The future of Lexus won't exactly fly or die on the reputation of the stunning new IS 250, but anything less than a clear victory over it rivals would be an anti-climax. Trouble is, those rivals include the new BMW 3-series.
Mechanically, the Lexus has a 2.5-litre V6 powering the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox – or a six-speed auto as in our test car. Suspension is by double wishbones at the front with a multi-link arrangement at the rear.
Considering the new car is longer, wider and 20 per cent stiffer than its predecessor, it's impressive that use of aluminium keeps weight down to only around 50kg heavier than equivalent versions of the old car.
What’s it like?
The Lexus boasts items such as leather seats, 17in wheels and cruise control within its basic £25,400 asking price. First thing you notice is its exquisite detailing, and also its presence, which is considerable. It looks expensive, exotic even, and around the nose and tail in particular it has a strength of character that company car drivers wishing to stand out from the crowd are going to get very excited about.
From the moment you pull on one of the IS' beautifully damped doorhandles and climb aboard it feels impossibly expensive inside. The facia design is intriguing, but when you interact with it you begin to suspect that, in certain areas, style tends to rule over function.