THE Lexus brand is becoming more and more extroverted and one of its manifestations is the F Sport line.
F Sport refers to the line inspired by the high performance F division, which includes cars such as the IS F sports sedan and LF-A supercar. An F Sport model may not always have the same extreme performance but it will possess something distinctly different from the rest of the line-up. Take the Lexus IS250, for example. This sporty front engine, rear-wheel-drive compact sedan starts with the Executive variant, followed by Luxury. The top-of-the-line variant is the IS250 F Sport, with several styling and dynamic additions.
The IS250 has a distinctive nose with the trademark spindle grille and L-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights. The latter is independently located and serves like an "LED eyeliner" to further accentuate the IS250 F Sport's larger grille and front bumper, with its aerodynamic detailing.
Inside, the IS250 F Sport has the same good driving position, which is lowered by 20 mm compared with the previous IS, and offers an improved steering wheel angle. But unlike the other IS250s, the F Sport model has more supportive sports seats and a cool driver's meter with a moving centre ring.
The latter was lifted from the LFA supercar and allows the speedometer to slide to the right to reveal another screen that can display navigation, trip computer or audio information.
Other F Sport-specific trim includes the F Sport steering wheel, shift knob, metallic trim, and aluminium pedals and scuff plates.
One nice touch that all IS250s have, irrespective of trim level, is the climate control system's touch-sensitive, electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature. To adjust the temperature, merely slide your finger up or down the bar.
The IS250 has a 2.5-litre V6 engine that drives the rear wheels through a six-speed auto transmission. On the IS250 F Sport, the throttle response is sharper with stronger brakes.
To produce an even more dynamic drive, it is equipped with the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). The IS250's suspension uses double wishbone in front and multi-links behind and AVS offers two damper settings for it - Normal and SPORT S+. In the latter mode, there is greater body control and a keener response to steering input.
When the Drive Mode Select system is set to Sport S+, the standard SPORT S mode's enhanced engine output and gearshifts are coordinated with the AVS and electric power steering to sharpen handling and provide beefier steering feel.
To complement the cabin experience, the IS250 F Sport comes with an intake sound generator for a more sporty engine note.
As with everything in life though, the F Sport comes with a price. The IS250 F Sport costs nearly $30,000 more than the entry-level Executive version.
But if performance, handling and dynamic details are important, then it should be worth every extra dollar.
Lexus IS250 F Sport
Engine 2,500cc V6
Transmission 6-speed auto
Max power 208 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Max torque 252 Nm @ 4,800 rpm
0-100 kmh 8.1 secs
Top speed 200 kmh
CO2 emissions 213 g/km
Average OMV $53,000
Price $245,000 (with COE)
Distributor Borneo Motors
Tel 6631 1388