Accelerating from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds and stretching to 143mph, the 2.0-litre turbo engine is a new Lexus design first seen in the NX SUV; uniquely, it can run on both Atkinson and Otto cycles, so can prioritise green-running when performance isn’t a priority.
It isn’t as quick as the comparable BMW 328i, which can do 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds despite consuming less fuel, but it’s still a welcome option for those who like the IS but don’t like hybrid (such as our long-term IS 300h).
It’s rear-wheel drive and Lexus fits an eight-speed automatic gearbox borrowed from the RC F coupe. This Sport Direct shift transmission even has gearshift variation according to G-forces.
Lexus argues the engine is as fast responding as the gearbox itself, thanks to four-into-two exhaust manifolds that are paired to match expansion or compression strokes so exhaust gases don’t interfere with one another.
There’s a twin-scroll turbo, air-to-liquid intercooler and trick D-4ST fuel injection: high pressure system for directly into the cylinders, and a lower pressure system for port injection.
The engine mixes injection between these two systems according to engine load, and, along with dual intelligent variable valve timing, also helps it switch between Otto and more efficient Atkinson cycles; on the latter, intake valves close later to further reduce pumping losses.
Lexus has yet to reveal prices of the new IS 200t, but has confirmed deliveries will begin later in the year.