2001 IS 300 New Car Test Drive
A new compact-class sedan may carry the elite badge of Lexus, primarily known for its cushy luxury cars, but it looks more like a high-strung rally car and behaves more like a road-hugging German touring sedan.
Called the IS 300, this sporty car with its slick skin and high-tech appointments marks a seventh model in the Lexus fleet, the first compact-size sports sedan from Lexus and the first Lexus targeted toward a younger audience that appreciates precise automotive engineering and likes to drive.
Spend a few miles playing with an IS 300 on a curvy road and it will delight and surprise you due to the agile handling characteristics coupled with best-in-class muscle. Reinforcing the technology beneath its skin is a sophisticated interior environment decorated with machined metallic finishes.
The Lexus IS 300 comes ashore with a window sticker that reflects a competitive pricing strategy; the sole edition is stocked with extensive standard equipment including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control devices, and the power-oriented paraphernalia of a luxury car. Add in its rear-wheel-drive orientation and the Lexus IS 300 offers a compelling alternative to the benchmark BMW 3 Series sedans.
The Lexus IS 300 debuts at $30,500 in a single trim outfitted with a high content of standard equipment and only a few options. Best-in-class power up to 215 horsepower flows readily from a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that links to a five-speed automatic transmission with auto-manual shifting from toggles on the steering wheel. By the end of the first production year, Lexus will also have a five-speed manual transmission.