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Lexus IS 300



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    superrobo... Latest issue of CR has a report on high performance all-season tires and ultra high performance summer tires. They are one of the few sources to attempt to report on relative performance in tires. Interesting results and comments.
  • z71billz71bill Posts: 2,000
    The difference in size is small -

    The 245's are .5 inch taller (which is only .25 inch more tire in the wheel well)

    The 245's are also .5 inch wider in the middle of the tire (again that's only .25 inch more on each side), but .4 inch wider at the tread.

    The 215's fit on wheels that are 7-8 inches wide, the 225's are rated for 7-8.5 inch wheels.

    Your speedo will be off by about 2% - when speedo says 70 MPH you are realy going 71.5.
  • For what I understand..
    the size difference between 225/45 R17 and 215/45R17 tires are minimal, so, 225 tires should fit in the wheel wells, correct ?? (except for the error in speedo )
    The only concern is, will the 225 tires fit in the 215 wheels ??
    Should I go ahead get the 225 tires ? Suggestions ??
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I have 225s on aftermarket 17x8 wheels with a 50mm offset. I think the stock 17x7 wheel has a 50mm offset also. The 225's rim width range is 7-8.5" so you should be fine and shouldn't have any rubbing problems. Mind don't rub. The car will handle better and stop better with 225s. Ride will probably not change very much, if at all, since you have the same aspect ratio as stock and same rim width.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Check out the TRD catalog. For the IS300, it has "18" x 7.5" wheels" with "Yokohama ES100 225/40-18 tires come mounted and balanced, READY TO BOLT RIGHT ON YOUR IS300 FOR AN IMMEDIATE handling upgrade." TRD calls it "this plus-one wheel/tire combination".
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,320
    I'm not sure I would go with 225 tires, if it calls for 215... As far as the fit, thats only 4/10ths of an inch... insignificant as far as width... But I wouldn't want to have my odometer and speedometer error increased by 2%. If you truly want bigger tires, I'd go with the plus one option, that riez has suggested above.

    I see no advantage to getting 225's on your current wheels.. If its just because you are getting a great deal on that size, or that tire isn't available in 215, then I would just keep looking. If I'm upgrading size, I would want to go to plusone, and have the same exact rolling diameter. You don't want to have to explain to someone that buys your car someday, how the mileage might not be exact, because of the tires you put on it.

    My $.02


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    Two other things to think about with 18s. The tires and wheels tend to weigh more and 40 series have a firmer ride.

    For speedo error, 2% of 100 MPH is 2 MPH; 2% of 50 MPH is 1 MPH. I thought most stock speedos tend to read a little slow anyway?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    If you want better handling and are (potentially) willing to give up some ride quality, go with the plus one upgrade. Isn't the point of a boy-racer car like the IS300 to get better all around performance and not worry too much about losing some luxury feel?

    But you never know if you really give up too much ride quality. There are some good riding and low noise 18 inch 40 profile tires out there. Not sure the standard Potenzas, either summer or all season, are really that great a tire. I'd rather have summer Michelin Pilot Sports or Continental ContiSportContact 2s.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    IS300 sales down from last year. But so are all Lexus sedan sales. Lexus seems to be focusing on SUVs.
    Make Model September 2003 August 2003 YTD 2003 YTD 2002

    Lexus ES 300 5,128 4,983 47,453 54,149
    Lexus LS 430 1,739 2,168 15,583 19,909
    Lexus GS 300 858 1,096 8,614 11,113
    Lexus IS 300 848 1,420 10,954 16,341
    Lexus GS 430 158 141 1,602 1,815
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I found the RE040 tires to be pretty good wet or dry. I did a few laps on the local race track in my car and found the tires to be about what you would expect from a Hi-perf street tire. They were pretty predictable and let you know when they started running out of grip.

    My only beef with the RE040s is they wear out too fast if you drive the car even moderately hard and cost too much to replace. There are a lot of other tires out there that provide equal handling and will last longer and cost less.

