Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days

by Jez Spinks

The 2013 Lexus IS range gains a hybrid model as the Japanese brand aims to counter fuel-efficient diesel models from its German luxury rivals.

The Lexus IS300h joins the IS250 and IS350 models for the third-generation version of the company’s rival to the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

IS300h sits in the middle of the range, priced from $58,900 and offering a combined power output of 164kW from its 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor.

2013 Lexus IS 250 Sports Luxury

The new Lexus IS starts at $55,900 for the IS250 that continues with a 153kW/252Nm 2.5-litre V6, or from $65,000 for the IS350 that uses the same 233kW/378Nm 3.5-litre V6 as before but now teams it with an eight-speed (derived from the IS-F’s gearbox) rather than six-speed auto.

The most affordable entries to key competitors are $50,900 for a BMW 316i, $55,500 for the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI and $59,900 for the Mercedes C200.

The Lexus IS300h is the slowest of the three variants from standstill, taking 8.5 seconds to reach 100km/h from standstill compared with 5.9 seconds for the IS350 and 8.1 seconds for the IS250. Rolling acceleration, however, sees the hybrid sit between the two petrol models, taking 4.8 seconds to go from 40 to 70km/h compared with 5.4sec (IS250) and 3.6sec (IS350).

2013 Lexus IS 300h Luxury

It’s by far the most economical, however, using just 4.9 litres of premium unleaded per 100km, and emitting just 113 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Figures for the Lexus IS250 and Lexus IS350, respectively, are 9.2L per 100km and 213g/km and 9.7L/100km and 225g/km.

Lexus IS F Sport grades feature adaptive dampers for a suspension that has redesigned front and rear across the range.

2013 Lexus IS 350 F Sport

The 2013 Lexus IS, the first all-new IS since 2005, sits on a shortened version of the platform used for the bigger GS.

It is 75mm longer and 10mm wider than before, with 70mm of the extra length going into the distance between the front and rear axles.

Lexus says 50mm of that wheelbase extension was devoted to increasing rear legroom to class-leading status – overcoming a key criticism of the previous model.

2013 Lexus IS 300h Luxury interior

The company also points to the Lexus IS300h being the first hybrid sedan to offer 60/40 split fold rear seats as a result of its positioning of the hybrid battery pack under the luggage deck board.

Boot space for the hybrid Lexus IS is also less compromised as a result, offering 450 litres to the 480 litres of the IS250 and IS350. It’s helped by the use of run-flat tyres for the hybrid model.

Lexus again minimises options lists, including plenty of standard equipment throughout each of the variants’ trim grades that comprise Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury.

2013 Lexus IS 300h Luxury steering wheel

Luxury models all include ventilated and electrically adjustable front seats, keyless entry, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, digital radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, bi-xenon headlights with daytime running lights, reverse-view camera, 7-inch colour media display, and Drive Mode select that allows the driver to alter steering, throttle and stability control settings.

Key additions for the F Sport include 18-inch alloy wheels instead of 17s, sports suspension with variable dampers, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot warning, auto-dimming mirror, power adjustable steering wheel, and driver seat memory.

Sports Luxury extras include a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, lane departure warning, active cruise control, and auto high beam.

2013 Lexus IS range

There’s also a general four-year/100,000km warranty, with the IS300h getting an additional eight-year warranty for the hybrid battery.

The Lexus IS is offered with up to 10 airbags with the availability of rear-side airbags. Eight airbags are standard on Luxury and F Sport.

New safety technology additions include blind spot and lane departure warning systems – standard on Sports Luxury grades and optional on the IS300h.

2013 Lexus IS 300h Luxury display

A new telematics system dubbed Enform, and powered by Apple iOS and Android, will be available from the fourth quarter of 2013, offering owners a range of information assistance including customer care, local internet search, petrol station finder with fuel prices, weather, plus downloadable destination guides.

The new Lexus IS was previewed by the LF-CC coupe concept that points to a future two-door version of the model to help the company match the broader line-ups offered by German rivals.

The previous generation offered sedan and convertible body styles only.

Lexus has yet to decide whether it will build another version of the V8-powered IS-F performance sedan, saying the current model would continue to be offered for a while longer.


