insideSUSSEX Magazine Issue 08 - October 2015 - Page 89

Impressive from the onset, the IS 300h looks sleek, sporty and stylish. To the uninitiated, the word 'hybrid' may conjure up feelings of a milkfloaty pace and strange electrical noises; this is absolutely not true with the IS 300h. A car that was famously designed to go tyre-to-tyre with the BMW 3 Series, this is a proper red-blooded sports saloon, and don't you forget it! The well thought out driving position gives you an excellent view of the road without the A-pillars getting in your way, and refreshingly the cockpit feels as though it was positioned with the driver in mind, as opposed to being split between the driver and front passenger. Long journeys start to sound appealing when you know you can wile away the hours in comfort. Looks-wise this really is a beautiful car to behold: sculpted long flowing curves, a dynamic looking grille and that assertive 'tick' on the front give the Lexus a feeling of confidence and certainty. Resting on elegant alloy wheels, and sporting the familiar modest, but stylish blue 'L' badge on the front and back, the IS 300h really is a good looking motor vehicle. Entertainment is not sparse in the IS 300h either. Once you're bored marvelling at the LCD touch screen display that advises you on the car's energy levels, there is a very impressive sound system, complete with the now prerequisite Bluetooth and iPhone options. To say the interior of the Lexus is just as impressive would be a massive understatement. As you slide elegantly into the protective surrounds of the sumptuous leather heated seats, you are instantly reminded of the Batmobile. Not so much a mere interior as a high-tech cockpit for a driving machine. With plenty of room in the front and rear, along with a decent sized boot perfect for golf clubs or large suitcases, there is no doubt that this is a car that will fit in nicely with all lifestyles. Safety-wise the Lexus comes with ABS, traction control and no less than eight airbags, all guaranteed to deploy if you hit a bollard. Mechanically, the IS 300h is everything we've come to expect from Lexus: engineering precision, 89 power where needed, but with efficiency also, and of course the hybrid tech builds on this core requisite. Lexus have moved away from diesel engines, as favoured by peers Audi and BMW, and have gone hybrid. Incidentally, in case you've missed this new technology, it's not actually all that new. Submarines have employed it since World War II, using diesel engines when surfaced and electric motors when underwater. And there have also been bicycles using a hybrid combination of electricity and leg-power since the 1970s. What's more, since the scary news that we are heading towards a time when fossil fuels will be depleted, there has been huge developments and a real focus on hybrid technology in cars. With a 2.5-litre engine, plus hybrid drive (electric motor as we used to call them...) delivering a total of 178 BHP, the IS 300h has plenty of bottle despite any apprehensions the word 'hybrid' may give to techno-sceptics out there. As you wind her up along a straight road, going from electric to petrol engine as you do so, acceleration from 0-62 MPH occurs in a not-too-shabby 8.4