    I can recommend the GoodYear F1 GS-D3s. I have a set on now and like them. They are noticeably better in the rain and are equal or better than the RE040s in the dry. The wear seems to be better also.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    jmess... Be thankful you have the better summer tires. Here in midwest, dealers appear to order all their IS300s with the Bridgestone Potenza RE92 all-season tires. Mediocre. Can't wait to put on some better high performance tires. Won't come too soon. But I'm a bit too cheap to replace with only 1,900 miles and 1 month ownership. I'll put winter tires on in late Nov or early Dec. Then this coming spring I'll swap out the winter tires for real tires. I might go the extra buck for Michelin Pilot Sports.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    The RE92s are awful. They are the shoes that came stock on my Prelude. They slide amd break traction easily in the wet. I too can't wait to replace them.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Noticed that Lexus' website has a section on the "Lexus I-S Performance Lease and APR--Special Lease and Financing Rates Available." Offer ends 1/2/04. No details. You have to contact your local Lexus dealer.

    "Racing is all about timing. And if you've been waiting to get a racing-inspired I·S, your timing is perfect.

    Experience the uncompromising luxury and dynamic performance that make the I·S so exhilarating to drive. Make your commute feel like a joyride, and your drive around the block feel like a lap around a speedway.

    With this special lease and low APR financing rate, there's no better time to get a 2004 I·S. Just contact your Lexus dealer to find out more. And don't let this opportunity pass."
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Was drooling over the Team Lexus data. Too bad we can't buy one of these at retail at our nearest Lexus dealer!

    Car Data—IS 300

     Engine Type In — line, 6 iron block, aluminum head, certified low emission vehicle (LEV)
     Displacement 3.0 liters (183 cubic inches)
     Valve Train Twin cam, four valves per cylinder, with continuously variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT—i)
     Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
    Power at RPM

     235 hp @ 6,000
     Torque at RPM 218 lb — ft @ 3.800
     0 — 60 MPH Acceleration 6.4 seconds
     1/4 mile acceleration 13.7 seconds Top
     Track Speed 151.7 MPH
     Fuel Consumption 17/24 mpg city/highway
     Aerodynamic Drag Coefficient 0.29
     Turning Circle 37.1 ft
     Power to Weight Ratio 15.2 lb per hp

     Engine Management Pectel
     Exhaust Borla Performance Industries
     Transmission Getrag 6 speed manual
     Drive Wheels rear drive
     Fuel Capacity 17.5 gal
     Spark Plugs Toyota/Denso
     Chassis welded — steel unibody
     Bodywork L Tuned
     Weight 2750 lbs
     Suspension Protrac shock absorption
     Kirk-Habicht Springs
  • As far as the ad on goes, I wouldn't panic and run over to grab those deals. It seems like that same basic "special" lease and financing notice, with the same or similar wording, has been on that site since I first started looking almost a year ago.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fredmcmurray... You wrote, "I wouldn't panic and run over to grab those deals."

    Don't you think the IS300 is such a good car that tons of people, anyone who enjoy a great drive, should be beating down the doors of their local Lexus dealer to buy one?

    The deals just make the decision that much easier.

    Too bad IS300 sales are languishing. But so is the rest of the Lexus sedan line up. All the action is in SUVs. In August, SUVs were about 53% of total Lexus sales. Sad.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    I think they could get more HP out of the engine if it wasn't for the class rules they run under.

    Interestingly, I remember reading that at one point they had disconnected the VVT-I and went with different camshafts. Road race engines spend most of their time above 4000 RPMs so you don't need VVT-I to manage the torque at the lowend since you are always in the high end of the RPM range. They may have solved some of their VVT-I problems with the aftermarket engine management system they are using now.

    I found that driving a race preped car on the street was not very much fun. They tend to wander around due to the alignment and you feel every bump due to the aggressive tires, springs, and shocks. Road and drive train noise also beat you up. Things don't settle down until you get up to speeds that draw a lot of attention. Having numbers on the side of the car doesn't help either?

    It would be far cheaper to stick on a supercharger and tighten up the stock suspension. I saw a dyno report showing the PLP PowerDyne 7 PSI supercharger kit makes 245 HP at the rear wheels vs 175 for a stock e-shift car. The mechanical efficiency of the 5-speed produces 265 HP with the same kit.

    The dyno showed 190HP at the rear for a 5-speed car and 265 HP with the SC kit. So reiz you have a faster car. One of the challenges of dynoing the e-shift has something to do with having to use 3rd gear in the e-shift vs 4th in the manual. This is supposed to make the e-shift look a little worse than it really is.