2013 Lexus IS pricing

Lexus IS250
Luxury from $55,900
F Sport from $64,900
Sports Luxury from $77,900

Lexus IS300h
Luxury from $58,900
F Sport from $67,900

Lexus IS350
Luxury from $65,000
F Sport from $73,000
Sports Luxury from $84,000


2013 Lexus IS specifications

Lexus IS250
Engine: 2.5-litre V6
Power: 153kW at 6400rpm
Torque: 252Nm at 4800rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
0-100km/h: 8.1 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.2L/100km
CO2 emissions: 213g/km
Weight: 1645kg

Lexus IS350
Engine: 3.5-litre V6
Power: 233kW at 6400rpm
Torque: 378Nm at 4800rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
0-100km/h: 5.9 seconds
Fuel consumption: 9.7L/100km
CO2 emissions: 225g/km
Weight: 1685kg

Lexus IS300h
Engine: 2.5-litre 4-cyl + electric motor
Power: 164kW (combined)
Torque: not available
Transmission: CVT
0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds
Fuel consumption: 4.9L/100km
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Weight: 1720kg


  • O123

    I dont care what people are saying but I reckon it looks awesome. And I’m in there target market so meh.

    • O123

      My only complaint is the first update will make the screen bigger, 7 inches is tiny with that big bezel.

      • So4rer

        My only concern is Lexus resale value, especially when the lease runs out…

    • Poison_Eagle

      I agree with you; it looks outstanding. LFA inspired interior, and really interesting front light treatment that works. The 300h is a revelation- who says you can’t have economy and dynamics?! Wish they had a North-south hybrid setup on camry (or Commodore lol).

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, it looks great, the interior looks good but some details could be better, i think lexus should have had a look at the new 3’s classy interior before bringing out the new is!

    • GoggoMobile

      I don’t care people like its look, but its rear tail lights design looks like Joker’s stretched lips…awfully designed

  • Noel

    The photo of the back of the IS350 looks great!

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, it looks great IMO, $65,000 is a bargain for the is350!

  • D987

    Those headlights look shocking on a car that is meant to compete with the sophisticated looking C-Class and 3 Series. I can’t help but think about the new Jeep Cherokee when I see them.

    Mercedes-Benz and BMW really have nothing too much to worry about here.

    • Nani

      It looks much better and different in metal

      Photos don’t do this any justice

      • JooberJCW

        I completely agree, its in the crown foyer the other day i think it was the is250 sport. looks much more better than these photographs.

        Though I don’t like that interior, it looks like a mess and lacks the wide contour look of the previous gen IS’s

        • Darrell

          Yeah I really like the previous IS interior. It aged extremley well and was of very good quality. This one is on the chintzy side

          • Kane Thomas

            It all looks 10 times better in the flesh worst marketing photos seems to really miss the details that make it all work


    Give me hybrid ANY day over DIEsel:

    No vibration
    No stink and smoke
    No problematic PDF issues
    No filthy servo concrete and greasy fuel hose
    No DIEsel fuel more expensive than ULP
    No rattle and noise, smooth and stealth ULP
    No turbo lag, instant grunt
    No cancer DIEsel issues
    etc etc

    • Daniel

      I see your point but to be honest, I haven’t experienced any vibration in any of the high end diesels I’ve driven the last couple of years. Or smoke. Or rattle. Or lag.

      And you forgot one crucial thing in your list of what hybrids are without:
      No torque. The IS300h only has 221nm…

      • F1orce

        Drive Camry Hybrid. Floor it and feel the strong pulling power.

      • wjt

        I’ve never heard of anyone contracting Cancer from driving a diesel either.
        CVT’s don’t exactly give instant grunt either not that 0-100kmh in 8.5 secs could be described as grunty anyway.
        Also Diesel fuel more expensive than ULP? Not when we’re talking premium ULP as required by Lexus which is about 15c more than 91ULP. Best price for 95ULP in Sydney according to Motormouth right now is 150.9 and ULP98 is 159.9 whilst best price for diesel is 139.5.
        No mention of reduced bootspace/sparewheel or lack of towing capacity in hybrids either.

        • Ernst

          The World Health Organisation has moved diesel to a class 1 carcinogen. 1 is the bad end of the scale. There is no longer any doubt, diesel causes cancer.
          London CBD now requires a 30 pound per day fee to drive a diesel lorry in the city. Paris city council are discussing banning diesel cars from the city center.
          Diesel is dying.

          • qq

            The World Health Organization also says mobile phones cause cancer too and have them listed as carcinogenic (though I believe lower risk than diesel fumes).
            Do you see mobile phones dying?

