In the never ending search for efficiency and power most luxury makes have been judicially replacing their entry level 6 cylinders for turbo 4s. A turbo 4 can give you comparable level of horsepower but with more torque and better gas mileage. Lexus was one of the last holdouts but for 2016 that has changed with the introduction of the IS200t.
We sampled this exact motor last year when we reviewed the NX200t and came away rather impressed. The 241 horsepower and 258 ft/lbs of torque compares favorably to it’s competitors listed below.
- 328i 240 horsepower and 255 ft/lbs
- A4 220 horsepower and 258 ft/lbs (the 2017 makes a lot more at close to 270 hp)
- ATS 272 horsepower and 295 ft/lbs
- Q50 208 horsepower and 258 ft/lbs.
Now how does it perform? We are unsure if our IS200t was in need of a software update but the turbo lag was significant and sometimes frustrating. The turbo did not come on boost until 2500 rpm and below that it was tepid at best/it did not move. It was a startling contrast compared to the 1.8 turbo we reviewed in the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta a week prior. The 1.8’s throttle response was amazing and there was never a sense of turbo lag. It just went. But one has to bear this in mind. VW has been making turbo motors for eons now and they have pretty much perfected it. This is an entirely new motor from Lexus/Toyota and their first turbo motor in 18 years! We are sure some software updates should alleviate the lag problem but regardless it did makes us miss the 3.5 liter in the IS350.
Now how is the rest of the package? It’s pretty damn good. The steering is perfectly weighted and precise, the chassis just flows from bend to bend and the seats are absolutely perfect. The F Sport package completely transforms the IS into one of the best sports sedans on the market. It’s the perfect blend of sport meets luxury. Everything in the interior is perfectly placed and expensive feeling. The gorgeous red interior of our tester was especially eye catching. We are still not a fan of the mouse for the infotainment rig but one quick press of the speedy and precise Voice Activation button alleviates that issue.
Now should you get the IS200t? We are confident that Lexus will solve the turbo lag problem in future updates to the ECU and once they do… you have a solid choice on your hands. If you want more power…there is always the IS350 waiting for you.