B80

Looking at buying 'Sportiest' IS

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Hi all,

I currently own run of the mill 14 Civic, but now looking at the market to get something a bit more exciting.

I've been leaning towards german cars such as 340, 440... even golf r's and s3's. Really enjoyed test driving these, but I'm concerned about reliability and maintenance costs if (or when if you believe half the tales on the internet) things go wrong.

This lead me to lexus and their ongoing reputation for reliability.

I'm looking to spend around late teens up to 25kish.

Initial thought was isf, but not sure I want to spend 20k on a 9 year old car. 

So which is would you recommend to me for something that's relatively fun to drive, with decent performance?

 

Looking at autotrader, there appears be loads of 300h, but I'm a bit underwhelmed by the 180bhp and 0-60 of 8.4 seconds. 

Is200 looks more appealing on paper with 245bhp and 0-60 of 7 secs, but not many for sale, none near me.

Not really into modding, but if the 300h could be modded to get near 6 seconds 0-60 that would make things a lot more appealing! 

Overall, maybe my expectations are unrealistic for lexus brand, but would be good to get your opinions.

 

Much appreciated, thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome B80,

I have a BMW and an IS300h and will drive the IS over the BM everyday of the week.
More nimble, sharper handling, a more comfortable driving position and seats and overall just a nicer experience.
I have a 530d with the Msport kit on it, it looks nice but I dread it going in for a service because they seem to cost so much as well.

The BM may be a slight bit faster due to being turbocharged but that’s one of the few upsides.

Sadly modding the IS for more power isn’t really an option, they are not tuneable in the way a petrol or Diesel engine is.


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You can always lease the germans option if you worry abt reliability. 
Hybrid is abt comfort and refinement/ not performance.

if you are telling me that you are only looking for excitement of 0-60 time and sporty look appeal, as opposed to driving dynamics then perhaps the gs450h f-sport may be something you want to test drive (i recently sold it after having it for 10k miles). They are well within your budget. It is very smooth and well built and can do sub 6s 0-60 but its a heavy car so will not offer the nimble/agile feel the german rivals can offer.

And my final advice is get an isf 🙂 test drive it at least 

barry

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Sounds like you need an ISF 

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6 hours ago, B80 said:

Hi all,

I currently own run of the mill 14 Civic, but now looking at the market to get something a bit more exciting.

I've been leaning towards german cars such as 340, 440... even golf r's and s3's. Really enjoyed test driving these, but I'm concerned about reliability and maintenance costs if (or when if you believe half the tales on the internet) things go wrong.

This lead me to lexus and their ongoing reputation for reliability.

I'm looking to spend around late teens up to 25kish.

Initial thought was isf, but not sure I want to spend 20k on a 9 year old car. 

So which is would you recommend to me for something that's relatively fun to drive, with decent performance?

 

Looking at autotrader, there appears be loads of 300h, but I'm a bit underwhelmed by the 180bhp and 0-60 of 8.4 seconds. 

 

Quote

 

 

 

 

Don't get too wrapped up in performance figures with a hybrid, they are totally different to a conventional car. Remember when you hoof it you get an instant boost from the electric motor as well as the petrol engine. 

I certainly found my 2014 IS300h f sport was just as quick in the real world as my previous 2012 Mercedes E250 cdi convertible. 

Try one in the real world, you may be pleasantly surprised. 

Don’t forget the motoring press seem to only think everyone should buy German cars. 

 

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I feel the real world performance of my RC300h is much 'faster' than might be expected from it's stated 0-60 of 8sec. Mid-range acceleration is impressive and makes for fast, safe overtakes.

As posted above take one out for an extended test drive ..

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Thanks for the responses gents.

Like you say, ultimately it's worth taking one for a test drive to experience it for myself.

On Pistonheads people complaining about the CVT being slow and unpredictable, making overtaking dangerous at times.

