The IS300 2001 is Lexus’ answer to the popular BMW 3-Series. The new rear-wheel-drive IS300 features a longitudinally-mounted inline 3.0 litre six cylinder engine, standard 5-speed automatic transmission with E-Shift manual mode, four wheel independent suspension, and standard 6-disc in-dash CD player.
The new IS300 has rear-wheel-drive, a 3.0 litre inline six cylinder engine mounted longitudinally (the ES300 has a transversely-mounted V6 engine), a 5-speed automatic transmission, and a fully independent suspension. And like the BMW, the IS300 is designed to be a well-equipped luxury sedan that is also fun to drive.
The IS300’s wedge-shaped profile, long hood, short rear deck, and short front and rear overhangs provide similar proportions to a BMW 3-Series sedan - however, the IS300 has sharper, more aggressive body lines which give it a more angular look. Particularly distinctive are the IS300’s headlights and taillights. The High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and red taillights are covered under clear composite (plastic) covers, and at the rear, the IS300’s round taillights are surrounded by bright chromed trim - a very eye-catching design. Two additional round taillights are built into the trunklid.
The IS300’s engine was borrowed from the mid-size Lexus GS300. With 215 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 218 ft-lb. of torque at 3,800 rpm, the IS300’s 3.0 litre inline DOHC 24 valve six cylinder engine is comparable to BMW’s new 3.0 litre inline 6 cylinder engine which has 225 horsepower and 214 ft-lb. of torque at 3500 rpm.
The IS300’s powerplant employs Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) which provides both improved low-end torque and high rpm horsepower. This system is comparable to BMW’s double VANOS system.
The 3.0 litre engine is mated to a standard electronically-controlled 5-speed automatic transmission with ’E-Shift’ steering-wheel gear-selection controls. BMW offers their Steptronic electronic shift in the 3-Series as an option, as well as a manual transmission