With deliveries commencing mid-July, Lexus has opened its order books and revealed prices for their new third generation IS range.
Following the reveal of the redesigned cars at the Detroit motor show in January, a two car line-up has been announced for Europe, with a conventional 2.5 litre V6 petrol IS250 being joined by a 2.5 litre, four cylinder "full hybrid" IS300 - Lexus's first hybrid IS. Each version will be available in the four trim levels of SE, Luxury, F Sport and Premier.
Customers opting for the entry SE trim can expect dual zone climate control, smart entry, HID headlamps with dusk sensors, power folding mirrors and Lexus's own audio system with DAB and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Luxury adds 17" alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers and park assist, while the F Sport features two unique body colours (F Sport White and Ultra Blue) branded leather and stainless steel trinkets and an LF-A inspired instrument cluster.
The top model Premier includes 8-way adjustable leather heated seats (a £2,300 option for the F Sport), a 7" sat nav system (a £1,995 option for other models) and a 15 speaker Mark Levinson sound system. A sunroof can be added to the Premier models as a £1,000 option, while metallic and mica paints are a £610 option for all versions.
While the IS250 carries the six cylinder engine we've come to expect from a Lexus IS, the hybrid IS300h is powered by an ultra-efficient 2.5 litre, "Atkinson cycle" four cylinder.
Combined with the electric motor, the IS300h is expected to produce nearly 220hp while returning 99g/km CO2 on some models, allowing owners the zero rate VED.
Priced from: £26,495
Available from: July 2013
With BMW's F30 3-Series already in customer hands, the Lexus IS has its benchmark set before it even reaches our shores. With each generation the gap between the IS and 3 series narrows and the entry level hybrid option at zero VED offering a unique selling point, we look forward to seeing the saloon wars reignited this year.