2020 Lexus IS 300 Review: Dynamic Range

Is the sporty new Lexus IS 300 sedan still a sound choice in crossover-mad Singapore?


The whole business with sports sedans can be confusing. While supercars and sports cars quite clearly state their intentions with their design cues, what is it that makes a sedan sporty? Is it a more angular body design, a more powerful engine, a stiffer suspension tune, a big deck spoiler hanging off the boot lid, or a front-engined, rear-wheel drive setup?

Let’s make it clear that you cannot make a car ‘sporty’ by sticking a body kit onto it and sending it on its way. A sporty car is defined by the way it drives and responds to driver inputs. Which also means that it must be powerful enough to be a dynamic drive, and give the driver a sense of connection to the road.

Japanese carmakers have flirted with luxury sports sedan designs for generations, though only one has really stuck with a worldwide audience over the last two decades. It’s the Lexus IS series, born in 1999. The latest version of the car that many regard as the Far Eastern equivalent of the BMW 3 Series sedan is actually still officially the third-generation chassis, but with such a major reworking that it’s practically version 3.5.

Dynamically exciting sedans are a rare breed these days, so what does the new IS 300 have for us? Externally it’s been given a makeover with redesigned front intake grille details, along with new headlights and taillights.The car’s silhouette still portrays a suitably muscular profile, though a lot of the new bits can be found beneath and inside the car.

Continue to Page 2: What’s Inside

about the author

Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.