Lexus IS 220d review | Technology | The Guardian

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Lexus IS 220d review | Technology | The Guardian
Lexus IS220

On the road: Lexus IS 220d

For some years now Lexus has been American for luxury. It doesn’t matter that the car is Japanese – part of Toyota – because it’s a brand that has had a major cultural impact in the States. If you’d been an American novelist in the last decade or so and you’d wanted to create a character who was successful, materially comfortable and, perhaps, a little complacent, you’d probably have them drive a Lexus.

Lexus IS 220d

Price £24,860

Top speed 135mph

Acceleration 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds

Average consumption 50.4mpg

CO2 emissions 148g/km

Eco rating 8/10

At the wheel Philip Roth

Bound for The Pulitzer prize

In a word Prosaic

Lexus IS220

As Don DeLillo writes in Underworld, I was driving a Lexus through a rustling wind. This is a car assembled in a work area that’s completely free of human presence… The system flows forever onward, automated to priestly nuance… It’s a culmination in a way, machines made and shaped outside the little splat of human speech. And this made my rented car a natural match for the landscape I was crossing.

If you say so, Don. No doubt wise to the literary significance, last year Lexus magazine commissioned a serial novella featuring a Lexus IS-F as a self-conscious character. Dude, it says at one point, you don’t get a ride like me to be sensible.

However, in Europe, home of Mercedes, BMW and Audi, writers showed little curiosity in the Lexus. Perhaps more troublingly for the Lexus marketing department, it wasn’t just British novelists who failed to embrace the car. Drivers weren’t that bothered, either.

This was in spite of a whole load of product placement in such key cultural shop fronts as EastEnders, Waking The Dead and Spooks. Nevertheless, it remained the car without an identity, which is why Alan Partridge also drove one. It was Partridge, of course, who memorably suggested that the plural of Lexus is Lexi, thus ensuring that Lexi could never be sexy.

What changed Lexus’s British fortunes was the introduction of the IS 220d in 2005. The reviews were mixed but, back in those days of endless credit, sales were healthy.

This updated version boasts a sizeable drop in carbon emissions, sustained performance and frozen prices. The one I drove came with cream leather upholstery which, in its magnificent impracticality, represents to me the very essence of luxury. Whether that concept can be reconciled with my daughter, an apple juice and a yogurt bar remains open to question.

Still, it’s a smooth ride, comfortable with a reassuring sense of power when called upon. It’s solid and well put together without being particularly attractive. In short, it’s another well-made executive saloon – and a slight improvement on its predecessor – which is perfectly nice to drive.

But you wouldn’t want to read a novel about one.

Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
Lexus IS220
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