            30 pounds to drive a lorry into London CBD? Well they do have a congestion charge you know that applies to ALL vehicles except electrics. Small economical petrol cars still pay GBP10.
            Would be odd to London CBD to ban diesel from the CBD considering London CBD operates thousands of newly purchased diesel buses and taxis. Not sure how the city would function without the buses and taxis.

      • Zaccy16

        i agree, modern diesels are none of those things, lots are as refined or better than there petrol versions such as the mazda 6/cx5’s 2.2 turbo diesel and mercedes 195 kw/620 nm v6 3.0 turbo diesel are both great engines

        • Karl Sass

          No diesels are cleaner than an equivalent petrol. When they talk about clean diesel engines, they mean compared to older diesels. No doubt a lot of progress has been made, but their contribution to urban air quality pollutants still far exceeds that of petrol engines. LPG is even better again.

    • Rick

      You can fix PDF issues by upgrading to the latest Acrobat….

  • KiddingMe

    I’ve seen a few of these on the back of trucks and they look so much better in the flesh then they do in the photos.

    The back of the 350 F sport that I saw looks awesome. It’s aggressive and stylish.

    It’s about time Lexus brought out something with a bit of personality.

    • Monk

      Lexus suffering VW problems?

  • Anthony Mindel

    Awesome looking,expecially the rear end…

  • WileE

    If the 350 was quicker then would maybe consider against forthcoming 235i.

  • Dave W

    I really don’t like that spindle grille. For some reason, it screams America to me. Like they don’t know when to stop adding details.

    • Doc

      Same here. To me, it screams Transformers!! I liked it when Lexus was shamelessly copying MB and BMW then improving on the originals. This new corporate DNA? Meh!!!

  • bob.

    No fuel economy improvements for the 250 and 350 (even with a 8 speed)…

    Why no IS300h Sports Luxury?

    • bob.

      Also I thought the 300h would have had the LED lights…

    • Kane Thomas

      From memory I think it had something to do with the run flats and sport luxury wheels however it can be optioned to the same spec

  • Minh

    Looking great with fantastic pricing. Time to upgrade my 2008 IS250! Not sure whether the IS300h or the IS350!

    • Car2013

      You have to ask yourself whether you want performance over fuel consumption. The IS350 has much better performance but much greater consumption than the IS300h; 5.9 sec verses 8.5 secs, 9.7 litres vs 4.9 litres. Off concern is that the hybrid wears run-flats (I wonder what effect this will have with the handling and ride). Looking forward to the reviews. Also, the hybrid has no spare tyre (would this be a concern to you?).

  • Daniel

    As much as I like this car (and I do, not a Lexus basher) I can’t help but think the 320d is probably still miles better. I think the best reasoning for this car is if you want a lot of creature comforts and don’t want to have to pay too much for them. Which is perfectly reasonable. And it does demonstrate extremely good value for money. An IS350 F-Sport would be a very solid purchase.

  • Henry Toussaint

    I hope they make a new IS-F

  • George

    It looks as bad as a Hyundai i45, but with Lexus at least it will drive decent.

  • F1orce

    Those are horrible photos in every respective perspective.

    The darkness of those images doesn’t expose the true contours of the car.

    • Dave W

      Speaking of contour, they seemed
      to have added a little ridge on top of the headlight, as you can see in
      the 3/4 profile photo. Looks weird.

  • Nick

    Car advice is is 350 f. sport 73k or 84k. Another Aussie car website has the is 350 f sport for 84k???? Other website is carsales.

  • BJB

    I live in South Africa, where the IS has also just been released. We don’t get the option of a sunroof. I was interested if the Australian model gets this option. Does anybody know?

  • David

    so the new much bigger, more powerful commodore with a bigger engine is more economical than the new IS250. Shame on you Lexus.

    • Karl Sass

      And doesn’t need premium fuel. The IS250 weighs more than the Evoke sedan.

    • F1orce

      Them fuel economy numbers are probably more in touch with reality.

      The evoke is lighter and has a half litre advantage and yet takes more then 9 seconds to get from 0-100. Lets not talk about refinement and drivetrain harmonics, the IS250 is silky smooth and refined. Where as the Evoke is typical GM, thrashy, slow and unrefined. The whole point of going with a small V6 is for refinement purposes, the 3.0L in the Evoke is a joke. 190kW? Yeah right.

