Lexus developed the IS 300, a model that hides a high-performance power-train, rear-drive chassis layout and also a sports-car inspired interior in a taut. The car is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that can deliver 215 horsepower and 218 lb. ft. of torque. The IS 300 features a lot of elements that usually cost extra, like 17-inch wheels, low-profile performance tires and so on. The model is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. The power is being sent to the wheels through a standard five-speed automatic transmission. The inline six-cylinder engine will please drivers who like high-revving power-plants, but it will not let down the ones that prefer strong low-end and mid-range torque.
The 2001 Lexus IS 300 offered a compelling challenge to European sport sedans, packaging a high-performance powertrain, rear-drive chassis layout and sports-car inspired interior in a taut, wedge-shaped four-door body.
Lexus equipped the IS 300 like some competitors" upgrade models but priced it aggressively against their entry models in this segment. Powered by a 3.0-liter, 215-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine, the IS 300 came equipped as standard with features that are usually extra-cost options on competitive vehicles, including 17-inch wheels, low-profile performance-tread tires, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, and a premium, high-power audio system with both a cassette player and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.
The Lexus IS 300 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds and achieve the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds. The standard five-speed automatic transmission features Formula-1 racecar inspired E-Shift steering wheel-mounted shift controls for greater driver involvement.
A New Look, But All Lexus
In many ways, the new IS 300 is the "little brother" to the Lexus GS performance sedans. The IS 300 inherits its powertrain from the GS 300, and its double-wishbone four-wheel independent suspension design is similar to that on the GS models. While the tightly drawn, sharp-edged lines of the IS 300 are like nothing else in the Lexus product line, the grille and headlight detailing make the car immediately identifiable as a Lexus.
Interior surfaces blend modern and classic sports car touches, including drilled aluminum pedals and stainless steel doorsill scuff plates. The gearshift and other interior accents feature a matte chrome-like finish. The IS 300 includes supportive height-adjustable sport seats as standard equipment, and customers can get the optional eight-way power leather trimmed/Ecsaine seats.
A unique, chronograph-style combination gauge cluster inspired by sports watches sits within the speedometer. While giving the IS 300 a unique interior appearance, the chronograph cluster allowed designers to package eight instrument readouts within clear view through the standard leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel. The cluster contains gauges for coolant temperature, battery voltage level and average fuel consumption. Flanking the cluster are a tachometer on the left and a fuel level gauge and gearshift position indicator on the right. The instrument panel also includes LCD-type digital odometer and trip meter displays and an exterior temperature gauge.
The sweeping center console houses the standard automatic climate control and high-performance audio system, with large, easy-to-use controls. Along with the AM/FM/cassette head unit, the IS 300 comes standard with an in-dash, single-feed six-disc CD changer. The 240-watt system plays through eight speakers, including front door mounted full-range speakers, titanium tweeters in the A-pillar trim, 6" x 9" full-range units in the rear shelf and two additional tweeters in the rear shelf.
High Performance from the 17-Inch Wheels Up
The inline six-cylinder engine will please drivers who like high-revving powerplants, yet won"t disappoint those who prefer strong low-end and mid-range torque. The IS 300 engine delivers both due in large part to Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). This system continuously optimizes valve overlap throughout the engine's speed range, not just at one or two set speeds. VVT-i eliminates the traditional compromise between low-end torque and high-rpm horsepower, giving the IS 300 the response of a larger-displacement engine. A two-stage acoustic control induction system and dual exhaust system with two-way bypass muffler enhance power throughout the engine speed range. The IS 300 engine produces 218 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 3,800 rpm.
To optimize weight distribution in the IS 300, Lexus located the engine center 2.2 inches behind the front wheel center, the battery behind the front suspension tower, and the fuel tank under the rear seat. The layout gives the IS 300 a low "yawing moment of inertia," engineer-speak for quick steering response. Lexus fine-tuned the IS 300 suspension on Germany's famous Nurburgring race track, as well as on Australian and European roads.
The standard 17 x 7-inch alloy wheels with 215/45 ZR17 performance tires can compare to the extra-cost wheel and tire packages offered on some competitive vehicles. Customers can choose graphite-polished alloy wheels for a different look, and they can substitute 205/55 R16 all-season performance tires on 16 x 6.5-inch alloy wheels at no extra cost. The standard four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS) features electronic brake distribution. The ventilated front brake discs measure 11.65 inches in diameter and 1.3 inches thick, and the solid rear discs measure 12.1 inches in diameter and a half-inch thick. The IS 300 features standard full-range traction control (TRAC), and a Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip differential is available as an option.
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