yet sporty environment. Premium interior materials and meticulous attention to detail convey the Lexus identity.

Standard amenities include 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat vents and a pollen filter (plus a smog filter on IS 350), power moonroof with one-touch open/close and seven open-position settings, manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, all power windows with automatic up/down feature and jam protection, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Lexus offers a refreshing approach to designing controls as compared to some competitors that are making controls more complex to learn and distracting to use. One example is the multi-information display located in the speedometer. This versatile feature integrates a trip computer that provides outside temperature, driving range, average fuel consumption, average fuel consumption since refueling (per tank), current fuel consumption, and average speed. The display also includes an oil-maintenance reminder and system warnings, all grouped in one convenient location.

Additional features are added to the multi-information display depending on selected options. When an IS model is equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the display can show a car icon with the selected following distance. When equipped with Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), the display can show a car icon with the location and distance of objects detected near the bumpers. A multi-function switch allows the driver to set an adjustable speed warning and an adjustable rpm shift light in the tachometer. The SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button-start ignition allows the driver to keep the access fob in a pocket or purse. The standard HomeLink® programmable garage door opener also operates home security devices and other systems.

The Safety of a Lexus

Passive-safety technology in the Lexus IS begins with a reinforced passenger compartment that helps protect the occupants with front- and rear-crush structures. Seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters are used for the front and outboard rear seats.

In addition to the dual-front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags, the Lexus Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) for the IS includes side-curtain airbags that extend from A-pillar to C-pillar, and a knee airbag for both the driver and the front passenger.

Advanced dual-stage front airbags are designed to deploy at one of two speeds, according to impact force. The driver's front airbag also includes an extra low stage designed to deploy based, in part, on the seat's position on its track. The front passenger's airbag features two chambers, creating an indentation in the center impact area that helps to disperse the force of the bag.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce collision damage. The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. PCS relies on the radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer with sensor inputs from vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate is designed to determine whether a collision is unavoidable. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.

Seeing with Light and Sound

The available High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) helps to illuminate a curve as the driver steers into it. The rear back-up camera, included with the optional navigation system, automatically projects an image of what its lens can detect behind the car onto the navigation screen when the transmission is in reverse gear.

The optional Intuitive Park Assist (IPA) system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car's front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display within the speedometer. When any IS model is also equipped with the optional navigation system, information on objects detected is shown in greater detail on that system's seven-inch touch screen display.

The Sound of Lexus Luxury

The standard Lexus Premium Audio System features a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, 194 watts of total power and 13 speakers. Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) maintains consistent sound levels at varying vehicle speeds. A convenient mini-jack in the center console enables connection of an iPod® or other music player.

Like all Lexus models, the IS offers its own version of the Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio system, which is available as a stand-alone option or in conjunction with the optional DVD touch-screen navigation system. This 14-speaker audio system features discrete 5.1 multi-channel playback with 7.1-channel speaker architecture. Its 10 amplifier channels provide 300 watts total output at 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD).

The Mark Levinson®Surround Sound system plays conventional CDs and DVDs, plus MP3/WMA-formatted CDs. DVD movies can be viewed on the optional navigation system's color seven-inch touch screen when the parking brake is engaged.

Premium Protection

All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.

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