When the Lexus IS first appeared years ago, consumers applauded Toyota’s luxury division for coming up with a car that could contend with the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4.

The third iteration of the Lexus IS sees both cosmetic and performance upgrades. There’s focus on a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a new detuned V6 for better engine life. You may experience a bit of turbo lag from when you take off, but the drive is remarkably smooth and quiet. A balanced chassis, competent suspension and steady steering will make you feel that you are in absolute control.

The new Lexus IS is available for $216,000 (including COE, price is correct at press time). This includes a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage and three years of servicing capped at 60,000km (not $60,000, which we mistook for in this September’s issue. Sorry, Lexus!)

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