I had 07 Golf GTD back in 2011 and although the BHP was only 140BHP, the torque was outstanding and made it feel much more powerful.

Are new ISF's in circulation, there's nothing on autotrader newer than 2013.

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21 minutes ago, B80 said:

On Pistonheads people complaining about the CVT being slow and unpredictable, making overtaking dangerous at times.

 

Slow and unpredictable? As, in Normal mode, the transmission has only one 'gear' the 'box is always predictable. The system brings up the engine revs as required and in line with what one experiences with a traditional auto box in kickdown.

Put the car into Sport (or Sport+) mode and instantly one has clearly defined "gears". Place the transmission into 'S' mode and one can have instant, 'PlayStation' like gear changes at the touch of a shift paddle. Change down in preparation for an overtake is just as one would experience from a manual gearbox.

IMHO the E-CVT transmission is the best 'automatic' style transmission I've ever experienced. Add in the relatively simple mechanics one has a very reliable, flexible and responsive transmission.:thumbsup:

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'HOWEVER the powerdelivery is lets say 'challenging'. Its not a slow car, sub 8 seconds to 60 and picks up speed well. But the way the hybridsetup mimics a CVT system isnt great. There is lots of throttle lag as the system takes time to respond to your right foot, and when the power does come its totally nonlinear/unpredictable. Which essenitally means thrashing one down a B road is like navigating a canal in a oil tanker. Really really frustrating car, because the chassis has so much potential, which is runied by the powertrain.'

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=247&t=1765351

There's a few in stock at my local Lexus dealer, so I'll pop down later today.

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ISF's stopped being sold in the UK in 2013. If you want a newer vehicle with similar performance and the glorious V8 you will need a GSF (larger saloon) or RCF (2 door coupe)

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'HOWEVER the powerdelivery is lets say 'challenging'. Its not a slow car, sub 8 seconds to 60 and picks up speed well. But the way the hybridsetup mimics a CVT system isnt great. There is lots of throttle lag as the system takes time to respond to your right foot, and when the power does come its totally nonlinear/unpredictable. Which essenitally means thrashing one down a B road is like navigating a canal in a oil tanker. Really really frustrating car, because the chassis has so much potential, which is runied by the powertrain.'
https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=247&t=1765351
There's a few in stock at my local Lexus dealer, so I'll pop down later today.

Like the guy said, he drives it once a week to fill up.......

I would be more interested in what his wife says about the way the car handles.

IMO the guy clearly hadnt played about with the car, I can show my wife a clean pair of heels on a twisty A road and she doesn’t drive her 530d like miss daisy!! The IS does handle really well, and it will pull very well when required, you just have to know which knobs to turn


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And to echo comments above, I wouldn't pay any attention to reviews. 

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question you need to ask your self is are you looking for a sports car or a luxury car with sporty capabilities?  then narrow it down to hatchback, coupe, or saloon which of these 3 do you prefer? then narrow it down to fuel type, petrol , diesel or hybrid. does it have to me manual or auto? i think once you have ticked those boxes first then you can have an idea what to get. 

so say you looking for a sports car that hits 60 in around 6 secs or below, manual box, naturally aspirated then something like a Nissan 370 Z will do.

if its luxury car with sporty performance be it petrol or diesel manual or auto and 6 secs 0 -60 then of curse you have plenty options from Audi, BM, Jaguar and Merc

if its luxury performance hybrid you then GS450h. 

although 0 - 60 does sell cars and shows performance level of a car it does not tell all the story as some cars will have a quicker 0-60 but does not mean it will out accelerate another car with a slightly slower 0 to 60 in some gears. some cars may have 0 -60 of say 7 secs but their 40 to 70mph time is quicker than another car with a faster 0 - 60 time 

if you worried abut reliability on the German side then you can always budget £10k to 15k for the car and £5k to £8k on acquiring some form of warranty which covers everything for the number of years you are intending on keeping it instead of splashing the whole £25K on just the car.