    Considering the depreciation of buying a new car, at $5K installed this kit almost makes sense. The challenge is the difficulty you would have with warranty claims if you ever had anything happen that they could claim was caused by the additional HP the SC kit produces. Not an issue when your cars warranty expires though.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    "Sad" is an understatement Riez. It's a travesty if you asked me. Not just that the sales of Lexus sedans are down, but the fact that so many people are still buying SUVs!!! :-( I'll save my comments pertaining to the SUV craze for the 'I don't like SUVs, why do you?' discussion board. I could go off on a turgid diatribe regarding that subject. But I'll spare you guys.

    The IS300 is one of the most underrated vehicles on the market today by my definition. Lots of folks bash these cars, but I think they're really nice. No, they're not the ideal family sedan. But that's not what they were designed for. I'd say they are geared more towards single people and DINK(Dual Income No Kids)couples. I've heard people ripping on the IS300 for two or three years now for its size, boy racer image, you name it. Okay, so the rear seat and trunk spaces could be somewhat better. I'll admit that. But other than these two issues, I think they're awesome cars. The IS300 is far too classy-looking to be considered "boy racer" in appearance. There may be a couple of similarities, but the IS300 really does exude elegance compared to the graphic-laden Hondas, Acuras and Toyotas that are definitely "boy racer" rides.

    The initial build quality is excellent on these cars. It's hard to beat Lexus in that category! The hood prop rod complaint pertaining to the IS300 is nit-picky to me. Have you ever heard of a hood prop rod wearing out? I haven't. But I have heard of gas shock-type hood supports giving problems and having to be replaced. Besides, how many IS300 owners do you think are inconvenienced by the hood prop rod's location? Probably not too many--because I seriously doubt that there are a lot of IS300 owners that will be doing their own maintenance as the vehicle ages and needs repair work performed on it.

    On the positive side, I do get a lot of compliments from people at work, in mall parking lots, etc. on my 2002 IS300. One young couple came up to me the other day and said, "That is our dream car!!! Someday we hope to own a car just like yours." So, the IS300 does draw a lot of negative comments from people on these discussion boards and in magazine reviews. But at least there are some of us out there that still think they're hot cars. Hopefully the overall Lexus sedan sales will pick back up in the not too distant future. The IS300 is a good value if you asked me. So are other Lexus sedans when compared to the offerings of Merc and BMW. And there's no doubt that the Lexus brand vehicles are of top notch build quality as today's vehicles go. Anyone that would try to refute that statement is extremely self-delusional. Yes, all of the world's automakers have their share of lemons. Even my beloved Lexus brand. But you have to consider what the odds of getting a lemon with a brand such as Lexus is versus Ford, GM or Daimler-Chrysler. Not trying to pick on the Big 2.5 here. I could have thrown KIA, Hyundai or even Mercedes into that sentence just as easily...

    Ron M.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ron_m... Great post. You're preachin' to the choir.

    Just don't sell the IS300 short as a family sport sedan. My wife and I have no problem getting ourselves and our two kids (11 & 12) into it. I take two adult co-workers with me on 300 mile business trips. No problem. They both love it.

    Don't think it would kill Lexus to ditch the prop rod and use multi-link trunk hinges (to get more useable trunk space). But they still don't detract from this serious sport sedan.

    [Man, You get bonus points just for using a phrase like "turgid diatribe".]
  • riez - My only point was that I doubt there are any special deals going on right now that are substantially different from what was available 6 months ago, and what will be available 6 months from now.
    I agree that the IS300 is a great car for people who want a real sports sedan. I spent over 8 months driving everything that had any claim to being a sports sedan/wagon, ranging in price from the $15K Protege5 to the nearly $50k 530i and I kept coming back to the IS as the most pure sports sedan on the market.
    But, I honestly couldn't recommend it to anyone I know and I don't think it is the right car for many people. The fact is that there are damn few people who really want a sports sedan. Most people who say they want a sports sedan really want a sedan with sporty pretenses. To them, a sports sedan is a kind of sporty looking car, preferably with a spoiler - so it is obvious it is a sports sedan, with lots of power. They don't want to give up on comfort, quietness, room or a luxurious interior (i.e. wood interior trim) for the sake of crisp, nimble handling. For most people with $30K to spend on a "sports sedan", a Maxima or TL or G35 is probably a more logical choice. The IS is for the very few who really want something as close to a sports car as possible but need a few extra seats.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fredmcmurray... You wrote, "I honestly couldn't recommend it to anyone I know and I don't think it is the right car for many people."

