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Lexus IS facelift (2011) revealed

Thu, 26 Aug 2010 00:00:00 -0700

The Lexus IS Range gets a facelift for 2011

The Lexus take on the BMW 3 Series – the Lexus IS range – has been with us pretty much unchanged for five years. So it’s certainly due a tweak or two plus it needs that certain little something many cars need at the moment – updates to conform with Euro 5 emissions which come in to play in January 2011.

Across the IS range there are styling changes to mark out the 2011 models. At the front there are the required LED daytime lights (but only if you’ve specced HID headlights)  together with tweaks to the bumper, grill and lights. There are also some new colour choices and alloy options and the options include new leather upholstery and heated seats, auto wipers and an auto-dip rear view mirror. Wow.

The biggest news is that the IS220d has been dropped to be replaced by the IS200d. Bizarrely, the IS200d actually gets the same engine as the IS220d, just de-tuned. That makes it drop a VED band and a BIK drop to 18% from the existing 21%. Fuel economy improves to 55.4mpg and emissions drop to 134g/km.

In the real world we’re not convinced you’ll see much difference in economy as you’re going to have to push a lot harder to get anywhere after the loss of 27bhp and an increase in 0-60mph from a relatively sprightly 8.9 seconds to a much more lethargic 10.2 seconds. And how much does this poorer performing IS200d cost? Exactly the same as it did as the IS220d – £24,350.

We understand the logic behind this move to a lower tune engine in the IS200d. Euro 5 has to be addressed and a drop in VED band and 3% off BIK is good. But I’d rather it had stayed where it was and have a more dynamic car with better performance. But then I’m not exactly your typical Lexus buyer.

Better not forget that Lexus has also played with the V6 in the IS250 and IS250C models which are now also Euro 5 compliant. In the V6 Lexus has managed to improve economy and reduce emissions without affecting power or torque. The IS250 now only comes as an auto. If only they’e pulled the same trick on the IS200d, which now looks the poor relation in this sector.

Finally Lexus has had a play with the F-Sport option to make it look more aggresive and much more like the ISF. Which could help the bog-standard IS200d with its paltry performance seem appealing. Or maybe not.

Still, they could have made the IS Range all hybrid. Which would have been a shame (even if it’s half expected). Because despite the gripes about the IS200d, the Lexus IS is a far from bad car.

By Cars UK