      • Karl Sass

        Lexus have always done refinement very well, as you would hope when you’re paying 56k for a 4 cylinder mid sizer. I don’t believe the IS250 does 8.1 seconds, I’ll wait for a few reviews. Equally the only 0-100 test of the Evoke I’ve seen is CA doing 9.4 seconds which seems ridiculously slow when the Calais can do it in high 6’s / low 7’s with only 20kw difference. I must admit I’ve always liked the IS’ but I’m not sold on the styling this time around and the weight is curiously heavy. Very well made though, less ownership risk than the Germans.

        • F1orce

          The now previous IS250 always had done the 0-100 in 8 seconds or slightly less. Check out YouTube.

          I doubt this new IS250 is slower than the previous one.

          In fact the 0-100 numbers above are fairly conservative , as the previous IS350 was rated at 5.6 seconds 0-100
          The new IS350 has 8-speed auto, with much shorter 1-4th gears. So there’s not way for it to be slower.

          • ter

            IS250 was tested twice by Wheels in Jan 2006 and July 2006.

            Both times, it did 8.8 secs 0-100kmh and 16.3 secs 0-400m.

            It was also listed as 1560kgs so at 1645kgs , this version has put on 85kgs with no gain in power at all so this one is likely to be slower.

  • MisterZed

    Why is the IS350 $9100 more than the IS250, while in America, the difference between the two is only $3515 ?

    • F1orce


      I think that you’d find here IS350 represent a larger percentage of total IS sales compared with USA where you barely find IS350’s

    • Ernst

      IS250 is below LCT threshold and IS350 gets more kit. US cars are not specced the same.

    • KRudd2013

      Hey MisterZed, notice you keep appearing on every forum constantly complaining about price difference with US. Guess what? We already knew that. Car importers will not change their pricing because of your ranting. And we still buy car here regardless.

  • Kenny

    I am not so sure about the looks….if I didn’t know better I’d say it looks like they left it out in the hot sun and it melted!

  • Ivn

    CA – please do a full (and long term) review of the 350 F-Sport. I’m in the market and would like to know your opinion…especially for australian roads.
    A comparison review with cars having the similar specs and also similar prices wouldn’t hurt either =)

  • TG

    Forget Enform, VaisTech’s iVIC is the way to go i.e. full mirroring with an Android phone.

  • gazza

    I know who needs glass’s and there on here!!! GO TO SPEC SAVERS NOW WHILE THERE 2 FOR 1 GOING!

    • Decepticon

      Keep talking smack about OUR looks and we will take over your planet, you weak humans!

  • LowRezFez

    Ewwwwww! BMW must be laughing at more inept Asian styling.

    • Dave W

      It’s American styling foo!!

      • LowRezFez

        That’s even worse.

  • F1orce

    Also 9.7L/100km for IS350?

    The previous IS350 was rated at 9.4L/100km

    • ye

      The previous one also weighed less. Adding weight doesn’t help economy.

  • Ernst

    Here is a list of standard kit optional on a 320 BMtrouble-u. Comfort access $850, Bi-Xenon lights and LED Day running Lights $1576, Lumbar adjustment for front seats $493, Navigation $2693, Heated front seats $654, Alarm $769, Rear Camera $769, Internet via bluetooth $154, Leather $2307, upgrade from 6 speakers $1000, extended contents of instrument cluster $269, digital radio $385, an extra year of warranty $2500. That is $14,419 plus is isn’t made in South Africa. Plus the Lexus gets after sales service BMW owners only dream about, and cooled seats (great in the summer) and 15,000km service free. So the BMW 320i works out at $76K on road with these options plus $2500 to extend the warranty vs $63K for the Lexus on road

    • Ivn

      Even the previous generation of IS are priced much lower than its competitors. I’m glad they kept the pricing similar. Even at base price, 320i is 62k while the IS250 is 56k, while even in base trim the IS comes with a lot of standard features.
      Most people that buys 320i are just posers who wants to be seen driving a premium german car. They probably realise that the IS offers much more for their money but that’s not what they want.

      • ej

        Depends if you’re interested in electronic gadgets or actually want the best drive in terms of handling, road feel economy (some 50% better economy) and performance (close to a full second quicker 0-100kmh) + a manual gearbox is available and it’s 200kgs lighter for the same size car.. BMW offers much more for the money in terms of the drive.