The Sleek and Stylish: LEXUS IS250

The Lexus IS250 has received positive reviews for its luxurious features, smooth ride, and overall reliability. Experts have praised its comfortable cabin, advanced safety features, and refined performance.

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The Lexus IS250 is a compact executive car sold by Lexus, a luxury division of Toyota since 1999. The IS was originally sold under the Toyota Altezza nameplate in Japan in 1998 (the word Altezza is an Italian word which means ‘height’ or ‘highness’).

The all-new IS lineup includes:

Lexus IS 300:
Lexus IS 350
Lexus IS 500

History and Trims of Lexus IS250

First Generation:

LEXUS IS250 1st gen

The engineers wanted to create a luxury sports sedan that could compete with the leading European brands. They put a lot of emphasis on performance, which was a bit different from what we typically saw in Japanese luxury vehicles at that time. Nobuaki Katayama, also responsible for the AE86 project, led the engineering work from 1994 to 1998. The design work for the Lexus IS was done by Tomoyasu Nishi in 1995 and was finalized in 1996. It’s interesting that it was filed under a patent number at the Japan Patent Office. When the Lexus IS was first introduced in Japan, it was exclusively available at Toyota Netz Stores. It wasn’t until 2006 that Lexus was officially introduced in Japan. In Japan, the AS200 Altezza sedan and AS300 Altezza Gita were equivalent to the Lexus IS 200 and IS 300 models sold in other markets. The Altezza Gita, a hatchback-station wagon version, was known as the Lexus IS Sport-Cross in the US and Europe. By the way, the AS300 Altezza Gita was the only Altezza model with the 2JZ-GE engine, also available in the Lexus IS300 Sedan in export markets. The Lexus has primarily targeted North America, Australia, and Europe markets. Its sleek design, luxurious features, and impressive performance made it popular. It’s amazing how the Lexus IS created a niche for itself in the competitive luxury sports sedan segment.


The Lexus IS 200 was introduced in 1998 with two different models: the AS200 and the RS200 sedans. These compact cars were built on a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform, which allowed Japanese buyers to save on taxes based on engine displacement. A 2.0-litre straight-six engine powered the AS200, while the RS200 had a 2.0-litre straight-four engine. The AS200 came with a standard six-speed manual transmission with an optional four-speed automatic. On the other hand, the RS200 had a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with a five-speed automatic as an option. The different engine sizes allowed buyers to choose their annual road tax obligation. Additionally, the more significant engine option came with more standard equipment.


In July 2000, Lexus introduced the AS300 model, which was available as a hatchback or station wagon. It featured a powerful 3.0-litre 2JZ-GE straight-six engine. The AS300 came with either rear or all-wheel drive, depending on the variant. The rear-wheel drive version was called the Gita wagon (chassis code JCE10), while the all-wheel drive version was known as the 4WD Gita wagon (chassis code JCE15). The AS300 was only available with an automatic transmission. The rear-wheel drive Gita wagon had a five-speed automatic, while the 4WD Gita wagon had a four-speed automatic. In the United States, the IS 300 sedan was introduced in July 2000 as a 2001 model, and the wagon debuted in 2001 as a 2002 model. Both models were equipped with the same 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. However, the 2.0-litre six-cylinder engine was not available in the US. In Europe, the IS 300 joined the existing IS 200 in the model lineup. Initially, all IS 300 models had only a five-speed automatic transmission. In 2001, a manual transmission option was introduced for the IS 300 in the US, but it was not available for the Sport-Cross wagon. This was because the six-speed manual from the 2-litre model was not designed to handle the torque produced by the larger 2JZ-GE engine. Lexus aimed for 15 percent of American IS 300 sales to be manual transmission models. Visually, the European IS 200 Sport and the IS 300 exteriors were very similar. The main differences were the boot logo and the fact that the larger-engine IS 300 initially had clear front indicators, which were later used throughout the range.


2003 the IS line got a little makeover for the 2004 model year. The exterior got changes like a new wheel design, updated fog lamps, and sleek trim for the headlamps and taillamps. They added a cool memory function for the driver seat, a maintenance indicator lamp, automatic door locking, and a handy storage compartment on the dash (for models without the navigation system). They also spruced up the trim highlights. This super cool concept model called the Lexus IS 430 was shown at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2003. It had a powerful 4.3-litre V8 engine from the GS 430. But unfortunately, it was just a one-off prototype, and they didn’t have plans to put it into production.

Second Generation:

LEXUS IS250 2nd gen

The second generation of the IS was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005 as a pre-production model. Then, the production version debuted at the 2005 New York International Auto Show in April. They started selling the sedan worldwide in September and October 2005 as a 2006 model. In Japan, they said goodbye to the Toyota Altezza name and introduced it as a Lexus. And they also decided to discontinue the Sport-Cross station wagon version altogether.


