Performance and 0-60mph time
Two engine choices in the range offer broadly similar performance against the stopwatch, the six-cylinder IS 250 manages a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds and the IS 300h adds just 0.2 seconds to that. Respectable then, rather than particularly startling, especially when you consider the 24bhp power advantage that IS 250 has over a BMW 320i, which shaves 0.8 seconds off the Lexus' time, yet also manages a sizeable improvement in average economy. Unless you get a decent aerodynamic tow, that BMW will slowly recede into the horizon on the autobahn thanks to its greater top speed too.
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The IS 300h fares a little bit better against its most obvious 320d diesel rival in the BMW line-up, trailing by just 0.3 seconds to 62mph for a time of 8.3 seconds, and again its top speed trails its German rival. The numbers might not ultimately matter, but the difference is noticeable on the road. The mid-range power from BMW's smaller four-cylinder turbocharged petrol choices - when compared to the six-cylinder IS 250 - and diesels in the place of the IS 300h, is marked, neither of the Lexus models offering the sort of smooth, effortless pull you’ll experience from its rivals. Both require revs to perform, which isn’t such a chore in the IS 250 but gets tiresome in the IS 300h, because of its E-CVT.