lexus IS 300h

Image: Motorpress

One of a kind: Lexus reveals hybrid-only IS sports sedan line-up for SA

Lexus will launch its luxury IS sports sedan range in South Africa in early April. Get the specs and pricing on the hybrid-only model line-up here.

lexus IS 300h

Image: Motorpress

Japanese luxury carmaker Lexus has thrown the covers off its “re-imagined” 2021 Lexus IS sports sedan range, announcing that the models will deliver a new level of luxury as standard in addition to a core focus on evocative design, imaginative technology and leading driving dynamics.

Revealing the new range, pricing and specifications via MotorPress, Lexus South Africa said what was new for South Africa – where the models will be available for pre-order from the first week of April this year – was that only hybrid IS models will be retailed locally. Lexus SA also announced the addition of the first-ever F Sport derivative for the IS hybrid.

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Hybrid only for SA

“What’s new for South Africa is that for the very first time, Lexus has decided to launch IS as a hybrid-only model. The hybrid market has shown immense growth on a global scale in the past five years and the shift from diesel to alternative-propulsion vehicles is expected to keep growing at rapid rate,”

“It is with this information in mind that Lexus South Africa plans to leverage its existing dominance in the hybrid-electric market to enlarge their share even more. At the same time, Lexus will position hybrids as performance and technology-rich vehicles. Lexus launches three model grades in hybrid: IS 300h EX, IS 300h SE and IS 300 F Sport,” explained Lexus SA.

Image: Motorpress


The company said features that become standard on the Lexus IS for the first time include 18-inch alloy wheels for the EX and SE (19-inch for the F Sport), an electric park brake (replacing foot-operated), new 10.3-inch touch-display with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, a pre-collision system for the SE grade and F Sport featuring daytime/night-time pedestrian detection plus daytime cyclist detection, all-speed active cruise control (SE and F Sport), lane tracing assist (SE and F Sport), blind-spot monitor (SE and F Sport), rear cross-traffic alert+brake, as well as a panoramic view monitor for the SE and F Sport when reversing.

Image: Motorpress

“This is an addition to smart entry and start, heated- and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker audio for the EX grade and 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound for SE and F Sport grades. The top-spec models also come standard with satellite navigation, voice control and LED headlamps with automatic high-beam,” continued Lexus SA.

Image: Motorpress

“The significant expansion of leading luxury- and driver-assist technology is further leveraged by enhanced body rigidity, lighter suspension components and a wider front and rear track – all coming together as the first Lexus tuned at the company’s new purpose-built “mini Nurburgring” test facility in Shimoyama, Japan,” revealed the company.

Under the hood

The models achieve a total system output of 164kW. The IS has a combined-cycle fuel consumption from as low as 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres. The 0-100 sprint is dispatched in 8.7 seconds with a top speed of 200 km/h. The IS boasts a petrol-hybrid 2.5 litre CVT engine that achieves a maximum power of 133kW @ 6000rpm and maximum torque of 221Nm @ 4200-5400rpm.

Image: Motorpress


“Befitting the status of the new IS as a focused driver’s car, the IS F Sport and SE grades offer more advanced specifications with the F Sport model offering dynamic hybrid vehicle performance.”

“For the first time on an IS F Sport, 19-inch alloy wheels are standard, in addition to an F Sport body kit and spoiler, F Sport scuff plates and ornamentation, high-grade LED headlamps, five-mode Drive Select (Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), F Sport leather-accented trim, sports pedals and seats with driver memory settings,” said Lexus.

Lexus S A vice-president of sales and marketing Glenn Crompton said the new Lexus IS will re-invigorate the medium sedan class with its stunning focus on three key attributes:

“An intense focus on evocative design, imaginative technology and leading driving dynamics, will help ensure a new generation of Lexus customers are welcomed into IS sports sedan ownership.

“The hybrid direction and sports focus of the new IS, alongside the luxurious ES, deliver two distinct personalities for Lexus customers to select from in this segment.”

Image: Motorpress


The new Lexus IS, according to Lexus, matches or exceeds the active safety technology featured in the current flagship Lexus LS.

Standard on the SE and F Sport grades, the new Lexus Safety System+ supports pre-collision warning (from approximately 10 to 180km/h), pre-collision brake assist (from approximately 30 to 80km/h with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, or approximately 30 to 180km/h with a detected preceding or stopped vehicle), and pre-collision braking (from approximately 10 to 80km/h with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, or approximately 10 to 180km/h with a detected preceding or stopped vehicle).

These systems are designed to work with both daytime and night-time pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection.


“Never before has such a focus been placed on enhancing the renowned rear-wheel drive dynamics of a new Lexus IS,” enthused Lexus SA.

The new IS becomes the first Lexus to debut the “Lexus Driving Signature” that will become the development standard for all future Lexus models. The “Lexus Driving Signature” is defined by linear vehicle operation that is faithful to a driver’s intentions, providing seamless transition from braking to steering and acceleration through a corner. These Lexus dynamic values were achieved by utilising the country-road test course at the company’s new technical centre in Shimoyama, Japan, which opened in 2019.

Image: Motorpress

The country-road test course is based on many years of Lexus experience of driving on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, famous throughout the world for its gruelling driving conditions.

It was designed to take advantage of the local topography, featuring approximately a 75m change in elevation, a wide range of curves and a variety of road surfaces. By repeatedly subjecting both vehicle and engineers to daily tests in this severe driving environment, Lexus was able to devise an ever-higher dimension of vehicle performance.


The Lexus IS models retail from R841 300 for the EX grade, R899 800 for the SE grade and R916 100 for the F Sport. The entire IS range boasts a best-in-class seven-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. The vehicle service intervals are pegged at every 15 000km, alternatively once a year.