Lexus has confirmed that two versions of the IS will be available initially – the IS 250, which is powered by a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine; and the IS 300h petrol-electric hybrid, which uses a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with additional power supplied by an electric motor. A high-performance IS F model is expected later in the car’s model cycle.
The new IS will be available in four specification levels, entry-level SE, Luxury, more sports-oriented F Sport and top-of-the-range Premier.
SE models get 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, automatic headlights and a DAB radio. Prices for the Lexus IS 250 start at £26,495, while the 300h SE is £29,495. With 16-inch alloys, the hybrid model emits 99g/km of CO2.
Move up to the IS Luxury spec and you get 17-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. The IS 250 Luxury starts at £27,995, while the IS 300h Luxury costs from £30,995.
The IS F Sport models are priced from £30,495 for the IS 250 and £33,495 for the IS 300h. All F Sport models include a significantly firmer sports suspension, aluminium sports pedals, a different version of the Lexus spindle front grille and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The top-of-the-range Premier models get 18-inch alloys, electrically adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, satellite navigation and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound stereo. Prices start from £35,495 for the IS 250 and £38,495 for the IS 300h.
There are eight paint colours to choose from on SE, Luxury and Premier models, while F Sport models are available in F Sport White and Ultra Blue only. Optional extras include black leather upholstery on Luxury and F Sport models. Pricing starts from £1,400 for six-way adjustable leather seats on Luxury models, while eight-way adjustable leather seats are £2,300 on F Sport cars.
Sat-nav costs £1,995, and Premier models can be equipped with a sunroof for £1,000.
Lexus says its new IS 300h will have the lowest running costs of any car in its class - which includes the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 - with official economy and emissions figures of 65.7mpg and 99g/km CO2.
The IS 300h, which is the first IS to feature Lexus’ Hybrid Drive powertrain, is the only premium saloon to dip below the 100g/km threshold, which makes it free from road tax.
What's more, the starter motor and alternator are both built into the hybrid system, and have been designed to require no maintainance over the car's lifetime. Lexus also claims that the engine's timing chain is maintainance-free over the life of the car, too.
Lexus predicts a saving of more than £440 over three years of ownership when compared to 2.0-litre diesel-automatic rivals through service, maintenance and repair.
The total saving Lexus estimates the 300h will carry over the A4 2.0 TDI SE is £923 per year for the first three years. Prices for the Lexus IS 300h will be from £29,495 for the base-level SE spec, with sales targeted to start in July.
It's not all good news, though, with the predicted best-selling 'Luxury' model claiming residual values of just 37 per cent after three years - well below the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4.