Being enjoyable to drive and being environmentally-friendly is almost always on the opposite sides of the same spectrum. These are opposites, as a thrilling drive often comes at the expense of being green, and vice versa.
Difficult as it may be to find something that can satisfy both, there is one automobile company that has been doing just that: Lexus.
For over 10 years now Lexus Philippines has been offering hybrids in their lineup, and the latest evolution is the new IS 300h: the brand's 4-door, rear-wheel drive compact luxury executive car.
When it comes to driving pleasure, the IS or Intelligent Sport has been the standard-setter for the Lexus lineup; the car for successful individuals that are moving up in the business world, but really enjoy driving. There have been many versions with many engine types and improvements over the decades, up to and including a special IS F high-performance variant.
The new IS, however, aims even higher than any previous IS before it. This Lexus is the culmination of all the lessons learned over many generations. The new look is the latest expression of the design philosophy of Lexus. That larger spindle grille, the way the panels were shaped, and other details like the sharper LED headlamps and rear lightbar all speak of a car that is ready for an exciting drive. And while this may be a four-door, the profile is that of a low coupe that wants to hug the road whether it's long and straight or curves around the mountains.
The interior space has been crafted to the highest standards set by the Takumis at Lexus, where no detail is too little to be focused on nor a gap that exists to be paid attention to getting perfect. The quiet and luxurious space is ready to entice you to drive, and features a lot of upgrades in technology, up to and including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrated into the 10.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system.
As before, there are IS variants to suit the needs and desires of clients. Customers can choose the IS 350 F Sport with its punchy 3.5L V6, but there's also the option for the IS 300h Premier with Lexus Hybrid Drive. Just recently, Lexus also introduced a more affordable IS 300h variant, and it retails for PHP 2,978,000. Efficient and enjoyable luxury driving can be had for less than PHP 3 million.
Lexus Hybrid Drive is a total system that has a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the E-CVT, and an electric motor drive unit seamlessly integrated. The system is intended to maximize the benefits of electric drive such as smoothness, quietness, torque, and more, and the advantages of internal combustion such as not needing to charge because the system charges itself. This hybrid system means exceptional fuel economy for a vehicle of this size, reduced emissions, enhanced power, and many more.
What's truly new and special is something called Lexus Driving Signature, and it's something that every driver that gets behind the wheel of the new Lexus IS, be it the fast and fun IS 300 F Sport or the elegant IS 300h. Yes, each IS -including the hybrid- has a drive that has been elevated even further, and it's a result of the testing that Lexus has done over the years.
While many carmakers head on over to the Nurburgring to test their vehicles, Lexus now has their own version in Japan. The place is called Shimoyama, and it's a brand new facility where they took the new IS and gave it the drive that it deserves.
Lexus sharpened the IS for cornering and gave it a steering system that can excite by the way it feels just as well as it can give you a comfortable drive. They tuned the suspension and the body to deliver the surefootedness you demand around the bends. They tuned the hybrid power unit to produce a combined 220 horsepower and the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 8.7 seconds, and seamlessly work together. That's what a hybrid is about: harmony.
The new Lexus IS, from the IS 350 F Sport to the IS 300h self-charging hybrid, is all about bringing together the lessons from the past and drive into the future with a total automobile experience that isn't just luxurious, but is designed to make you smile at first drive.
That's the essence of Lexus Driving Signature, and you can feel all this and more with the new Lexus IS 300h.