2011 brings about a few changes to the new Lexus IS 250 including HID headlamps with integrated daytime running lights and washer jets as standard (JPJ approved), a bolder and more shapely front bumper and lower grille shape, a front grille with more visual depth, a new circular dual tailpipe design, new 17 inch 10-spoke staggered alloy wheels, and revised rear tail lamps.

On the interior, two different colour schemes can be chosen, with genuine Bird’s Eye maple wood trim available on the IS 250 Luxury, while the IS 250 gets high-gloss black trim. Changes on the interior are subtle – metallic accents on areas like the steering wheel bezel, meter rings, paddle shifts, instrument cluster surrounds, and glove boxdoor.

The IS 250 gets an 8 speaker Lexus premium sound system, while the IS 250 Luxury gets a 13 speaker version. Both feature a 6 CD in dash changer. The IS 250 Luxury has the option of adding a “Navigation Package” which costs RM23,000 and includes the Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system (14 speakers, 300-watt 10 channel amp, DVD capable), a 7 inch touch screen display, reverse camera, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and the navigation system that includes Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean maps. It should by right be called the Sound & Navi package or something. The IS 250 Luxury buyer can also specify a Moonroof for RM7,000.

Under the hood is the same 2.5 litre twin-cam D4 direct injection engine, making 205 horses at 6,400rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. This engine is mated to a 6-speed Super ECT transmission and drives the rear wheels. 0 to 100km/h is reached in 8.4 seconds.

The engine is equipped with a dual-tube exhaust manifold construction which minimizes heat-loss (for optimum cat operation) and noise. The mufflers have variable back-pressure valves to reduce low-frequency booming noise- 7dB less at 1,200 rpm – and reduce high rpm back-pressure by 30%.

Safety features include Lexus Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM), ABS, and a total of 8 airbags including knee airbags for both the passenger and driver. The Lexus IS 250 which has been updated for 2011 in Malaysia is available in two trim levels – IS 250 and IS 250 Luxury. The IS 250 is priced at RM 282,386.20 OTR with insurance while the Lexus IS 250 Luxury model is priced at RM 313,166.20.

When Lexus (the only Japanese brand in its segment) was first introduced into Malaysia its reputation had already preceded it as having a high level of customer satisfaction, so a friend and I actually checked the flagship Mutiara Damansara showroom out when it first opened, dressed up in a very simple manner, with short pants completing the look. The experience was interesting – the guard salutes you as you drive in and the sales personnel offered a drink as we checked out the various cars and trim options on display.

Very impressive, but of course the ‘evaluation’ didn’t go any further as a brand new Lexus is quite out of reach and there I didn’t get a taste of how the sales process was like :P

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