2016 Lexus IS 200t
Lexus always seems to be just a step behind the big boys in Germany, particularly in turbocharged, small-displacement engines. Today, however, it takes a step forward with the introduction of the turbocharged IS 200t.
Though it took some time, the boosted IS was a near certainty once Lexus introduced the 2015 Lexus NX 200t and its turbo four-cylinder. What made it even more obvious that the IS 200t was on its way was the fact that the aforementioned NX 200t had a pile more power than the base-level, V-6-powered IS 250.
Despite its healthy power ratings, the IS 200t is oddly slow in acceleration, as the 328i will beat it to 60 mph by a pretty wide margin. However, the world of luxury auto shopping isn’t always won at the drag strip. A lot of it depends on bang for the buck.
Does the Lexus IS 200t have what it takes to complete with the German powerhouse?
Continue reading my review to find out.
2016 Lexus IS 200t
Horsepower @ RPM:241 @ 5800
Torque @ RPM:258 @ 1650
0-60 time:6.8 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:143 mph
On the outside, the IS 200t looks identical to the rest of the IS lineup of sedans, save for the telltale “IS 200t” badges. That’s not a bad thing though, as the current-generation IS lineup is pretty fine looking. It is bold, but not over the top, and it looks sporty without taking away from its classiness.
Note: Regular Lexus IS interior shown.
Lexus didn’t make any mention of the IS 200t’s interior, so I suspect that it’ll be essentially the same as the current IS sedans. It’ll likely fall somewhere between the IS 250 and the IS 350 in terms of standard features.
Note: Lexus NX200t engine bay shown.
Under the hood is where the IS 200t makes its mark; it features the first turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a Lexus sedan. This 2.0-liter engine, which features a water-cooled intercooler, plays ball with Bimmer and Mercedes, with 241 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,650 and 4,400 rpm.
This 2.0-liter engine, which features a water-cooled intercooler, plays ball with Bimmer and Mercedes
For those keeping score at home, the current IS 250’s 2.5-liter V-6 produces just 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, which essentially makes this engine obsolete.
Thanks to D-4ST fuel injection, which combines direct injection and port injection, and VVT-iW that allows the engine to switch from the Otto cycle to the Atkinson cycle, this engine is not only powerful but also fuel efficient. In the U.K. it is rated at 40.4 mpg combined.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four mates to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift auto transmission that delivers the power to the rear wheels. This transmission also adjusts its shift points relative to the G forces in the car. This means the transmission can hold a gear going through a turn, giving you almost immediate power once you exit the bend.
Altogether, this amounts to a 0-to-62 mph time of seven seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. This makes it 1.1 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the IS 250 and 3 mph faster.
|Engine type||4 cylinders in-line, turbocharged petrol with aluminium alloy block and head|
|Valve mechanism||16 valve DOHC, Dual VVT-iW|
|Max. power||241 HP @ 5,800 RPM|
|Max. torque||258 LB-FT @ 1,650 – 4,400 RPM|
|Max. speed||143 MPH|
|0 – 62mph acceleration (sec)||7.0|
There is no pricing available for the IS 200t yet, but it is slated to hit dealers in the Europe in September 2015. There is no information on if the U.S. will get this new IS soon or not.
The BMW 328i is clearly the model that the new Lexus IS 200t has in its crosshairs. This Bimmer sedan comes standard with a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that produces 245 horsepower between 5,000 and 6,600 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter mates to a standard six-speed manual transmission that delivers the horses to the rear wheels. The result is a 5.9-second 0-to-62 time and a 155 mph top speed.
Check out our full review of the 2016 3 Series here.
In the U.K., the closest to the IS 200t that Mercedes-Benz has to offer is the C200. This model comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts down 184 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 221 pound-feet of torque between 1,200 rpm and 4,000 rpm. Standard on this model is a six-speed manual gearbox, but a seven-speed auto is available. This amounts to a 0-to-62 mph sprint in as few as 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 147 mph.
Though it may be a tad slower than the Lexus, it is still a Mercedes. That’s gotta stand for something in this comparison.
Check out our C-Class review here.
Though Lexus teased BMW about using turbocharged four-cylinder engines in its commercials, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Japanese automaker jumped on the bandwagon. When the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the BMW 328i dwarfs the IS 250’s V-6, you need to do something about it. Something is exactly what Lexus did with the new IS 200t. I have to give the automaker credit for launching this turbo four-cylinder, but it now needs to work on its acceleration, as the Bimmer still smokes it in a straight line.