The Lexus IS is a rear-wheel drive, compact luxury sports sedan manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corp. under the Lexus brand and originally sold as the Toyota Altezza in Japan. The model was introduced to slot below the ES in the Lexus lineup and to compete against the BMW 3 Series and the Nissan Skyline/Infiniti G. The first-generation Altezza (codename XE10) was launched in Japan in October 1998, while the Lexus IS 200 made its debut in Europe in 1999 and the IS 300 in North America in 2001.
The "IS" stands for "Intelligent Sport."
Body style: 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Engine: 2.0 L 1G-FE I6 (AS200)
2.0 L 3S-GE I4 (RS200)
3.0 L 2JZ-GE I6 (AS300)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Curb weight: 1510 kg (IS 200)
The Altezza came in 3 variants:
The AS200 (Chassis code TA-SXE-10, sedan or TA-GXE-10 FR Gita wagon, TA-GXE-15, 4WD Gita wagon), powered by a 1G-FE inline-6 engine generating 160 PS JIS (118 kW) or 155 PS DIN (114 kW) and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission (5-speed automatic optional) [/INDENT]
The RS200 (Chassis code GH-SXE-10, sedan) powered by a Yamaha tuned 3S-GE inline-4 engine generating 210 PS JIS (154 kW) and mated to a 6-speed transmission (5-speed automatic optional)
The AS300 (Chassis code TA-JCE-10 FR Gita Wagon,or TA-JCE-15, 4WD Gita wagon) powered by a 2JZ-GE inline-6 engine generating 220 PS JIS (162 kW) or 215 hp SAE (160 kW) and mated to only a 5-speed automatic for the FR Gita Wagon or a 4-speed automatic for the 4WD Gita Wagon. Lexus IS300 share this chasis rather than the SXE-10 chasis.
European and North American-market Lexus IS vehicles, as well as the Japanese hatchback version called the Gita (called Lexus IS Sportcross in the U.S. and Europe) were only available in the 6-cylinder versions. US and European sales of the Lexus IS 300 were disappointing. In the American market, after hitting a high of 22,486 units in 2001, IS sales dropped below the 10,000-unit mark in 2004. The IS200 fared better in Europe and Asia, but still fell well short of the sales volume achieved by the likes of the BMW 3 Series.
The 2JZ-GE powered IS series are popular amongst tuners in the U.S. because of their 6-cylinder engines. The Altezza is mostly popular amongst tuners not only because of its possible engine swap for the previous generation Toyota Supra's 2JZ-GTE motor, but as it is viewed as the successor to the renowed AE86. Modified versions of the 2JZ-GTE have been seen with over 1000hp.
In Japan, the RS200 version is more popular due to its better handling (because of the lightweight yet powerful engine in the front). There are a wide availability of tuning parts, although the engine block is similar to the last of the SW20 MR2 and ST202 Celica, it is tuned by Yamaha and offers Dual VVT-i. As a result, a number of tuning companies modified the IS/Altezza over the years.
TTE converted an IS 200 first, and within a few years RMM in the US converted an IS 300. The MillenWorks-built Lexus IS 430 was unveiled at the 2003 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The IS 430 prototype is an IS 300 fitted with a 4.3 L V8 from the Lexus GS 430. Lexus dubs the IS 430 a one-off with no plans for production. In Europe, Toyota Team Europe (TTE) shoehorned a supercharged 4.3 L V8 into a IS 300 bodyshell, the result is a 405 PS ECE (298 kW) saloon capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. TTE also produced an aftermarket supercharger kit for the IS 200, raising the power output to 204 PS ECE (150 kW).
At the mean time, a number of Japanese tuning firms, HKS, Blitz, Top Secret, Sard, Power Enterprise, including Toyota's own TRD, started to develop plenty of performance parts, typically from super chargers, turbo chargers, and even individual throttle bodies, and sometimes complete car conversions.
The RS200 is also used by many racing teams, including TRD (Toyota Racing Development), to race in various touring car championship series across Asia. A Lexus IS 200, based on a heavily modified RS200, has also raced in the British Touring Car Championship with limited success.
UNQUOTE... from wikipedia website
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