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Is 300H - S Mode Gearshift Operation & Good Deals

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I've pretty much decided to buy an IS 300H Executive Edition following a test drive and generally very good comments on this Forum - thanks to all.

I have an offer from my local dealer for an Executive Edition in metallic paint for £27,500 (cash) which seems like a good offer to a private buyer - unless someone knows better? Lexus are also offering a £1500 'contribution' in addition if you take PCP finance, but the overall cost works out about the same as paying cash taking into account the interest charged.

I didn't try 'S Mode Driving' in the test drive (using the +/- gearshift paddles) and it's unclear how this operates from the Owners Manual (p 218-220). How does S Mode operate? Does S Mode lock a particular gear ratio on the CVT transmission or just constrain the range of ratios the CVT uses? Do people find this a useful feature and when do you use it?

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S mode makes the car more responsive faster acceleration etc. I have tried it and was soon at 90 and it felt like 70.

The paddles will sort of change up and down but the car will override you if it decides to depending on revs they are a bit pointless imho. I drive in Normal mode most of the time. I bought an auto because I dont want manual changes!!

Ed :flowers:

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We bought our premiere through Drivethedeal.com

They were doing 15% off list price, so on an executive spec will be about £25.5k. If you take out Lexus finance your get an extra £1.5k (Was only £1k when we ordered ours) off bringing the total down to £24k. We paid £34.5k for our premiere, list price was £41k....Local dealer couldn't get any where near that price!!

We are going to pay off the finance after 1 month, after putting down largest deposit possible. The terms and conditions state early repayment charge apply as dictated by law...which is 1% of out standing debt which in our case will be £235, so essentially we got an additional £725 off list price by taking up Lexus finance contribution. That figure will be bigger in your case because the Excutive spec is cheaper, and finance contribution is up by £500!!

Have fun picking your car....Hardest bit is waiting for delivery....We ordered ours late November last year, we are due to pick up this Sunday :)

Oh the 'Sport' mode is next to useless on the IS, but that's not really USP of the car.

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IMO the flappy paddles are pointless. That said, Sport mode is great fun and turns the car into a very different animal from that found when in Normal mode. Eco is pretty pointless too, it makes the car sluggish and unresponsive without any improvement in mpg that "Eco" would suggest.

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I understand that S gear is used mainly for driving downhill and charging the Battery efficiently, instead of braking repeatedly when going downhill. It is akin to engine braking with gears, with other cars when driving a steep hill. It is similar to the 'B' gear in Toyota Prius..

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Oh the 'Sport' mode is next to useless on the IS, but that's not really USP of the car.

I suspect you won't be saying that after you've actually owned one for a few months.

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Sport mode makes the car more responsive and I think it tightens the steering up to. I kind of agree speed and boy racer driving is not its usp but it's there if you want it. When I tried it my car flew.

Ed.

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S mode on the gearbox, puts steps into the CVT transmission and basically creates 6 'gears' to use with paddles and the stick.

Combined with Sport mode, it can turn the car into a very different experience, as it will stay in that 'gear' all the way to the red line. Turn up the active sound control and you can have a bit of fun.

The car is 220bhp and more than capable of surprising other petrol and diesel compact execs.

Even in normal D mode, you can pull a paddle at any time to change down/up, if you want more engine braking or to hold a gear for a reason. Pulling and holding the + paddle puts it back into D auto mode.

Weirdly, even in S6 gear, you still get 'kickdown' if you mash the accelerator into the carpet, though it doesn't change down?!?

Eco mode changes the throttle pedal mapping so the pedal is less sensitive, but it also uses far more EV mode, so economy is better, Sport mode the throttle pedal is far more sensitive and it tends to keep the engine running most of time and the hybrid is used for extra torque. Normal is a compromise between the two.

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Thanks for the above feedback.

Steve44 said "S mode on the gearbox, puts steps into the CVT transmission and basically creates 6 'gears' to use with paddles and the stick."