In 2008, the IS line got a facelift and some cool upgrades. They fine-tuned the suspension and steering for better stability and control. And after three years with just one body style, they brought back a second body style – a coupe convertible! The IS 250 C debuted at the Paris Motor Show on October 2, 2008. They also introduced a more powerful IS 350 C with engine specs similar to those of the sedan models. The IS convertible hit the European market in 2009, followed by North America in May 2009. Oh, and they even made an IS 300 C for specific regions. Plus, in 2008, they made some minor styling changes to the interior.


In 2010, when they refreshed the second IS line, they changed the diesel IS 220d. They detuned it to improve fuel consumption, resulting in a lower power output of 27 hp. And guess what? They also introduced factory-produced F Sport IS models that year, building on their “F Sport” line of parts and accessories for the IS 250/350. Oh, and they also made some more updates to the interior of the IS line.


The IS C and IS F went through some exciting changes! The IS F now comes with Intelligent Transport Systems and Dedicated Short Range Communication units as standard equipment. The US model of the F SPORT Package got a revised silver metallic interior trim. In Japan, the F SPORT Package has a fantastic dark rose interior color and medium silver ornament panel. The F SPORT performance accessories for both models include 19-inch forged wheels, brake upgrades, carbon fiber engine cover, and more. The Japanese models went on sale in August 2013, and the US models as 2014 vehicles.

Third Generation: (Concept Model)

LEXUS IS250 3rd gen

The LF-CC concept unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and later Auto Shanghai 2013 sounds fantastic! It’s a rear-wheel drive coupe that combines designs from the LF-LC concept and Lexus LFA. Some of its main features include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine with D-4S direct injection technology, a water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor, and a stunning Fluid Titanium body color. The interior sounds luxurious, too, with amber leather upholstery on the dashboard, seats, door panels, and instrument binnacle hood. It must be a sight to behold.


The production version of the IS was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in January 2013, followed by the 2013 Auto Shanghai. Masanari Sakae did the exterior design work from 2010 to 2011, and Yuki Isogai styled the F Sport models in 2011. They even hinted at bringing back the IS Sport-Cross station wagon for the third generation, but unfortunately, it did not happen. The F Sport models are all about enhanced handling and performance. They come with Adaptive Variable Suspension and Variable Gear Ratio Steering for the IS 350. And let’s not forget their aggressive styling, with the F Sport pattern front grille, logo badges, and five-spoke split graphite wheels. Inside, you’ll find carbon fiber-like trim, extra bolstered performance seats, a black headliner, and an excellent moving vessel gauge cluster inspired by the Lexus LFA. The F Sport models have an exclusive Ultra White exterior and Rioja Red interior. Exciting, right? The international models went on sale in mid-2013, offering different variants like the IS 250 RWD, IS 250 AWD, IS 300h, and IS 350 RWD. The hybrid IS 300h is available in Europe, Japan, and select international markets. In the US, the models went on sale as 2014 vehicles on June 28, 2013, including the IS 250 RWD, IS 250 AWD, IS 350 RWD, and IS 350 AWD.


The revamped third-generation model of the Lexus IS sounds pretty cool! It debuted at the April 2016 Beijing Auto Show with some awesome updates. The headlamps, taillamps, front fascia, and hood all got a refresh, giving it a new look. Inside are some significant technology improvements, like a 10.3-inch infotainment screen and an updated steering wheel. And let’s not forget the stylish contrast stitching along the dash.


The IS got a significant makeover in 2020 for the 2021 model year. The updated styling includes a larger body, restyled headlamps, full-width taillamps, and a larger spindle grille design. They even added Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities, upgraded driver-assistance systems, and standard blind-spot monitoring. The suspension has been revised for a more rigid body, and in the US, the F Sport trim is available on the top IS350 model. It sounds like they stepped up their game.

Performance, Engine & Transmission of Lexus IS250

LEXUS IS250 engine

The Lexus IS250 has a 2.5-liter V6 engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This combination provides a smooth and responsive driving experience. The engine delivers 204hp and 250 nm of torque with better efficiency, making it suitable for city driving and highway cruising. Whether you’re looking for a spirited acceleration or a comfortable ride, the IS250’s engine and transmission work together to deliver a satisfying performance. It’s an excellent choice for those who value power and refinement in their driving experience.

0-60 figures of Lexus IS250

The Lexus IS250 is a high-performance Toyota Altezza car. These high-performing engines can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 7.1 seconds according to the engine’s capability. It offers a thrilling driving experience with better power and efficiency. However, it depends on the driving conditions and the acceleration.