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Am sorry some of you guys clearly haven't driven something like a 340i at anything close to full throttle if you think a IS300H offers any where near the performance of a modern high powered saloon/hatchback. 

My last car was a 335i which was modded to 380whp (over 400bhp at the crank). Though the IS300H isn't slow, but the difference in performance between a Golf R, S3/S4, 340i and the IS is night and day. 

The IS is super reliable, and extremely smooth when used for commuting/pottering around, but push the drivetrain to over 7/10 and its awful.

The throttle lag is horrible, the power delivery inconsistent, and when the small Battery runs out there is a noticable drop in acceleration.

If you want fun to drive the German cars are in a different league, but if you want reliability than the IS is way ahead.

I wouldn't cross shop between a 340i/Golf R and the IS300H, two completely different breed of cars aimed at different target audience.

My old 335i was the 2nd most unreliable car I have ever owned, and even though it nearly left us stranded in the middle of an Alpine pass when it developed an oil leak on a 2000 mile European road trip I loved that car, quite simply the best combustion car I had the pleasure of owning.

15365466357_8d0cb00bd0_c_d.jpg

Our IS300H is used by my wife to commute to work, nothing has broken in 5 years and its still even on original factory tyres. Though in that time its barely done 28k miles, that fact alone should tell you how much we like driving in it.

Both are great in their own right, if I was make a comparison to my Uni days, one is like the mate who is sensible on a night out, will make sure you get home not too late and call a taxi. The other is the one who pulls a bottle of Vodka out of their pocket even before you get to town, and you wake up the next wondering why there is a ladder next your window and a pot plant on the roof......Chalk and cheese.

As others have already suggested forget the IS300H, look for a ISF, or even the GSF.

16682361891_d11afbd668_c_d.jpg

  • Haha 1

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15 hours ago, Jayw13702 said:


Like the guy said, he drives it once a week to fill up.......

I would be more interested in what his wife says about the way the car handles.

IMO the guy clearly hadnt played about with the car, I can show my wife a clean pair of heels on a twisty A road and she doesn’t drive her 530d like miss daisy!! The IS does handle really well, and it will pull very well when required, you just have to know which knobs to turn

Well if you think a 530d is a benchmark for a 'quick' car that says it all :).

My wife loves our IS, but she barely knows its RWD. The IS handles fine but the powertrain is utter rubbish if you're really pressing on.

To really drive quickly on a B road you need confidence in knowing how much push the engine will give when your existing a corner, add in wet roads, adverse camber, RWD, without trust in the power delivery of the drive train you simply cannot enjoy the car.

I could make 'steering' adjustments in my old 335i, 350Z, DC2 Teg mid corner using my right foot, try that in a IS300H and all you get is lag and unpredictability.

If you think a IS300H pulls well than I don't know what you will make of the pull in a Golf R or similar, and the R isn't even quick anymore by modern standards. Try a full fat P Tesla and than go back go the IS, shopping trolley is not bad description once you have actually driven a car with a powertrain designed for performance.

For anyone who really wants performance on the cheap If you ever get on to the Autobahn the 'pull' of the BMW blown straight 6 at 100mph+ is phenomenal, even matching Supercars with a few mods. A used N54 335i with mods is one of the performance bargains of the past decade, it woudlnt be reliable but it'll make Lambos look mundane, and for alot less cash. For sub £20k nothing else comes close.

The IS300H is a fine car, but to pretend its a performance car you are just lying to yourself. 

