Lexus confirms NZ pricing, specs for its BMW 3 Series fighter

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Words: Matthew Hansen
21 Jan 2021

Following its quiet local arrival last month, Lexus New Zealand has confirmed pricing and spec for its heavily updated IS compact sedan — a reshaped and more tech-laden version of the outgoing IS, with a modest price increase to match.

Seven models of IS are set to be offered locally, featuring three different powertrains. It starts with the $70,900 IS 300, which is equipped with a 2.0-litre turbofour producing 180kW of power, and paired to an 8-speed automatic. The $83,000 IS 300 Limited adds larger multi-spoke 19-inch wheels wrapped in better Potenza rubber, a card key, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio, and more.

The IS 300 line also has two hybrids; the IS 300h and IS 300h Limited. These feature a similar equipment split to the above, only this time each car is mated to a 2.5-litre petrol and hybrid set-up that’s good for 164kW of power and a 5.1L/100km economy claim. Each is priced from $76,200 and $88,300, respectively.

At the top of the tree are three F-Sport models; the $80,500 IS 300 F-Sport, $85,500 IS 300h F-Sport, and flagship $101,800 IS 350 F-Sport. The former pairing adds F-Sport styling (different 19-inch wheels, larger front vents, red leather upholstery, sport steering wheel, and more), although engines and power outputs are untouched.

As its name suggests, the IS 350 F-Sport gets a different engine entirely. It’s the only model offered with the Lexus 3.5-litre V6. Power is rated at 236kW/380Nm, with Lexus claiming a 0–100km/h of 5.9 seconds. Apart from a more sinister set of wheels, it also inherits a model-specific Torsen limited-slip differential, an additional performance rod to aid response, and a quicker-responding ‘Direct Shift’ 8-speed automatic.

Predictably, there’s been a slight price hike of around $1000 almost entirely across the board. Curiously, one model is now a touch cheaper; the $500 cheaper IS 300h Limited. Equally curious is that there’s one extra model (the IS 300h F-Sport). Nice to see a sedan line-up expand in these SUV-loving times.

It makes for a competitive list next to the recently refreshed BMW 3 Series, which starts at $76,100 for its 320i M Sport sedan, before extending to $99,800 for the 330d xDrive Touring. 

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