    Completely disagree with the first part. I recommend it all the time. People I've had in it love it. They are uniformly impressed. Key is to get them to learn about it and to drive it.

    Your second part is true for any car. No car is right for all people or even "many" (though not sure what that means). Luxury marques are really good for people who live within a reasonable distance from a dealer. That excludes huge parts of America that are rural where there are no such dealers. It isn't right for people who need to tow, or need room for 6, or haul big items.

    You also wrote, "They don't want to give up on comfort, quietness, room or a luxurious interior (i.e. wood interior trim) for the sake of crisp, nimble handling." They do NOT have to with the IS300. Heck, you can order wood trim for interior. The IS300 is a very comfortable car. Sufficiently quiet and roomy and luxurious. Not to mention a great value: ton of car for the money. Way more so than BMW 3 Series or MB C class.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fredmcmurray... Keep thinking about your comment that you can't recommend the IS300. Can't fathom that. Just read all the positive reviews in a plethora of automotive publications.

    Just see how highly Consumer Reports recommends it. Read their 2003 Annual Auto Issue (4/03). Out of 12 "Upscale Sedans", only 6 are recommended. IS300 gets the coveted Recommended check. Plus out of those 12 sedans, the IS300 gets the 2nd highest rating (barely behind the 330i, which is NOT recommended).

    CR gives the IS300 the highest rating for reliability. The next closest car, the Acura TL, isn't even that close in projected reliability. The IS300 is almost 3 times higher in projected reliability than even the ES300.

    CR gives the IS300 the highest safety rating for both Upscale and Large Sedans.

    CR gives the IS300 the 2nd highest mark for satisfaction. A bit under 80 percent of their IS300 owners would buy another one.

    Think it is easy to highly recommend the IS300. Most who have tested it or owned it, do recommend it.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188

    Thanks for posting the facts about the IS300!

    I can truthfully say that I would DEFINITELY buy another IS300. And I would also highly recommend the IS300 to all potential buyers. I have personally never owned a new car with an initial build quality as good as that of my IS300!!! Hands down, nothing has ever even come close to it in that category. For me, initial build quality is now my number one requirement when purchasing a new automobile. As I stated in my last post, a Lexus purchase *should* increase a consumer's odds of getting a relatively problem-free vehicle when compared to several other makes. There will always be exceptions to this, but I still like the odds that the Lexus brand brings to the table.

    Ron M.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ron_m... What I can't figure out is why the IS300 is so invisible in USA. A great car. Just not on the radar screen. But when you factor in everything from reliability, price, safety, value, performance, etc. the IS300 is hard to beat. Makes me wonder if the problem isn't with Lexus USA. They can't figure out a way to market it. So people looking for a sport sedan overlook Lexus. And their dealers don't know how to sell it. They focus on luxury, wood trim, smooth ride, and they nothing to do with performance issues. All the dealers want to do is sell ES300s and RX300s (now both 330s)
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    I think a lot of people who really do want a true sport sedan like the IS300 overlooked it upon its introduction because of the lack of manual transmission. I know they added it for '02, but the sales were not what they expected for '01. Think of how much more money Toyota makes by marketing (and manufacturing) the ES and RX than a niche vehicle like the IS300.

    The IS300 proves what a great company Toyota really is (and the IS300 is the ONLY toyota product I'd ever even consider).

    Right now it really is a great car that is not going to be as good in its next iteration. They're going to replace the great I-6 with a more powerful, V6 which will never be quite as good in my book.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    I agree with the assessments of both of you guys regarding the reasons for the IS300's lack of sales volume.

