MILLIONAIRE CLUB WELCOMES LEXUS IS

Lexus has a new millionaire, with global sales of the IS range of sports sedans having moved into seven figures.

Australia has been a significant contributor to the IS success with local sales reaching 42,000 since the model's debut in 1999, or more than four per cent of the global total.

The Lexus IS has picked up several Australian awards along the way with the IS 300h being crowned Fairfax Drive Best Luxury Car under $80,000 and the IS 250 Luxury receiving a Wheels magazine gold star award, both in 2013.

During the 17-year history of the IS Lexus has offered Australian motorists petrol and full hybrid powertrains, the first Lexus high-performance "F" model and a coupe-convertible.

Lexus Australia chief executive Peter McGregor said the IS Line has accounted for almost 40 per cent of all Lexus sales in Australia due to its outstanding driving dynamics, sporting profile and high equipment levels.

"The Lexus IS range continues to have wide appeal from the IS turbo and its blend of performance, dynamics and economy, through to the environmental credentials of the IS hybrid and the powerful 3.5-litre V6 quad-cam IS 350," Mr McGregor said.

The original IS - a dynamic, compact sedan with sharp styling, a responsive straight-six engine and rear-wheel drive - was the fourth Lexus model to debut in Australia after the original LS, ES and GS.

It gave Lexus a presence in a large and highly competitive part of the premium car market and succeeded in attracting new, younger customers to the brand. The range expanded in 2001 to include the more powerful 3.0-litre IS 300.

The arrival of the second-generation Lexus IS in 2005 broadened its appeal with the introduction of the L-finesse design philosophy that produced more distinctive and sophisticated styling. The initial Lexus IS 250 featured a 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine.

In 2008, the race-track bred IS F was launched in Australia - a high-performance sedan engineered with dedicated performance components, from its engine, transmission and suspension to its wheels and tyres.

This was the first Lexus to wear the elite "F" performance badge, a predecessor of the LFA supercar and today's RC F coupe and GS F sedan.

Its 5.0-litre V8 engine delivered 311kW through the world's first eight-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a 0-100km/h time of just 4.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 270km/h.

The versatility of the IS was further explored in 2009 with the introduction of the IS 250C, a four-seat coupe-convertible equipped with a three-part retracting hard-top.

The current, third-generation IS marked the beginning of a new era for the model with the introduction of Lexus Hybrid Drive to the range for the first time. Since its launch in 2013 the hybrid variant has accounted for almost one-quarter of IS sales in Australia.

Advanced engineering for its 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine and compact, powerful electric motor has delivered unprecedented low exhaust emissions and fuel consumption for the IS.

Since 2015, Australian motorists have also been offered a turbo petrol engine with innovative D-4ST fuel-injection technology that achieves both instantaneous torque and excellent fuel economy. It is mated to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission based on that developed for the high-performance F models.

The IS continues to be a core component of the worldwide Lexus model range, marketed in more than 70 countries and amassing more than 6,000 sales every month.