Lexus IS 300h - Hybrid Saloon Makes A Case Against Diesel

The Geneva Motor Show isn't just one of the most important motor shows of the year, it's also the one where manufacturers choose to display their "greenest" models.

This year, it's the place where Lexus is launching the new IS, available for the first time with a hybrid drivetrain.

In a market dominated by diesels, that's a brave move. But Lexus has the experience, and the new IS 300h may attract those customers who want economy, but aren't as keen on filling at the black pump.

With official CO2 emissions of 99 g/km and 65.7 mpg combined consumption, the IS 300h certainly makes a case for itself.

The rear-drive saloon is powered by a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine. Between this and a 141 bhp electric motor, total system power of 220 bhp is accessible. Sent through Lexus's e-CVT continuously-variable transmission (actually a planetary gearset, rather than a traditional belt-type CVT), it'll reach 62 mph in 8.3 seconds and go on to 125 mph.

Lexus IS 300h side

For comparison, that's cleaner and quicker than the most economical BMW 3-Series, the 316d. Fueled with more expensive diesel, that car gets to 62 mph in 10.8 seconds, manages 64.2 mpg and breathes out 117 g/km of CO2 - so you can see the Lexus hybrid's appeal.

If other Lexus hybrids are anything to go by though, the IS 300h is likely to be more expensive than the equivalent diesel, swinging the balance back towards its more traditional rivals.

That 99 g/km figure is only available in SE trim too, with 16-inch wheels. F-Sport and Premier grades are also available, each emitting 109 g/km of CO2 - though at this level, company car and VED tax rates are still low.

For the more eco-conscious buyers, oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter are also far smaller on hybrids than they are for diesels.

Full details for the IS 300h and other IS models will be available closer to the car's launch.

Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: Order now, deliveries July

Lexus IS 300h rear


If Lexus gets the pricing right, the IS 300h could be a convincing contender to the class-leading diesels. It's cleaner and quicker than the class norm, and while the e-CVT gearbox will be an acquired taste, performance should be fairly effortless.
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