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Well if you think a 530d is a benchmark for a 'quick' car that says it all :).
My wife loves our IS, but she barely knows its RWD. The IS handles fine but the powertrain is utter rubbish if you're really pressing on.
To really drive quickly on a B road you need confidence in knowing how much push the engine will give when your existing a corner, add in wet roads, adverse camber, RWD, without trust in the power delivery of the drive train you simply cannot enjoy the car.
I could make 'steering' adjustments in my old 335i, 350Z, DC2 Teg mid corner using my right foot, try that in a IS300H and all you get is lag and unpredictability.
If you think a IS300H pulls well than I don't know what you will make of the pull in a Golf R or similar, and the R isn't even quick anymore by modern standards. Try a full fat P Tesla and than go back go the IS, shopping trolley is not bad description once you have actually driven a car with a powertrain designed for performance.
For anyone who really wants performance on the cheap If you ever get on to the Autobahn the 'pull' of the BMW blown straight 6 at 100mph+ is phenomenal, even matching Supercars with a few mods. A used N54 335i with mods is one of the performance bargains of the past decade, it woudlnt be reliable but it'll make Lambos look mundane, and for alot less cash. For sub £20k nothing else comes close.
[/url] The IS300H is a fine car, but to pretend its a performance car you are just lying to yourself. 

Nowhere in my post did I call the IS a performance car.

Nor did I use the 530d as a benchmark for all other cars, I was merely comparing that with the IS and also underlining the fact the quoted post talked about how little they knew about the IS that they drove once a week.


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6 hours ago, ganzoom said:

if I was make a comparison to my Uni days, one is like the mate who is sensible on a night out, will make sure you get home not too late and call a taxi. The other is the one who pulls a bottle of Vodka out of their pocket even before you get to town, and you wake up the next wondering why there is a ladder next your window and a pot plant on the roof......Chalk and cheese.

Brilliant comparison 😂

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Felt a need to add my two pennyworth… We have had numerous BMWs over the past few decades interspersed with other marques too. For pure driving enjoyment then yes, on a winding fast road absolutely, a large engine BMW delivers. Reliability-wise ours have been middling.

My all-time favourite was an E39 528i auto. I covered 210,000 miles in that car all around the UK and Europe and it was generally reliable – never let me down anywhere other than not starting once in my drive but did need catalytic converters and radiator replacing along with some other more minor items. As a long-distance high-speed mile muncher though I couldn’t fault it. My other notable BMW was a 330i auto (can’t remember the model number but same era as ganzoom’s from his photo – mine did not have the turbos though). The 330i was fast and handled well but actually a disappointment to me compared with my E39 528i as no-where near as accomplished or as comfortable for long distance journeys. Didn’t do so many miles in that 330i but it was 100% reliable though build quality was also down on the 528i. Had a colleague though with a 335i of the same era around the same time who sold his after not too many miles when the turbos started making an odd noise before he was hit with a large repair bill…

When I was looking again to change I seriously considered another BMW – I loved the straight six engine, probably the best engine ever made, but started to struggle to justify buying very top of the range to get this engine as the middle ground was now 4 cylinder turbo units. This fact along with growing congestion, roadworks, ridiculously placed speed cameras and simply a lack of places to really enjoy driving a powerful car at close to full tilt (outside of a track day), LED me to re-evaluate what I needed.

I looked at several different marques, but nothing really grabbed me. Reliability is important to me and I wanted something a bit different if I was going to make a switch from BMW. I started contemplating left field and read the reviews of the IS 300h which were “mixed” …   I decided to take one on a day’s test drive and was very impressed – I went back to the showroom and bought a two-year-old one the next day.

I put the IS 300h in the same league as my E39 528i. A fast and comfortable long-distance tourer with the added benefit that in urban, slow moving, stop start traffic, fuel consumption does not take a hit and progress is serene (compared to an ICE stop start system). In real-life day-to-day driving I haven’t found it lacking in performance. I often leave it in Eco mode to be fair unless I need to push on. For overtaking on A roads, I always put it in Sport for a more immediate response. Does it respond like the 330i – no. In the IS300h mashing the throttle to the floor and point and squirt driving does not give the same satisfaction and there is some lag compared to say the 330i (though it’s no worse in my experience that some other auto boxes – such as Mercedes… - the BMW auto is particularly good). However, if you drive the IS300h regularly (i.e. as your only/main car) you find that feeding in the power progressively rather than mashing the throttle pretty much eliminates much of this lag feeling and pleasingly fast progress can be made in a manner better suited to the car and drive train.

