by Daniel DeGasperi

Specifications for the Lexus IS300h sedan have been revealed ahead of its Australian debut later this year.

Its 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine produces 133kW of power at 6000rpm, and 221Nm of torque from 4200-5400rpm. The electric motor adds a 105kW/300Nm boost from idle speed. Both combine to make 164kW as a “maximum system output” and drive through to the rear wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The first-ever hybrid Lexus IS claims 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds, with combined fuel economy of 4.9L/100km and corresponding COemissions of 133 grams per kilometre.

A first for a Lexus hybrid, the IS300h gets a 60:40 split-fold rear seat, matching the petrol IS250 and IS350 models for total boot volume. The hybrid battery pack has been positioned beneath the boot floor, with Lexus claiming this improves not only packaging, but lowers the centre of gravity to improve handling response.

The Lexus IS300h will compete with the cohort of diesel mid-sized sedans from Germany when it arrives here in October, priced from around $60,000.

The petrol-electric IS300h can’t match the fuel economy of the BMW 318d (4.5L/100km) and Audi A4 2.0TDI (4.7L/100km) but it trounces both for CO2 emissions because burning petrol produces marginally less CO2 than driving on diesel.

With a benchmark 113g/km of CO2, the Lexus IS300h is comfortably ahead of the 318d (118g/km) and A4 2.0TDI (127g/km).

Where its German rivals only get four stars from the Australian Government Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) due to their far higher air pollution (NOx) emissions, the Lexus scores five, emitting around 10 times less particles that affect respiratory health and create urban smog. The 318d and A4 2.0TDI score only six out of 10 for air pollution, according to the GVG.

The IS300h will arrive in two trim levels – Luxury and F Sport – which both feature a five-mode drivetrain system, incorporating EV (petrol engine off), ECO (optimal fuel efficiency), Normal, and Sport (aggressive throttle and transmission response) modes. The F Sport will add adaptive variable suspension and electro-mechanical power steering, with an additional Sport+ mode.

Unfortunately, however, Australia will miss the special IS300h ‘Eco’ model reserved for Europe, which claims 4.3L/100km combined and sub-100g/km CO2.

  • KH

    lost interest at ‘CVT’

    • Cam

      Have you ever driven one?

      • Adriano

        He lost the interest, because he doesn’t know what CVT is and wasn’t able to google about it.
        If you have no idea about technology, words like CVT (or better eCVT) can confuse you.

  • LowRezFez

    Mmmmm…. Le Boring!

  • nugsdad

    Why does Hybrid have to = CVT ?

    • Zaccy16

      for some reason the japanese always have to ruin their hybrids with CVT! the new hybrids coming out of Germany have proper trannys

      • Resident

        Infiniti (which everyone seems to be knocking also) has a 7sp Auto with their Hybrids…

  • TG

    Very impressive motor vehicle.

    The CVT in the Toyota hybrids is nothing like a conventional (non-hybrid) CVT, as it is more a power split device that works in conjunction with the electric motors. You guys carrying on about CVTs, you’re probably better off sticking with your 6 speed manual whatevers or DSGs. :)

    • nugsdad

       might have to drive one

    • Al Wal

       I’ve driven the Lexus/Toyota hybrids, theyre really not that bad for CVTs and dont drone at all – not a huge difference from a conventional auto to drive.

  • F1orce

    Yeah ToyotaHSD is very good

    • guest21

      Yeah Toyota/Lexus are the best.

  • Cars

    It’s the Hybrid Camry drive train in a RWD, upmarket and quality shell. Sporty driving pretense with Hybrid efficiency. Nice work Lexus/Toyota. 

    Regarding low CO2 emissions. Does anyone actually buy a car because it has low CO2 output?
    No I’m not being sarcastic – I would genuinely like to know if that actually registers on anyone’s “must have” list.

    • Josef

       Lower the CO2 fuel economy is better. I am sure in this country “nobody” cares because we are not tax after CO2. In England, Germany…etc cars tax after CO2. Germany petrol engine 2 Euro for every 100cc, diesel 9.50 Euro for every 100cc.
      Source: Kfz-steuer

      • Cars


    • F1orce

      In EU the governments adjusts the tax rate based on CO2 emissions..

      • Cars

        So it’s not really relevant in Australia despite Julia’s Carbon tax she said we’d not have.

  • Guest

    Seems a tad misleading.  Lexus is hardly trouncing the competition, CO2-wise.  The BMW emits 4% more CO2.   You’d be better off claiming the Beemer trounces the Lexus’ fuel efficiency… the 300h uses 9% more.  But really, who cares?  Buy the one you like – you’ve got to live with the darn thing.

    • F1orce

      The Lexus is a Petrol Hybrid 

      No common rail injectors, no VG-turbo, no DPF, no post urea injection etc

      So its much simpler and could run on electricity alone and well it would be much more refined. 

      Probably also faster than 318d



  • Zaccy16

    Looks good in dark blue, if it had a normal 6 speed auto it would be a winner! is350 still best option and if you want fuel efficiency the german diesels are better picks!

    • F1orce

      Yeah personally i would choose the IS350 with ease

      • ZaccyOnCracky

        Sorry, only outdated VWs have 6 speeds. New 350 will be 8 speed.

  • carmy hybrid

    i bought one of the new hybrid camrys for work and can report real world fuel use of about 6l/100km after 3000kms. it gets worked pretty hard with no concern for economy. same engine etc as this car and is a hoot to drive… surprising really for a camry.

    • Boring

      Hoot is compared to pushing a trolley around a carpark?

  • Poison_Eagle

    Looks superb, needs a manual. 

  • Sco

    Mercedes-Benz C250CDI = 5.1L/100kms 134g CO2, 150kw / 500Nm and 7.1sec 0-100km/h. From a car thats been around 6 years and due to be replaced.

    Lexus, yet again coming to market with a product that would excite someone if they were buying a pre-owned car.


    Why no ECO IS300h for Australia?