    It seems as though Lexus would have indeed offered a manual transmission version of the IS300 right out of the chute. And I do think that they blew it on the marketing and advertising campaigns for the IS300. Admittedly, there are more sales dollars to be generated in the ES and RX markets. However, if it had been marketed properly, the IS300 would have sold much, much better than it has. This would have padded the Lexus bottom line even more. For example, regular TV commercials that list the things that riez pointed out pertaining to safety, quality, value, etc. would have gotten lots of sports sedan shoppers' attention. A local Lexus dealership salesman and I discussed the lack of an IS300 advertising push and he said, "These cars will eventually sell themselves with virtually no advertising whatsoever." I told him that I "respectfully disagreed".

    On the positive side regarding IS300 sales, I have noticed a lot more of them on the road in the last 6 months than I did the previous 18 months or so. Speaking of Lexus IS300 advertising, Lexus should film a commercial starring this brunette that I saw driving a white IS300 the other day. Got a closeup of her at a convenience store when she got out of the IS300 and the girl is DEFINITELY cheating Hollywood every single day that she isn't there! Oh, the car looked pretty sharp too. ;-)

    Ron M.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    I also recall receiving a direct mail piece from Lexus in July or August of 2000 just before the IS was released. I remember it saying how the IS was superior to the BMW 328i and Mercedes-Benz C280 due to greater horsepower. The problem I had with it was that BMW's more powerful 330i (more hp than the IS) and Mercedes' more powerful C320 (equal power to the IS) were on the verge of release. You telling me the Lexus marketing dweebs don't read the trade mags?

    The advertising focused a lot on the chronograph style instrumentation and the sufficiently radical styling as well as the E-Shift.

    They should have advertsied the car's racing prowess from the get go. The IS300's balance, razor-sharp handling charachteristics, and buttery smooth Inline 6.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    nyccarguy... Concur. The reported switch to V6 is the big reason why I ended up with 2 IS300s. I wouldn't consider one with a V6. I'm fearful that by MY2008, there might not be a single I6 left to buy in USA sport sedan market. Will be interesting to see how long BMW hangs onto I6 architecture. Even MB (foolishly) abandoned I6. Jaguar did, too (also foolishly). Great marques that were made famous by their outstanding I6s. [Then I might have to buy a GM SUV just for the 4.0L I6? God forbid!]
  • jatdeejatdee Posts: 19
    Here's my two cents worth: I really like my 03 IS300 with manual transmission, but I think it does have a limited audience. You do, as was suggested, by fredmcmurry, have to want what it offers, and if you don't want as close to a sports car experience as you can get with four doors (in its price range, for sure) then there may be better choices. (The reliability factor is a plus for every owner, of course.) The new TL for example, if you don't drive it such that you would really notice the difference between front and rear drive, is a beautiful car. Or the G35 if you don't drive it to the extent you can tell the difference in handling (and engine smoothness, and bulk). The advantage of those cars for those people is the greater feeling of luxury they have, while still having a fair amount of sport - quite a bit actually for the G35. The IS300 could be more appealing to more people, even those who don't appreciate fully its sporting potential, with a few more luxury touches. Lexus should get an Audi A4 (my wife has a 2001 an I had a 99.5) and check out the interior: the brighter led displays for time/temp, the odometer, etc, (instead of gray on gray). Just looks a lot better. Also, you don't have to toggle to get the trip mileage - both are always displayed. The door panels and window controls are much better designed on the Audi; and the IS300 steering wheel does not make a great impression. There is not enough storage space; a pop-out cup holder from the dash would be a lot more convenient and elegant; having the gas flap be unlocked when the doors are unlocked; having the trunk lid drop down and close and latch when you lower it about two thirds of the way instead of having to bring it all the way down and press it closed (or slam it, albeit gently). The Audi HVAC controls are also a lot more elegant, with displays showing how fast the fan is going and where the air is going when set on automatic. The memory seats and the lid on the dash top storage for 04 IS300 help, but they could have gone further. Granted, the A4 costs somewhat more, but a lot of it is the quattro that you really have to have, and German cars seem to be more expensive in general anyway. The IS300 is a lot more fun to drive than the Audi, and I wouldn't have anything else, but I miss the elegant feel of the Audi interior, and would not think it should be that hard, or expensive, for Lexus (Toyota) to make the IS300 feel that way too.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,577
    Have you ever heard a Lexus V6 at full throttle from the outside? The only engine that sounds worse is a Cadillac STS w/ Northstar V8!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

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