Lexus IS200 SportCross | Part Three

Optimum Weight Distribution Assures Precise Handling

Praised from the outset for turn-in responses and out-of-corner traction among the best in any class, the front engine, rear-wheel drive configuration of the IS range provides the best possible levels of control and driver enjoyment. Sophisticated multi-link double wishbone suspension is fitted front and rear to all IS models to enable the best possible balance between optimum steering response, ride comfort and precision handling.

This is enhanced by optimum front to rear weight distribution, achieved by reducing front and rear overhangs to a minimum and moving heavy items inside the car’s wheelbase. Careful design of the rear of the SportCross ensures that both the torsional rigidity and weight distribution remain the same as the saloon – a unique attribute in any five-door car.

Large diameter front and rear brake discs, ventilated at the front, allow stopping distances, with either hot or cold discs, to be among the best in the class which emphasises the car’s role as a performance leader.

Braking performance is further enhanced by the use of a large master cylinder diameter to further improve brake pedal feel, along with the adoption of ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution).

A further significant safety enhancement is the use of Brake Assist, which interprets a quick push of the brake pedal as emergency braking and supplements the braking power applied to maximise braking performance in conjunction with ABS. This overcomes a known problem in emergencies of drivers not applying sufficient force to the brake pedal.

A key feature of Brake Assist is that the timing and degree of braking assistance is designed to ensure that the driver doesn’t notice anything unusual about the braking operation. When the driver eases up on the brake pedal, the system reduces the amount of assistance it applies.

Active and passive safety has been a major priority in the design of the new Lexus IS series. Precise steering, positive suspension and powerful brakes are all integral parts of the safety package. Standard equipment also includes pre-tensioned front seatbelts with force limiters, along with driver and front passenger SRS airbags, plus side Curtain Shield SRS airbags.

If sensors mounted in the bottom of the centre pillar detect an impact from the side, the side airbag and curtain shield airbag are employed at the same time. This enables passengers to avoid direct impact to the head from objects inside the car such as the door pillar and from objects outside the car such as posts or projecting parts of other vehicles.

Published 10 November 2002 Melanie Carter

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