Lexus IS: four-wheel-steer F Sport ready for Oz

Lexus Australia is looking to introduce a four-wheel-steering version of the Lexus IS350 F Sport within two years.

Claimed to be a more dynamic version of the existing Lexus IS generation on sale locally for six months, the upgraded model scores the same rear steering system from the Lexus GS.

Dubbed Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) by Lexus, the system works by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts by up to two degrees, at up to 80km/h. Lexus says the system reduces the turning circle of the IS by half a metre compared with the current car.

Lexus IS350 rear steer 1

Above 80km/h, the rear wheels turn by up to two degrees in the same direction as the front wheels, to increase turn-in response and chassis stability, and avoid unwanted understeer and oversteer characteristics.

DRS only works when the drive control selector of the IS350 F Sport model is switched to Sport+.

The system in the Lexus IS doesn't, however, work as aggressively as it does in the Lexus GS due to a shorter wheelbase that already helps with agility. By comparison, the GS rear wheels can turn each way by a further two degrees.

Other changes bundled in with the rear-wheel steering include a faster steering rack for sharper responses, and a recalibrated stability control system that uses four-wheel steering in addition to selective braking and power management to balance the car.

Lexus IS350 rear steer 3

Still rear-wheel-drive only, Lexus IS chief engineer Junichi Furuyama says four-wheel steering also helps avoid the understeer inherent in competitor all-wheel-drive vehicles. There is, however, a cost attached to the DRS software and hardware.

"First we introduce this to Japanese market to see feedback, then we think about introducing to export markets," told Furuyama.

Lexus Australia is seriously considering the DRS four-wheel-steering kit for its IS350 F Sport range, but says it is unlikely to be introduced before a model cycle revision, which isn't expected for around two years.