Text by ERIC TIPAN and photos by IÑIGO ROCES
Now is probably the best time to get your hands on the new Lexus IS after its launch with the usual Lexus Manila pomp and glitz, which included a mini runway and gorgeous models strutting in their glittery and stylized gowns that epitomized the stunning updates on arguably the brand’s most popular model.
Toyota President Satoru Suzuki gave the opening remarks to the audience, made up mostly of eager Lexus customers plus TV personality Johnny Litton, Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary, Ricky Alegre, Lexus SVP for Marketing & Lexus Brand Champion, Jose Ariel Arias, Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) president, Rommel Gutierrez, and members of the motoring media.
The new IS
Already endowed with a compact body made of sexily shaped sheet metal, Lexus concentrated on updating elements of the front fascia and the rear of the third-generation IS350 and IS350 F-Sport.
Since both models differ in handling and performance, they also get a slightly separate set of updates.
The IS350 gets the new, wider spindle grille but it is a milder version compared to the new one that the F-Sport gets. It comes with plain horizontal slots while the F-Sport uses the more exclusive three-dimensional F-mesh pattern that comes with a jet-black metallic coating.
Lexus pushes the top of the spindle grille higher and further back to blend perfectly with the reshaped hood and for more aerodynamic form and function.
Both get the large L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL) that is beautifully carved on the bumper, just under the LED headlamps that now come in a reshaped casing.
Bumpers are the same for both, although the F-Sport comes with visible air intakes on both sides to augment its reputation as the better handling and performing of the two models.
Not one model is favored over the other as far as rear updates are concerned. Each trim gets the same triple-layered L-shaped LED taillights that complement the new rear lip and rectangular chrome exhaust tips.
Inside, the 350 remains the same while the F-Sport gets minor upgrades, which include an upgraded multimedia display — from seven to 10.3 inches, new stitching on the meter hood, a redesigned speedometer, tachometer and analog clock, a fresh set of cup-holders, new and bigger leather palm rest with stitching, an ‘Enter’ button on the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) for ease of use, and a redesigned audio and climate control panel on the center dash for a better fit with other cabin components.
Performance and pricing
Both trims come with Toyota’s 2GR-FSE with D-4S twin injection fuel system. It is a 3.5L V6 engine with 317 PS and 378 Nm of torque mated with an eight-speed sequential shift automatic transmission.
F-Sport exclusives include Adaptive Variable Suspension, 18-inch wheels, F-Sport Aluminum interior trim, perforated sport leather seats, an F-Sport LCD Integrated Meter, a navigation system, a tilt and slide moon roof and a reverse monitor.
Aside from the nine existing paint schemes, Lexus has added Deep Blue Mica and Graphite Black Glass Flake to the current options along with introduction of new interior color Chateau to replace Moonstone and Ivory.
The IS350 is priced at P2.668-million while the F-Sport comes out to P3.198-million.
Message from the president
Lexus Manila President, Danny Isla, was beaming with pride as he spoke about the brand’s craftsmanship and unparalleled attention to detail in every aspect of the vehicle’s development.
It is this, plus the automaker’s tech savviness and their renowned customer service that has given Lexus the edge over its German counterparts in the Philippines.
“For almost eight years in the Philippines, you have heard us say that we are relentless in the pursuit of perfection in our products and in the way we interact with customers. We are humbled by the fact that, in just a few years, Lexus is now recognized as one of the stronger brands in the Philippine luxury market. We have been transparent in all our transactions and have remained fair to all. Our one-price policy applies to everyone and we are gratified that this policy was well accepted by the market,” said Isla.
Isla ended with a tease, saying that a slew of new models will be launched next year, including the undisputed highlight of the 6th Philippine International Motor Show, the Lexus LC500.