Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lexus

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lexus

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Russon

HYBRIDS, not diesels are the key to cost-effective motoring according to Lexus which is about to introduce a petrol-electric powertrain in its new IS executive-grade saloon.

It means that across the Lexus portfolio there's not a diesel to be seen - and no plans for one either.

The Japanese car-maker says pure diesels are on the way out as European legislators turn to the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOX) a car produces rather than taxing vehicles on CO2 emissions.

NOX are particles which cause smog, acid rain and degrade air quality and the US uses them as the standard to gauge exhaust emissions. In Europe the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics has become the benchmark in this class with its CO2 rating of 109g/km, average fuel economy of 69mpg and a company car tax banding of 16 per cent - but it produces 0.035g/km of NOX.

The Lexus hybrid may not have the edge when it comes to fuel consumption but it trumps the BMW in every other department with CO2 down to 99g/km, company car tax of 11 per cent and NOX down to 0.027g/km. And when running purely in electric mode, which it can manage for more than a mile in heavy traffic, exhaust emissions are absolutely zero.

Factor in the lower price of petrol and with an official fuel figure of 65.7mpg the Lexus IS 300h is cheaper to run, although at PS29,495 it will cost PS1,000 more to buy than the 320d.

The third generation IS will arrive in July. Inside it is packed with equipment and roomier. As well as the hybrid the new IS will be available with a 2.5-litre V6 engine developing 205bhp which is not only quicker but PS3,000 less than the 300h.

That one will be badged the IS 250 and come in four trim levels with prices topping out at PS38,495 for the 300h Premier.

We tried the 300h and 250 in mid-grade Luxury trim from PS30,995 and PS27,995 and on the road the ride is smooth, quiet and refined.

However, the hybrid with its CVT gearbox has not got the same punch as the V6. …

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