TACH EXLUSIVE: Watch Lexus Unveil The All-New IS 300 Sport Sedan for 2001

7 January 2000

Lexus Unveils All-New IS 300 Sport Sedan for 2001 See the Press Conference for yourself
    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 -- Today at the Los Angeles Auto Show,
Lexus announced that it will expand its award-winning line of luxury
automobiles and sport utility vehicles with the all-new IS 300 compact sport
sedan, which arrives in July as a 2001 model.  With its 215-horsepower,
3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine and a sophisticated rear-wheel drive
chassis design, the IS 300 will challenge the notion that the best
high-performance compact sport sedans come only with European nameplates.

    Positioned below the Lexus GS luxury high-performance models, the IS 300
will compete with such "established" sport sedans as the Audi A4 and
BMW 3-series.  Pricing, to be announced later, will be extremely competitive
with those cars.  Lexus expects the IS 300 to enhance the brand's appeal among
buyers in the 25-40 age group -- "bust" and "trail" baby boomers in marketing
lingo.

    The introduction of the IS 300 will give Lexus two distinct "entry"
products to reach two different buyer groups.  The IS 300 will offer renowned
Lexus quality, craftsmanship, safety and attention to detail in a boldly
styled, fun-to-drive, high-performance package.  The highly successful
Lexus ES 300 entry-luxury sedan will continue to cater to buyers who prefer
elegant styling, a quiet ride and the benefits of front-wheel drive.

    "The new IS 300 will appeal to buyers who value athletic performance and
bold design over pure luxury," said Lexus Group Vice President and General
Manager Bryan Bergsteinsson.  "In many ways, the new IS 300 is close in
character to the GS 400, the performance leader of the Lexus line".

    High Performance, No Extra Charge
    Unlike competitive models that offer entry powertrains, the Lexus IS 300
will come standard with a 215-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine
that's more powerful than even the step-up engines in those cars.  In fact,
the IS 300 inherits its powertrain from the larger GS 300 sedan.  As in that
model, the engine employs Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to
optimize valve overlap throughout the engine's speed range (not just at one or
two set speeds).  VVT-i eliminates the traditional compromise between low-end
torque and high-rpm horsepower, giving the IS 300 the feel of having a
larger-displacement engine.  The IS 300 engine produces 218 lb.-ft. of peak
torque at 3,800 rpm.

    The IS 300 engine will be paired with an electronically controlled
five-speed automatic transmission with Formula One-inspired E-Shift
steering-wheel gear-selection controls.

    Sculpted, Toned Body

    Lexus designed the IS 300 to exude a taut, athletic appearance and
attitude while remaining true to its Lexus identity.  The tightly drawn,
sharp-edged lines of the IS 300 are like nothing else in the Lexus product
line, yet the grille and headlight detailing make the car immediately
identifiable as a Lexus.  A wedge profile, semi-fastback roofline and very
short overhangs combine to give the IS 300 a "condensed high performance"
stance.

    The sleek profile appeals not only to the eyes, but to the wind tunnel, as
well.  A low 0.28 coefficient of drag (Cd) ensures low wind noise and low fuel
consumption.  External detailing that highlights the angular lines includes
clear-lens taillights, standard High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights set
behind composite covers and a low-slung front airdam with built-in foglights.

    "The IS 300 is an emotional design, inside and out, and we know it's
different for Lexus," said Bergsteinsson.  "But, we're confident at least
25,000 people a year will love it and will buy it."

    Unique Chronograph Instrument Panel

    The Lexus IS 300 interior design complements its bold, purposeful exterior
and makes some competitors' "sport" packages look tame by comparison.
Interior surfaces blend modern and classic sports car touches, including
drilled aluminum pedals and stainless steel doorsill scuff plates with rubber
pads.  The gearshift and other interior accents feature a metallic finish.
The IS 300 includes supportive height-adjustable sport seats as standard
equipment, and customers can order the optional eight-way power combination
leather/suede-like seats.

