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Test Drive: Lexus IS 200t F Sport – It’s got game

POSTED BY ON 14 December 2015

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HERE’S what we honestly think – fancy cars help the male population score with the ladies.

Some say a guy’s ride is an epitome of his social class, while others stand by the notion that a handsome looking car makes its driver appear more attractive.

For this writer, going directly behind the wheel of a swanky car instead of riding shotgun satisfies her every need for automotive fun and pleasure. And when you combine the art of speed with photogenic contouring, which makes an automobile more appealing and commanding, all the planets align.

“Handsome” might just be the right word to describe the upgraded Lexus IS 200t Turbo F Sport, but the real deal lies in its performance once you take it up a notch to Sport Plus drive mode.

Sleek and stylish

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The IS 200t F Sport’s silhouette is anything but neutral, drawing eyeballs to its exterior with sharp trailing lines that run across its body surface.

The exterior aesthetics are further spiffed up with the presence of the pronounced honeycomb Lexus spindle grille and a set of 18-inch sport alloy wheels. Also found on the exterior front of the IS F Sport are LED daytime running lights and fog lamps as well as signature emblems, which we think could well serve as a daily reminder that an owner’s hard-earned cash was put to good use.

The entire cabin tells an equally positive story. The seats are canvassed over with leather and the materialistic part of us would choose tanned rawhide over any other material just because, although in saying so, we are not intending to evoke anger among animal rights activists.

We also appreciate the fact that the IS F Sport comes with Mark Levinson premium surround audio system with 15 speakers, and even with minor adjustments to the audio setting, the cabin experience is instantly transformed into an indoor music festival.

The humble centre console is home to a multi-infotainment display, storage compartments, feature buttons as well as a drive mode select switch, among others – orderly, user-friendly and just about ergonomically right.

The IS F Sport is one sedan that has an undeniably quiet cabin. We turned off the radio once during one of our drives and realised even with the engine still up and running, we were able to have a quiet conversation with our passengers without almost any trace of engine murmur or wind noise when charging at high speeds.

On another note, this model comes with overall interior volume which earned our approval without even having to try. The cockpit, first of all, is airy and showed no sign of “tightness” especially in terms of legroom. The well-shaped back seating area makes it comfortable for even up to three occupants.

Smooth operator

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This is the thing about turbocharged engines – you will charge forth quicker and get your demands for more speed and driving excitement satisfied. In the case of the IS 200t F Sport, planted underneath the hood is a 2.0-litre in-line four Twin-Scroll turbocharged engine, joined to an 8-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic transmission.

Quicker acceleration on Sport Plus mode is a high point for the IS F Sport. We favoured this driving mode over Eco, Normal and Sport – which, when engaged, gives off a rather stiff ride.

It is also worthy of noting that the paddle shifters are very responsive and even there were actually delays between shift, they were barely recognisable.

Ride quality

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The IS 200t F Sport, when taking bends or maintaining corners, still managed to remain its composure on the bitumen. It also rode smoothly over harsh roads and potholes. Braking power, on the other hand, is acceptable.

Verdict
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We’ll be brutally blunt – given the choice between a charming man and a charming car, we’d ride the wheeled machine any given day.

Quick, striking and luxurious with premium materials and gadgets splashed all over its passenger compartment, the good-looking and nicely equipped Lexus IS 200t F Sport promises a joy-inspiring driving experience that lies beneath its shell.

Specifications of the Lexus IS 200t F Sport

Engine: 1,998cc in-line four Twin Scroll turbocharger
Transmission: Eight-speed Sports Direct Shift automatic
Max power: 241hp @ 5,800rpm
Max torque: 350Nm @ 1,650-4,400rpm
Safety features: 10 SRS airbags, vehicle dynamics integrated management, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert
Price: RM384,900 with GST (sans insurance)

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