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Is200 Ahead Of It's Time?


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I have been admiring the car from both the outside and inside, it's amazing to think that in 1999 this car was first made available. The shape of the car, the curves from the side fenders to the bonnet. I recently parked next to the new 5 series BMW that has replicated the curves from the IS200, and even with my car parked next to it - Nobody would be able to tell that this car is much older. Even on the inside, although the dash is starting to look old now, It was nice to see that the car had a 6 disc changer back in the day when cars mainly just had a tape deck. This is probably one of the reasons the CD changer failed so badly, it was too ahead of it's time! Not forgetting the SAT NAV either, cars being built today do not have them, the 3-series BMW being an example of this.

What the car lacks in power it definitely makes up in the looks department. No rust on my model although it's from 2003, I think this is a stunning car.

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I do agree even now driving on the road i still catch other drivers from the corner of my eye looking at the car..there is nothing the IS has that a modern car in its class doesnt toys wise. people say it lacks power but for a 2ltr non turbo car 150bhp and almost 200NM of torque in its day was good. mordern 2 litre 4 cylinders like the honda accord, Audi A4 FSI BMW 320 (170bhp) are now offering these figures. and IS200 can perform like them on the road but its advantage will lie in the fact that its 6 cylinder 24valaves so will be smooth and wont struggle at high speeds but civic type r's and S2000's will have the upper hand as thier advantage lies in the 9000rpm they can rev to i.e. the more revs an engine has, the more power it would make due to gearing thats why IS200's brother the Altezza RS200 makes 210bhp with its high revs. so gen 1 IS wont look out of place today, they have the style , all the toys of modern car, they smooth to drive and reliable aswell and good thing i like about them is they not as common on the roads as BMW AudiI and Merc :shifty:

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i agree with you aswell. i also think lexus pre IS200 were dull and not atall interesting, but since then the is250 the new gs the gc....building some awesome cars now.

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The IS200 / 300 is a very pretty car, when I bought it I almost waited for the new IS250 and I'm very glad that I didn't as the rest of the range is a bit Vanilla..... But then I still like the style of the Rover P6 and the Pug205

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good thing i like about them is they not as common on the roads as BMW AudiI and Merc :shifty:

Probably one of the biggest attractions from my point of view. A very big factor in my decision to buy one :)

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The IS200 / 300 is a very pretty car,

Damn right it is! I remember sitting in the back of my mum and dads car when I was little, seeing one of these and thinking wow. I want one of them one day. Now I have one and still look at it everyday and think how nice it is.

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Probably one of the biggest attractions from my point of view. A very big factor in my decision to buy one :)

same here was torn between IS300, BMW 330i and Audi 3.0 quattro and tho the BMW and Audi has about 15 and 10 bhp more than the IS i just couldnt see my self following the herd. and with Toyota being the parent company of Lexus, I knew i would be guarenteed reliability which both BMW and Audi could dream of. and it does not feel like a 210bhp car either feels more powerful than the book figures...

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and the weired thing aswell is i can bet over half of IS owners here are still running thier original shocks and exhaust systems sounds like Lexus was designing these parts to last between 15 - 20 years.

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I have been admiring the car from both the outside and inside, it's amazing to think that in 1999 this car was first made available. The shape of the car, the curves from the side fenders to the bonnet. I recently parked next to the new 5 series BMW that has replicated the curves from the IS200, and even with my car parked next to it - Nobody would be able to tell that this car is much older. Even on the inside, although the dash is starting to look old now, It was nice to see that the car had a 6 disc changer back in the day when cars mainly just had a tape deck. This is probably one of the reasons the CD changer failed so badly, it was too ahead of it's time! Not forgetting the SAT NAV either, cars being built today do not have them, the 3-series BMW being an example of this.

What the car lacks in power it definitely makes up in the looks department. No rust on my model although it's from 2003, I think this is a stunning car.

I'm wondering if part of this due to it being japanese though. When I moved to NZ in 2003 I bought a 1995 Mitsi Diamante with a 2.5V6 and a 5 speed tiptronic gearbox, I think only porsche had 5 speed autos at the time, and tip, excellent quality interior plastics, back lit dash (i.e. no printed dash, only visible when ignition on), digital climate control, gorgeous double headlights either side, the 5 series and mercs were all very staid inside at the time, heck most other jappas were too, until the IS and Altezza came along. You get in any circa 1995 euro car and the design of the dash was way behind what the quality jappas were of the same period.

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how many is200's do people see by the way on a daily basis? i see maybe one...if that a day. i love that!

I see a couple. I commented to the wife the other day though that I was pleased we got the sportcross as you don't see many around at all (unlike in NZ where in Altezza Gita guise they are semi common), then we pulled into a car park and there was an IS300 sportcross, doh!

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As far as I can tell my model had hardly any work done to it, so is running all the original parts. The engine is so clean as well, I lifted the bonnet up the other day - It is as if it's straight from the showroom. And don't get me wrong about power, it can definitely keep up with traffic, as long as you remind yourself it's not a race car then it's a satisfying ride.

Engineering brilliance.

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Love the lines of the IS, the rear light clusters set off a new style on after-market parts so hey the car was way ahead of it's time... the only thing I would change is the ugly orange indicator in the headlights go for HID's and get a proper body-kit on it just to get the body lower to the ground and add some extra muscle ( and off-course a sensible lower ride, read coilovers)

if that's all done the car is up to date and very very nice! ( still lacks the DLR lights but that can be sorted, after-market has loads of options)

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The only regret I have is that I bought the SE not the Sport. Salesman persuaded me it was a waste of money and I wouldn't notice the difference. Not so sure with lowered suspension and LSD. The Sport fetches a better price so it wouldn't have cost me more in the end.