So, in summary what does the OP want from a car? If it’s a point and squirt, pedal to the metal traffic light grand prix, or maxing out on the twistys style of driving, then there are plenty of hot-hatch or other performance saloons that will suit better – in some cases they may come with large and regular repair bills though. If it’s more rounded long-distance touring on today’s congested, roadwork filled and camera festooned roads but with adequate performance for making fast progress when needed (if you ever get the chance) then the IS300h fits the bill.

I have no regrets making the change to the IS300h and would get another without a qualm.

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I agree that it's down to the OP to determine more specifically what sort of car they're looking for, and absolutely agree that the IS300h doesn't cross-shop with 6-cylinder sporting saloons/coupes. 

But I want to discuss "sportiness". 

Far too many people, especially in the motoring press, conflate "performance" (0-60) with "sportiness". Round a track then sure, a 340i will always be "better" than a 330i, but most people, even those that enjoy driving, rarely take a car like that onto a track. I think what a lot more of us do is go out and enjoy a blat down a bit of twisty country road. 

And is "faster" always better? More enjoyable? Let's take some REALLY fast saloon cars - the BMW F90 M5 (617hp, 0-60 in 2.8) and the Tesla Model S Performance (605hp, 0-60 in 2.4), and punt them down a narrow British country A or B road. It would be quite disappointing, because there simply isn't room to remotely exercise the performance of either car - you won't get near 100% throttle, and the limits of the car are somewhere WAY beyond where the driver will either poo themselves or put the car backwards through the nearest hedge. How would that same road be tackled in a Fiesta, where you can get your foot down, hit the limits of what the car can do and really enjoy yourself. Your trip along buttertubs pass might take half as long again, but no one is counting lap times when you're out for a drive; it's a matter of how big is the grin on your face?

So, I go back to the IS250 that I posted somewhere near the top of this thread. A decent chassis, a tuneful naturally aspirated V6, enough performance to not be boring, but also one where you can push the car, get close to some limits. 

There are a few cars on the market that seem to "get" this concept - the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ (0-60 in 8 seconds), the Alpine A110 and Alfa 4C (both small 4-cylinder cars, significantly "slower" than the M5 or Tesla S) and of course the MX-5 (7-9 seconds). 

James May seemed to get this when he looked at the little suzuki 660cc powered Caterham, as providing the fun and enjoyment of a caterham at speeds that you can drive on normal roads, while an R500 is fairly pointless outside of the track. 

When I was first getting into cars the compact sports saloon benchmarks were the E36 328i and then the E46 330i - the recipe wasn't complex: decent suspension setup, longitudinal N/A 6-cyl, RWD and reasonable weight distribution (although BMW polar moments are a bit iffy). Lexus quite successfully copied that with the first gen IS200 and IS300, and the recipe hasn't changed considerably to the most recent IS. The latest 330i is a turbo 4-cyl, but BMW have engaged in the german arms race for power - a 340i now is where the E39 M5 was for power, and somewhat quicker (thanks to turbo torque and modern transmissions).

Ultimately it comes down to what compromises each person is looking to make, of course. We're not all blessed with the funds, space or whatever else to have 5 different cars for specific purposes, and so we compromise on performance or running cost or practicality or whatever. But when it comes to "sportiness", there's much more to it than 0-60 and as good as the IS300h for many things, it ain't sporty - the IS250 is much more so, despite on-paper "parity". 

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I took the R out yesterday and the 300h today - a bit to my own surprise I'm learning towards the Lexus.

More than enough for what I need in the real world. I was getting carried away thinking I needed as much performance as possible, whereas in reality I don't need anything too excessive. 

300h was a nicer place to be , definitely feels more premium and I like the fact you don;t see anywhere near as many on the road compared with other brands.

