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J Henderson

My IS250 F-Sport

3 posts in this topic

Hi, and welcome to the story so far of my IS250. I figured since I have started to change a few things, and with some more mods & upgrades planned, I should probably keep tabs on my progress and try and document as much as possible. I enjoy reading this kind of thing about other people's cars, so hopefully you will too. If nothing else, it'll be something useful for the next owner to have a gander at when I eventually part company with it.

So, the car then. It's an Argento Ice (1G1) 2011 F-Sport with optional Navigation unit, and it's an automatic of course. I traveled just under 200mls by train, to Darlington, to buy it from a thoroughly nice chap and fellow LOC member in late August 2016.
This is my third Lexus IS and my second IS250 F-Sport in a relative short space of time. The previous one being a 2010 model in the rare Sable Metallic (4T5) but this was sadly written-off inside a year with only 27K on the clock. Finding another low-miles F-Sport to replace it proved to be quite difficult and after a couple of months of fruitless searching I was starting to give serious consideration to buying something else. Then one day, someone on the forum announced that they were selling-up...

Being honest, silver was not my 1st-choice when looking for a replacement. In fact it was probably near the bottom of the pile in terms of desirability, but the price was just too good to ignore and it sounded like a great car - one owner (a LOC member, no less), 36K miles, FSH & it had been kept in a garage since new. At this point I was thoroughly fed-up of having to borrow other people's cars to get around so I was prepared to compromise and a deal was quickly struck.

On the day I arrived to see the car in the flesh for the first time, any misgivings I had about the colour disappeared the minute I pulled-up to the seller's house in a taxi. It was a gloriously sunny day and the IS looked absolutely amazing, sitting there, spotlessly-clean on the driveway. I knew right then and there that I would be going home in it. I quickly told the driver to keep the change because I couldn't wait to exit the taxi and have a closer look. :biggrin:
After chatting with the seller over a cuppa and pouring over the car's history and piles of receipts, it was evident that the car had been well looked-after since the day it was purchased from Lexus Nottingham in April 2011. The test drive was pretty short. Just a mere formality really as I was already very familiar with how an IS250 behaves on the road and there was nothing to be concerned about, so the deal was finalised over another cuppa and then the car was mine. :smile:

There was a generous amount of fuel still left in the tank at the point of sale, but I brimmed the car at Scotch Corner services and planned the journey home on the sat-nav. The obvious choice would've been to head up the A1, but I wasn't in a hurry so instead I headed west on a relaxed cruise along the A66 towards Penrith where I would join the M6, and then subsequently the M74 as I crossed the border before eventually turning off at Abington services in the Clyde Valley to join one of my favourite driving roads, the A702.

This is a road that I'm very familiar with and it has it all; great scenery, sweeping fast corners, dips, rises, a few sleepy towns & villages to cruise through, twisty technical sections and plenty of long straights and clear sightlines for overtaking opportunities. Best of all, there's no speed cameras so you can really explore the limits of whatever you're driving. Taking in this road whilst getting to know my new car truly was the icing on the cake. :smile:

(forgive my lengthy into and waffling but I really did enjoy the whole buying experience of acquiring this car, so I thought I would share it...)

Anyway, here's a couple of pics from the sales ad showing how the car looked before I bought it.

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My first six months or so with the car were fairly uneventful. It had just been serviced, MOT'd and kitted-out with a new set of tyres shortly before it went up for sale, so all I had to do was get it taxed and enjoy it. My first modification (if you can call it that), was in November when I prepped the car for the miserable Scottish winter weather - by swapping out the OEM floor mats for the set of genuine Lexus rubber mats that were included with the car, and by switching to winter tyres.

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The winter setup was a carry-over from my previous IS250 consisting of 18" 3rd-gen F-Sport wheels shod with 225/40F / 245/40R Pirelli Sottozero 3 tyres, so this was something that didn't cost anything, and arguably looked better than stock so I was happy for my car to wear these for the next 4 or 5 months.

The 2016/17 winter weather was particularly awful. Not to the extent that winter tyres were required, but it just seemed to be constantly raining and/or very windy, especially on the occasions when I actually had some free time! So during the dark winter months I just planned what I was going to do next and armed myself with some knowledge, and also picked up a few parts.

Fast-forward to the spring and it was time to switch back to summer tyres. A successful PPI claim had given me some funds to play with so I wanted to upgrade to a set of staggered 19" wheels. Sure, the stock 18's look good on a 2nd-gen IS, but 19's look even better!. My initial plan was to save up for a set of graphite OZ Superturismo LMs, but these are pretty expensive and rarely show up on the used market, so I mulled this over for a number of weeks before deciding on my alternative choice of wheel - the OEM "blade" wheels off an IS-F.

