2008 Lexus IS 250 Sport Manual
By Bob Hume, 17th August 2008
I‘ve said it before and I‘ll keep saying it - I like Lexus. I‘ve test-driven the entire range, including the mind-bendingly advanced Hybrid-Drives. Lexus cars are fabulously well made, the cabins sumptuously fitted and their branding, perfect. Driving a Lexus is always a pleasure but until recently, they were only available with automatic transmission. Driving purists will tell you that automatic gearing partially removes driver involvement from the experience and that the manual option will always bring you closer to the car. I know what they‘re talking about; I drive so many automatic cars that sometimes it‘s refreshing to use a good manual shift.
The tested variant was a petrol engined IS250 Sport Manual, fitted with a capable and high-revving 2.5 Litre V6. The manual gearing is superb; the action is fluid and the selection accurate with enough of a mechanical feel to provide the necessary ’involved‘ feeling. The rev-counter surround lights up amber to signify the upper limit of the range and to suggest an up-change – a nifty touch.
The Lexus IS is a beautiful looking car; the way that the bodywork sweeps from front to rear without jarring the eye, yet provides enough form to keep you interested – all too often designers try to achieve this and finish up with an amorphous wedge. Lexus have achieved the perfect shape for a saloon - it‘s all clean lines and muscles.
The set up and handling of this car is second to none, I gave the IS a thorough testing, over the weekend and found it to be incredibly good fun as well as an extremely well evolved prestige car. and was thoroughly impressed with the controlled urgency of the power delivery and braking. Feedback from the steering and controls seemed millimetre-perfect and handling was exceptionally confident and predictable thanks to painstaking engineering. Okay, when I say “second to none” perhaps I was a bit short sighted...