Lexus IS (1999–2005)
14' 5" long by 5' 8" wide and from 1,350kg.
153 bhp twin-cam (but belt cam) 24v 2.0 litre straight six. Six-speed manual gearbox has rifle-bolt precision (four speed auto optional). Rear-wheel-drive with proper rear drive handling. Interesting instruments. Much sharper steering than other Lexus models.
Sport has traction control, which is a mixed blessing for keen drivers. Three three-point rear seatbelts. Prices originally started at £20,500.
LE models from November 2003 have 11 spoke 17" alloys, High Intensity Discharge headlights, full leather interior, front, side and curtain airbags, electric multi-adjustable fron seats, 8 speaker sound system with in dash 6CD autochanger, sunroof, automatic anti-glare mirrors, cruise control on automatic, Kodiak Sky dark metallic paint. Prices 6-speed manual £20,795; 4-speed auto £22,025. 4th top car out of 137 in 2003 Top Gear survey.
Satnav standard on SE from February 2005.