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Produced for Lexus by BBS Japan, these forged and relatively lightweight wheels were hardly a booby prize and were actually a good choice for what I want to achieve. My overall goal for the car could be described as "OEM Plus". To try and make some tasteful improvements to how it looks and performs without ruining it, and to add a bit more of a sporting flavour without it looking out of place. At the end of the day this is my daily driver and I still want it to feel like a Lexus so I'll be using high quality aftermarket or genuine parts from within the Lexus family where possible. In this regard the IS-F wheels are ideal, so when a newly-refurbished set showed up on eBay, I snapped them up.

Once the wheels arrived (from Latvia!), my next point of deliberation was tyre choice. I had narrowed the short-list of candidates down to three - Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3, Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 or Michelin Pilot Super Sports. In the end I stumped-up for the more expensive Michelins as they've been proven quality for years and are still featuring as an OEM application on various performance cars. Whilst, on the other hand, the other two are quite new on the market with less known about them. Regarding sizes, I took the safe option and went with stock widths as I didn't want to run into problems when I lower the car a touch.

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I didn't weigh them but just by handling them during fitting and removal and moving the various wheels in and out of storage a few times, the new wheel & tyre combo certainly felt lighter than the OEM F-Sport alloys, despite them being larger. What isn't in question though, is just how much sharper and more precise the steering feels with them, plus grip is superb.

Refinement suffered a little of course, but I would say only a little as the car still rides extremely well. On my initial impressions, I was more concerned about the increased road noise and thought I had made a huge mistake, because, boy were these things loud! Thankfully they got a lot quieter after putting a few miles on them but they're still probably louder than a lot of other tyres on the market. I would happily buy them again though.

Around this time I also gave the car it's first proper detail during my ownership, and it was badly-needed. After months of being caked with dirt and rock salt, the sides of the car felt like sandpaper, There were literally hundreds of tar spots, so an extensive decontamination and clay bar session paved the way for a course of Super Resin Polish and a coat of Soft99 Fusso Coat. This restored some much-needed shine and lustre to the paintwork, and for the first time in ages, it was actually protected from the elements.

(Obligatory snow foam pics)

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April saw the car pay a visit to Lexus Edinburgh to be serviced and MOT'd and it sailed through with no advisories. In fact, the service manager commented on how clean it was, and how he had to double-check whether they had washed it or not. :smile:

Next up, was to install a dash-cam. In my previous car I had the relatively cheap, but excellent A118c. And I was in the market for a new one because I carelessly forgot to remove it from the wreck before it was taken away. Anyhow, suitably impressed with how it had performed, I was all set to buy another one when I noticed that there was now an A119 on the market. This promised to be even better and could be installed just as discreetly as the older camera, so I ponied-up an extra few quid to grab one, along with the optional GPS module and a CPL filter.

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This time, I wanted to make use of the parking mode so that meant hard-wiring it into an "always-on" circuit, so I tapped into the keyless entry system. I was a little worried that this would drain the battery and leave the car unable to start, but so far so good. I've left the car parked-up for 3 or 4 days at a time without any trouble.

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This is especially impressive, since, after reviewing some footage that was captured whilst parked, it would appear that the motion sensor is pretty sensitive and will trigger the camera into recording an "event" quite easily, So, at times (like when it's raining) the camera can effectively be recording 24/7, yet it doesn't seem to be too much of a burden on the battery. This is something I'm mindful of though, so I'm keeping an eye on it.

For the past couple of months, I've just been concentrating on keeping the car clean, but a couple of days ago I done my first "performance" mod when I swapped-out the standard air intake for the official F-Sport one (PTR03-53100). I'd had one of these in my eBay watch list for about 2 years, just waiting for a deal nice enough for me to pull the trigger on. Well, such a deal showed up a couple of weeks ago so I jumped on it.

Some pics I took during fitting.

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Installation was a breeze, very straightforward and quick. I took my time however and cleaned my MAF sensor at the same time, and also cleaned-up some parts of the engine bay that were dusty & dirty before putting everything back together. As for the intake, it's a nice piece of kit. Being an OEM upgrade, you would expect the quality to be very good and the fitment to be perfect, and it is.

The general consensus seems to be that this will free up around 3-5 bhp, but that's not something that can be felt. What is noticeable though is the induction sound. There's very little difference, if any, during normal driving but when you push the revs above 3K you're greeted with a fantastic throaty roar.

My next move will probably be to lower the car another 10mm or so via a set of H&R springs that I bought ages ago, but until then here's a few pics of how the car looks today.

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Excellent write up, thoroughly loved reading your adventure getting your next project and having 'been there done that' it is great to get a good result although you do despair at times!

can't wait for the next instalment.......

paul m.

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A crackin' write up John, thanks for sharing. Your car looks very smart and is a credit to you :thumbup1:

You're right that the build log is helpful to keep track of when you did what. It's also useful to look back and see how the car has evolved.

Looking forward to future updates.

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