Lexus Introduces Two New IS 300 Models in Detroit


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IS 300 SportCross and New Five-Speed Manual Transmission Sport Sedan to Arrive in Summer


Watch the entire introduction from Detroit Click here DETROIT, Jan. 9 Lexus today announced two new versions of the IS 300 for 2002: the versatile IS 300 SportCross and an IS 300 sedan featuring a five-speed manual transmission. Both new IS 300 models were introduced at the North American International Auto Show and will be available in August 2001. The Lexus IS 300 sedan, currently on the market, offers a compelling challenge to European sport sedans, packaging a high-performance powertrain, rear-drive chassis layout, and a sports-car inspired interior in a taut, wedge-shaped body. Lexus will offer the 2002 IS 300 sedan equipped with the five-speed manual transmission as a separate model that will also feature slightly firmer suspension tuning than the automatic model. The crisply shifting five-speed manual transmission will satisfy drivers who prefer more control over the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine's broad power band. The IS 300 engine, also shared with the larger GS 300 performance/luxury sedan, produces 215 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 218 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 3,800 rpm. The engine delivers both high-revving power and strong low-end and mid-range torque, due in large part to Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). Lexus expects to sell 1,600 in the shortened 2001 year with a projected 4,800 units sold in the following years. Younger Buyers "When we introduced the IS 300 for 2001, we promised that we'd offer a manual transmission model for 2002, and we're fulfilling that promise," says Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Denny Clements. "The IS 300 has been attracting younger customers to Lexus showrooms, and many of them have been waiting for a manual transmission." Lexus also expects the 2002 IS 300 SportCross to appeal to younger customers, many of whom have small families or need room for outdoor activities, such as mountain biking. The SportCross has the same sporty performance as the sedan and combines a unique, European-influenced design with the bonus of greater utility from a five-door body style. The rear tailgate, split fold-down rear seatback and fold-down front passenger seatback allow the SportCross to carry long or oddly shaped items that might not fit easily in conventional sedans. Because it is based closely on the IS 300 sedan, the IS 300 SportCross avoids some of the typical styling cues that define conventional wagons. "Like the IS 300 sedan, the IS 300 SportCross was initially designed for the European market, and there is a sizeable -- and vocal -- portion of our customer base that appreciates that we've brought these models to the U.S. with no compromise in design or performance," says Clements. Lexus plans initially to sell approximately 5,000 SportCross models annually. Not A Sedan, Not A Wagon -- Something In Between The Lexus IS 300 SportCross blurs the lines between body types, offering a new silhouette that admittedly places unique design ahead of maximum utility. "We wanted to preserve the image of dynamic performance with the IS 300 SportCross," says Nobuaki Katayama, chief engineer for the car. "We felt that a conventional wagon body would detract from that image, and on the other hand we also knew that IS 300 customers were less inclined to require the full utility of a boxy shape." The IS 300 SportCross uses the hood, front fenders and front doors from the IS 300 sedan. The roof, rear quarter panels, rear doors and rear side glass are all unique to the SportCross. The tailgate area shares no parts with the sedan, but does feature the same taillight design. In addition, the front fascia is different from the sedan. A subtle rear roof spoiler adds a touch of flair to the car's profile. Sharing the same engine and five-speed automatic transmission as the IS 300 sedan, the SportCross also features the racing-inspired E-Shift steering wheel shifting controls, as featured on the IS 300 and larger GS series performance/luxury sedans. The five-speed manual transmission will not be available in the IS 300 SportCross. The Utility Bonus The IS 300 SportCross includes several features that will help owners get the most from its expanded utility, including a tonneau cover to keep valuables out of site, a luggage box, a cargo area "false floor" to keep small items hidden, plus a folding passenger seat with a seatback table and rear power outlet for "tailgating." A rear wiper/washer will be standard equipment. Taking advantage of the extra room in the cargo area of the SportCross, Lexus upgraded this model's audio system to nine speakers from the sedan's eight. New Safety Technology for 2002 Like the IS 300 sedan, the IS 300 SportCross will be offered in one high- content equipment level, with just a few options and option packages available. All IS 300 models for 2002 will benefit from new safety technology and interior detail enhancements. The standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) already includes Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and for 2002 will add the Lexus Brake Assist feature. Brake Assist can determine emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped hard enough on the brake pedal, supplement the applied braking power. New standard side curtain airbags for 2002 offer supplemental head protection for front occupants in side impacts. (Front seat-mounted side airbags are already standard on the 2001 IS 300.) The 2002 IS 300 SportCross and the IS 300 automatic sedan also will offer the Lexus Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) system as an option in addition to the standard full-range traction control (TRAC). A Torsen torque-sensing limited- slip differential comes with the VSC option and will remain a separate option for the manual-transmission sedan. Inside, all IS 300 models for 2002 get a new electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror with integral compass as standard equipment. An optional DVD-based satellite navigation system also will be available. All 2002 IS 300 models will continue to offer the long roster of standard equipment that makes the 2001 model such a good value in its segment: 17-inch wheels, low-profile performance-tread tires, automatic climate control, high- intensity discharge (HID) headlights, and a premium, high-power audio system with both a cassette player and a single-feed, in-dash, six-disc CD changer. A New Look for Lexus While the tightly drawn, sharp-edged lines of all three IS 300 models are like nothing else in the Lexus product line, the grille and headlight detailing make the car immediately identifiable as a Lexus. Interior surfaces blend modern and classic sports car touches, including drilled aluminum pedals and stainless steel doorsill scuff plates with rubber pads. The IS 300 includes supportive height-adjustable sport seats as standard equipment. A chronograph-style combination gauge cluster inspired by sports watches sits within the speedometer and gives the IS 300 a unique interior appearance. The chronograph cluster allowed designers to package eight instrument readouts within clear view through the standard leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel. The instrument panel also includes LCD-type digital odometer and trip meter displays and an exterior temperature gauge. Every IS 300 will come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 month/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.

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