At the celebration of 20 years Lexus in Belgium in Brussels, we had the occasion to have a brief spin behind the wheel of the “green” Diesel version of the popular Lexus business machine, the IS 200d. It comes in 2011 with a 150 hp version of its 2,2 litre four cylinder Diesel engine. We also drove that day the delightfully smooth and powerful IS 250 C with the six speed auto transmission and its refined V6 engine, of which more soon…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
A very frugal Diesel…
The Diesel version of the popular IS is made still “greener” by using state-of-the-art technology: the combustion chamber has been redesigned and new piëzo injectors are now used with increased common rail injection pressure from 180 to 200 MPa.
This led to further improvements in thermal efficiency, even in combination with one of world’s lowest Diesel compression ratios of a mere 15,7:1. The injection speed has been raised, which makes for shorter and more stable injection periods in combination with reduced injection nozzle diameters. This leads to a further reduced consumption with increased torque (+ 5,5 pct) at lower revs. The emissions are improved by making the cooler of the exhaust gas recirculation more efficient, and the particle filter has also been further optimised.
During our brief drive with the car, the unit proved impressively smooth and powerful, combined with a very subdued exhaust note. Indeed, inlet acoustics have been improved, and the engine is now hardly distinguishable from a gasoline powered unit. The ratios of the six speed manual gearbox are well spread, being a bit on the high side, but the engine is flexible enough to cope with this and allows effortless low speed driving in Brussels dense city traffic. Despite being frugal with 5,1 litre/100 km as average consumption and quite “clean” with only emitting 134 grams of CO2 per km, the 200d is by no means slow. There is ample torque and pulling power at very low revs, with 340 Nm being available between 2000 and 2800 rpm, and maximum power of 150 hp is already delivered at 3600 rpm. This makes the car sprint from 0 to 100 in merely 10,2 seconds and accelerate briskly further to a top speed of 205 kmh.
Further styling refinements…
In tune with the styling language of Lexus, “L-finesse” as it is called, some major changes were made at the front of the car, as the photo above here shows. The radiator grille is inserted more deeply and the radiator grille lines are more vertical, which emphasises the airstream into the engine compartment. The headlamps are also redesigned and now have smoked glass combined with daylight led illumination when the HID headlight option is chosen.
Rear lights were also redesigned and in the interior we find now more accentuated metal accents in the dial surrounds, making the ambiance and aura of the instruments and interior more sporting.
Speaking of sportiness, the IS will be available with a new and improved “F-Sport” version, with a more firm suspension, styling details and 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 tyres in front and 255/40 R18 at the rear.
But even in the standard livery we tested, the IS 200d is an agile, nimble and delightfully responsive compact sedan which will satisfy many drivers. We were again pleased by the excellent finish and the feel of quality and workmanship which pervades the car.
The Lexus buyer can choose between four powerful sound systems, of which more when we test the car, as it is an important “fleet” car and therefore certainly merits further attention on our site, which, as you know, now also sports a “fleet and business” column. Suffice to say that in Belgium, the IS 200d fleet pack comes at 30.900 Euros, the test car we drove had metallic colour finish, a Navigation Pack and a Comfort Pack, which brought the total sales tag – VAT included - to 35.595 Euros.
Koen dekoning, Public Relations Manager presenting 20 years of Lexus Belgium, the CT 200h which will be launched in February 2011 and last but not least the IS 200d...and Céline Geronnez, product communication, who coordinated the test drives for the day...
For the time being, we let you enjoy the photos we made on our brief test, and suggest you look soon on our pages for a full test report.
Hans Knol ten Bensel