    A unique, chronograph-style combination gauge cluster inspired by sport
watches sits within the speedometer and dominates the instrument panel.  While
giving the IS 300 a unique interior appearance, the chronograph instrument
cluster allowed designers to package eight instrument readouts within clear
view through the standard leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel.  The
cluster contains gauges for coolant temperature, battery level and average
fuel consumption.  Flanking the fuel level gauge and gearshift position indicator on the right.
    
  The sweeping, no-gimmick center console houses the standard automatic
climate control and high-performance stereo system, with large, easy-to-use
controls.  Along with the AM/FM/cassette head unit, the IS 300 comes standard
with an in-dash, single-feed six-disc CD changer.  The high-power system
includes front door mounted full-range speakers, titanium tweeters in the
A-pillar trim and 6" x 9" woofer and 2.5" mid-range coaxial units in the rear
shelf.

    Standard luxury features include cruise control, tilt steering column,
power windows with one-touch up/down for the driver, illuminated entry, heated
outside mirrors and a spacious trunk with large rear-seat pass-through.  The
standard remote entry system integrates the ignition key into the control fob,
which includes a trunk opener.  The IS 300 comes standard with a security
alarm and engine immobilizer system.

    Sportscar-Inspired Chassis Fine-Tuned On Competitors' Home Turf

    The bold exterior design of the IS 300 perfectly reflects the
high-performance platform under the sheet metal.  By locating the engine
center 2.2 inches behind the front wheel center, the battery behind the front
suspension tower and the fuel tank under the rear seat, the layout gives the
IS 300 a low "yawing moment of inertia," engineer-speak for responsive
performance.

    The Lexus IS 300 includes elements offered as extra-cost options on some
sport sedans.  The four-wheel independent suspension features a
double-wishbone layout in the front and rear, similar to the GS sedans.
Engineers developed the IS 300 suspension tuning on Germany's famous
Nurburgring racetrack, as well as on Australian and European roads.

    As befitting a high-performance sport sedan, four-wheel disc brakes
(ventilated front) provide ample stopping power.  The standard 16" x 6.5"
alloy wheels mount 205/55 R16 all-season performance tires.  Buyers seeking
even sharper response can choose the available 17" x 7"" alloy wheel package
with 215/45 R17 performance tires.  As specified by Lexus, these low-profile
tires enhance handling without significantly altering ride quality.

    Standard anti-lock brakes and full-range traction control (TRAC) help give
the IS 300 sure-footed performance, whether the road is dry or wet.  A
limited-slip differential is available.

    Lexus-Level Safety

    The IS 300 shares in the latest Lexus safety technology, starting with a
reinforced passenger cell protected by front and rear crumple-zone structures.
Inside, there are three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions as well
as dual front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags.  Mounting the side
airbags in the seats keeps them properly placed regardless of front seat
positions.

    The front seatbelts include pretensioners and height-adjustable anchors,
along with force limiters that help reduce upper torso injuries in a serious
collision.  Child restraint seat (CRS) top tether brackets comply with the
federal CRS Anchorage Point Regulation.  Daytime running lights help make the
IS 300 more visible to other drivers under diverse lighting and weather
conditions.  The trunk includes an easy-to-see-and-use emergency release
handle to help prevent entrapment.

    Standard Equipment
    -- 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, 215 horsepower, 218 lb.-ft. of
       torque
    -- 5-speed electronic automatic transmission with E-Shift steering wheel
       controls
    -- Front ventilated and rear solid disc brakes
    -- 16" x 6.5" alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tires
    -- Traction control (TRAC)
    -- Anti-lock brakes (ABS)
    -- Alarm with immobilizer, and in-key remote control
    -- Automatic climate control with dust/pollen filter
    -- Stainless steel sport scuff plates and aluminum sport pedals
    -- Cruise control
    -- High-power AM/FM/cassette stereo with eight speakers
    -- In dash, single-feed six-disc CD changer
    -- Illuminated entry
    -- Manual tilt steering column
    -- Power windows with driver's one-touch up/down
    -- High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights
    -- Daytime running lights
    -- Trunk pass-through

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