Are the 6 gear ratios fixed, or does the S Mode constrain the CVT to operate within 6 gear ratio bands, each having a min / max ratio limit? Is there a reference about how the CVT operates? Sorry to ask, but as a scientist, I'm interested in how things work.

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CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission, so doesn't have fixed gear ratios as such, instead constantly varies the ratio to give the best it can in performance, engine power, economy etc. The S Mode basically puts fixed points in the CVT variability, so it moves from ratio point to point like a normal 6 speed gearbox, when you pull a paddle or move the stick.

It complicated by the Lexus Hybrid drive system, which uses a planetary gear solution to integrate the engine and the motor/generator unit, with the car electronics blending the engine/motor power together.

Have a read here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive and http://blog.lexus.co.uk/2014/01/perfect-partners-e-cvt-and-hybrid/

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CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission, so doesn't have fixed gear ratios as such, instead constantly varies the ratio to give the best it can in performance, engine power, economy etc. The S Mode basically puts fixed points in the CVT variability, so it moves from ratio point to point like a normal 6 speed gearbox, when you pull a paddle or move the stick.

It complicated by the Lexus Hybrid drive system, which uses a planetary gear solution to integrate the engine and the motor/generator unit, with the car electronics blending the engine/motor power together.

Have a read here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Synergy_Drive and http://blog.lexus.co.uk/2014/01/perfect-partners-e-cvt-and-hybrid/

Im not so sure the 6 gears even exist. When I drove the IS300h, it felt like the car was dabbing the actual brakes to mimick a gear change? It feels much better left in auto really!

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Thanks for the above information.

How does the IS 300H transmission cope with reversing up a steep hill? My father has a 15' length of steep driveway (about 1 in 3) which I need to reverse out of. Will this be a problem?

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I have heard a lot of people say the S mode is pointless and gets over-ridden too easily.

Personally I find it great, but only once the car is placed in "manual mode" & Sport mode together.

Switching to manual will drop the car down a gear ratio straight away, and with sport engaged it goes like a rocket.

The paddles then can switch up or down as you desire, reving all the way to the red line in the given "ratios". This makes a huge difference, and the car really moves.

If you use Sport mode in Automatic mode, then the paddles are pointless, as the car will decide for you and override your decision which is annoying.

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Thanks for the above information.

How does the IS 300H transmission cope with reversing up a steep hill? My father has a 15' length of steep driveway (about 1 in 3) which I need to reverse out of. Will this be a problem?

There isn't a reverse gear as such, just the motor providing torque/power in reverse I believe, with the engine running in generator mode if the Battery is low. I've not had any issues, not heard of any one else having issues with steep hills or reverse.

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I'm still trying to get my head around how the transmission works. It's actually not a conventional CVT system, or anything like a traditional auto box with torque converters...This website is useful , but Im still not sure about how it all works.

http://eahart.com/prius/psd/

As I understand the whole system is designed from the ground up for maximum efficiency/comfort. I suspect S mode was forced on to the technical team by the marketing department. For fun/fast/sporty driving my BMW 335i is better than the IS300H in every way despite the fact it has a old 6 speed ZF gear box. If it came down to a sprint down a twisty B road between the two the IS would be a dot in the rear view mirror of the BMW within a few corners....'S' mode or not :P

But this debate has been done before, and for 95% of the time all I want in a car is something that is comfortable/refined/full of gadgets and economical. On those fronts the IS destroys the BMW, and by some margin. We'll never use 'S' mode in the IS300H, simply because for us that's not the point of the car :)

I would love a go in the IS350 though, we all know how much the press is in love the German brands, so for them to rank the IS350 higher than the 335i, it must be some machine!!!

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/road-tests/reviews/a5213/the-comparison-65-3-roa1013/

On another note, the registration documents for our car just appeared in the post...Just need to get hold of the car now :D

16487543799_40af17c187.jpg

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