Loved the savage performance of the R, but put off by boy racer image and much higher potential of theft, plus (if the internet is to be believed) higher ongoing costs of ownership.

This is the 300h I drove:

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201911114250136?radius=1500&model=IS 300&year-from=2015&sort=distance&onesearchad=Used&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=New&make=LEXUS&postcode=bh119lj&advertising-location=at_cars&page=1

Had 2 big scratches; 1 on the front wing, the other on the rear - the sales man said these can be completely removed easily by the body shop.

Not sure if thats reasonable value, no additional extras - solid black fsport.

I actually like the colour (tone) black, but aware I'll be cleaning it more frequently to keep it looking decent.

 

 

 

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On 1/1/2020 at 11:24 AM, B80 said:

Hi all,

I currently own run of the mill 14 Civic, but now looking at the market to get something a bit more exciting

Looking at autotrader, there appears be loads of 300h, but I'm a bit underwhelmed by the 180bhp and 0-60 of 8.4 seconds. 

Is200 looks more appealing on paper with 245bhp and 0-60 of 7 secs, but not many for sale, none near me.

Not really into modding, but if the 300h could be modded to get near 6 seconds 0-60 that would make things a lot more appealing!

Much appreciated, thanks!

i have a black F Sport and on a bright day if you look at the paint you see there is silver flake metallic on an overcast day it does look like a flat black

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On 1/1/2020 at 11:24 AM, B80 said:

Hi all,

I currently own run of the mill 14 Civic, but now looking at the market to get something a bit more exciting.

I've been leaning towards german cars such as 340, 440... even golf r's and s3's. Really enjoyed test driving these, but I'm concerned about reliability and maintenance costs if (or when if you believe half the tales on the internet) things go wrong.

This lead me to lexus and their ongoing reputation for reliability.

I'm looking to spend around late teens up to 25kish.

Initial thought was isf, but not sure I want to spend 20k on a 9 year old car. 

So which is would you recommend to me for something that's relatively fun to drive, with decent performance?

 

Looking at autotrader, there appears be loads of 300h, but I'm a bit underwhelmed by the 180bhp and 0-60 of 8.4 seconds. 

Is200 looks more appealing on paper with 245bhp and 0-60 of 7 secs, but not many for sale, none near me.

Not really into modding, but if the 300h could be modded to get near 6 seconds 0-60 that would make things a lot more appealing! 

Overall, maybe my expectations are unrealistic for lexus brand, but would be good to get your opinions.

 

Much appreciated, thanks!

 

I see you mentioned the IS200t....decent car. 

I owned one for two years but traded it in for a BMW 340i (which you also mentioned ) and trust me there is no comparison, they are in different leagues performance wise as expected. I know I'm going to get slated but no real difference in build quality that said I was getting the last of the F30 before the G20. Infotainment etc streets ahead of the IS so the overall package I feel is better.   

No issues to date in my last two BMW's . The B58 engine in the 340i is a peach (good enough for the Supra) so I would absolutely encourage you to try one if thats what you're looking for ie performance for price. The B58 is also highly reliable (coming up to five years) and no underlying issues reported. On a run expect mid 40's MPG so can be extremely frugal.  

That said , would I own a BMW without an extended warranty - no, but their warranty is bloody good, decent price under 60k mileage and no quibble. 

As you say, do you / we really need that much performance ? Probably not but its nice, its a straight six and well I guess if you're into that its a thing.  

The IS300h is bombproof and would probably be a keeper if you want to sleep at night .I've tended to play the market in recent years between BMW / Lexus and have bounced back an forth since 2007 . Currently in the Bimmer and no regrets until I can find that RCF :wink3:

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another rare compact sporty hybrid saloon to consider is the Infiniti Q50h. apparently hits 60 just shy under 5 secs

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@doog442 which black is the Lexus in your profile pic?  good looking car.

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