Top speed of Lexus IS250

The top speed of the Lexus IS250 is 143 mph. However, the maximum speed is dependent on the specific model and trim level. It’s pretty fast because of the high-performing engine installed in it.

Driving, Handling & Stability of Lexus IS250

LEXUS IS250 drive

The Lexus IS250 offers excellent driving dynamics and stability, allowing you to confidently tackle curvy roads. Its well-tuned suspension system and precise steering make it agile and responsive, ensuring a smooth and controlled ride even on twisty roads. The chassis of the IS250 is designed to provide stability and minimize body roll, allowing you to maintain control and enjoy the thrill of driving on curvy roads. So go ahead and take on those winding roads with the IS250. It’s built to handle them with ease.

Exterior & Interior of Lexus IS250


LEXUS IS250 exterior

The exterior of the Lexus IS250. It’s a surprise! The design is sleek and stylish, turning heads wherever it goes. The IS250 features a bold and aggressive front grille, commanding it on the road. The sharp and angular LED headlights add a touch of sophistication to the overall look. Moving along the sides, you’ll notice the well-defined body lines that give the IS250 a sporty and dynamic appearance.

Lexus IS250 look

The aerodynamic shape enhances its visual appeal and contributes to improved fuel efficiency and stability. The sleek profile is further accentuated by the chrome accents and the stylish alloy wheels, which add a touch of elegance to the overall design. Now, let’s talk about the rear. The Lexus IS250 boasts a distinctive and eye-catching rear design. The LED taillights wrap around the sides, creating a seamless and modern look. The dual exhaust pipes give it a sporty edge, hinting at the performance capabilities of the vehicle.

Lexus IS250 rear Spoiler

The rear spoiler adds a touch of athleticism and enhances aerodynamics. Overall, the exterior of the Lexus IS250 is a perfect blend of style, elegance, and sportiness. Whether you’re cruising down the highway or parked at a fancy event, it will make a statement. The attention to detail and the carefully crafted design elements make the Lexus IS250 a true head-turner.


LEXUS IS250 interior

The interior of the Lexus IS250. It’s a haven of luxury and comfort. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a beautifully crafted cabin that exudes elegance and sophistication. You’ll first notice the premium materials used throughout the interior.

Lexus IS250 center console

From the soft-touch surfaces to the high-quality leather upholstery, every detail has been carefully chosen to create a luxurious atmosphere. The attention to detail is impeccable, with fine stitching and tasteful accents that add to the overall refinement. The seats in the IS250 are designed with both comfort and support in mind. They are plush and well-cushioned, providing a comfortable ride even on long journeys. Plus, the available power-adjustable seats allow you to quickly find your perfect position easily. You’ll feel pampered and relaxed whether you’re the driver or a passenger.

LEXUS IS250 guage cluster

The cockpit of the IS250 is driver-focused, with intuitive controls and a well-laid-out dashboard. The center console houses the infotainment system, which offers a range of advanced features. You’ll have easy access to navigation, music, and connectivity options from the touchscreen display to the voice command functionality. The available premium sound system delivers crystal-clear audio, making your favorite tunes sound even better. Space-wise, the IS250 offers ample room for both front and rear passengers.

Lexus IS250 trunk space

While it’s considered a compact luxury sedan, the clever design maximizes the available space. The trunk provides enough room for your everyday essentials, and the rear seats can be folded down for additional cargo space when needed. In terms of technology, the IS250 doesn’t disappoint. It offers many advanced features, including a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. These features enhance safety and make your driving experience more convenient and enjoyable. Overall, the interior of the Lexus IS250 is a harmonious blend of comfort, luxury, and technology.

Real-World MPG of Lexus IS250

The fuel average of the Lexus IS250 models can vary depending on factors such as type, driving conditions, and driving style. However, the average these models can achieve approximately with these engines is around 24 mpg. But it is always a good idea to check the specific fuel economy ratings of the exact model and engine variant you are interested in.

Advanced & Safety features of Lexus IS250

Some Interesting and unique features of the Lexus IS250:

  • Pre-Collision System.
  • Lane Departure Alert.
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
  • Blind Spot Monitor.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
  • Vehicle Stability Control.

Expert Verdict

CarMagazine experts say:

“Refreshingly handsome, immaculate inside, and at least as engaging as any export from Munich: we enjoy driving the IS250.”


LEXUS IS250 end

The Lexus IS250 has received positive reviews for its luxurious features, smooth ride, and overall reliability. Experts have praised its comfortable cabin, advanced safety features, and refined performance. It’s a car that offers a combination of elegance and performance, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate style and substance. So, if you’re considering the Lexus IS250, it seems like a solid option.

Pros & Cons for Lexus IS250

Pros of the Lexus IS250:

Cons of the Lexus IS250:

Written by: TAZ

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