The IS200 is the Lexus challenger in the compact executive sector of the UK car market competing against established models such as the BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Audi A4. The saloon model went on sale in the UK on 20 May 1999 through a dedicated network of Lexus centres committed to delivering standard-setting customer service.
The IS200 combines a rewarding rear-wheel drive chassis with aggressive contemporary looks and a stylish interior with standard equipment which puts the IS200 on the wish list of many customers bored of the usual executive offerings in this class.
The entire IS series is a sporting proposition, which loses none of the refinement, quality and sheer owner appeal of the bigger executive models that have created such an enthusiastic and evangelical owner base in the UK.
From its launch at the beginning of 1999, the Lexus IS200 successfully challenged the best compact saloons in Europe, to create a new standard in one of the most competitive market places in the industry. This year over 15,000 customers across Europe are set to enjoy the unique and exciting driving experience that is delivered by the IS series.
The Lexus IS200 SportCross builds on the attributes that have made the Lexus IS200 one of the most popular compact luxury sports saloons in Europe. The original philosophy behind the range was created by Lexus engineer Nobuaki Katayama, the Chief Engineer of the IS project. He identified that while most luxury saloons are easy to drive, few were fun – and set out to change that.
"The IS range has a very strong identity," said Mr. Katayama. "The car is different – and expresses the personality of the confident, independent individuals who drive it. The identity and the handling are the strong points of the original IS200, and we knew that we couldn’t dilute those for the sake of more space or extra power. All through the development we made sure that none of the alterations interfered with the balance that we managed to strike with the original car over three years ago.
"In addition, the ‘crossover concept’ of the SportCross introduces a new concept to the Lexus range, offering enhanced levels of versatility without compromising handling or dynamics, thanks to outstanding weight distribution and torsional rigidity."Published 10 November 2002