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how many is200's do people see by the way on a daily basis? i see maybe one...if that a day. i love that!

When I have my 8 year old nephew in the car we play a game (to keep him quiet) he has to count and write down all Lexus he sees and all BMW he sees ( any model).

On a trip from Swindon to Cardiff down the M4 he counted 107 BMW's and 11 Lexus. None of the Lex were an IS200 or 300 either, all RX's and 1 brand new LS430 and 1 IS250. Says it all. Where I live I can go for days even weeks without seeing another IS200 or 300. I like the exclusivity :)

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I've always loved the IS200/300. The wife bought hers back in 2004 (An 03 plate IS200 Sport with Aero pack) and the one regret we had was not thinking about a 300 instead. She got rid of it about 18 months later when the need for a large car had gone.

Then in 2010 i needed to get rid of my car as it needed quite a bit of work doing on it and i'd had it over 4 years (from new) which was how long i'd said i was gonna have it anyway. As i needed to find something pretty quick i went straight to looking at IS's as i knew there was next to nowt that went wrong with them and after looking at a couple of IS200 Ltd Ed's and a 200 Sport i settled on my 2004 IS300 Ltd Ed. and traded my old car in against it.

It had had the cambelt done on it's 6yr service the year i bought it (the only service it hadn't had done at Lexus but it was done at a Toyota dealership instead) and Lexus Sheffield pulled off it's full service and warranty history. Basically all it had done under warranty was the drivers door release handle cable, and some brake discs!!!

The only issue i've had with it since was the weird whistling that would start at 30mph and keep going till you came back down to around 20-30mph. It had it's last service at Lexus Sheffield and they sorted the whistle out by cleaning up the rear brakes.

It was only ever going to be a temporary stop gap till the summer of 2011 when i could have a proper look around for a car but the little 'un arrived in the summer of last year and the wife has been driving it during her year off on maternity and was the one who said to keep it instead of looking for another car!!!

It drives like it's maybe a couple of years old and not like the 8 years old that it actually is!!! Ok so it's not the most economical car but to be fair our other car is a diesel, so i use that for my 50 mile round trip to work and the wife uses my IS for her 8 mile round trip to work so the cost doesn't really show up too much if you see what i mean. After speaking to a few mates they all made me realize that why should i get rid of a car that has absolutely nowt wrong with it and that only does around 3-4k a year so it's poorer mpg doesn't make much of a difference anyway....

Cheers

Dave.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks was one of the first things that drew me to thinking about getting an IS. I always liked the look of them when I was younger (I'm 30 now), and randomly began thinking about getting one a couple years back. I only just got round to getting one at the weekend, and I still think, even by todays standards, they look good - even "relevant". Granted, the current trend is slab sided with minimal lines (ie, no rubbing strips and minimal swage lines), like the Audi's and Beemer's, but the IS still doesn't, at least to me, look out of date. Kinda like a Pink Floyd record :D

But if you wanna talk about cars looking ahead of their time back in the day, I still stand by the Ford Sierra and (mk2) Vauxhall Astra;

This in 1982;

ford_sierra_1982_hatchback_3d_495b.jpg

And this in 1984;

$(KGrHqZ,!loE5YQPF,C-BOcMP0RY-!~~_12.JPG

Both were MILES away from nearly everything else out at that time - which were all still square, angular cars. The curvy "bubble-esque" shapes of the Sierra and Astra was a massive departure, IMO

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Love the IS but the front is slowly letting the car down if they where to create an aftermarket bumper that incorporates DRL's and a bigger air intake the IS would be good to go for another decade.

but if you want to talk about landmark cars.....there is only 1 :

VW GOLF

this car created the base line for all these cars... yes even the c segment as the golf got more luxurious and bigger the c-segment had to offer more just to keep their consumers happy... this is where the 3 series started to be more luxurious and faster and the IS had to be on par with the BMW 3 series to stand a change in the c-segment

Also Lexus managed to get a bunch of sales rep's to switch their company VW Golf's to the IS just because it was well equipped and more affordable then the BMW 3 series (read BMW 320i Executive) or the VW Golf in top spec (read VW golf VR6 highline).

But yeah I still have a warm spot for the VW golf's starting from the mk1 all the way up to the last mk6 with my favourites being: the mk1 GTI / MK2 rally / MK3 VR6 / MK4 & MK5 r32 / Golf R

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how many is200's do people see by the way on a daily basis? i see maybe one...if that a day. i love that!

I see a couple. I commented to the wife the other day though that I was pleased we got the sportcross as you don't see many around at all (unlike in NZ where in Altezza Gita guise they are semi common), then we pulled into a car park and there was an IS300 sportcross, doh!

If you want rare you want the one I've got.... According to howmanyleft.co.uk there were only ever 191 of them registered new in the UK.

I've yet to see another 300 LE on the road yet. There is a 200 LE round the corner from us though which is the closest I've come. :)

Cheers

Dave.

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@kenfoxy - Not much of a salesman advising you it would be a waste of money lol. Wonder what he is doing now?

There is a modern bumper out there called the legana. No DRL though, Unless there is someone on here who could make the fog lights switch on from the engine. But finding a legana in the UK is like finding a needle in a haystack.

I have been tempted to get the DEPO LED tail-lights from the USA, they are selling them on eBay for £90 a pair. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be matching rear-fogs, so I have put this off as I don't like mix-and-maxing.

Pics:

ltunedqo3.jpg

tailllights2.jpg

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