Lexus first launched its first IS 300 model in 1998 in Japan and called it Altezza, which means “highness” in Italian. It was an entry-level sports car that was in line with the ES brands in their lineup. In 1999, the IS 200 made its first appearance. It was released the following year in North America under the name IS 300.
The first generation 1999-2005
The first generation Lexus IS 300 was offered in your choice of sedan or station wagon. These cars were powered by an inline 6 engine that would remain standard until a second generation was introduced in 2005. These cars were assembled in Kanegasaki, Japan with an exterior design done by Tomoyasu Nishi, with a later update in 2003. by Hiroyuki Tada planned for 2002. A variant of the sedan was a 4-door with a 5-door hatchback pickup style offered. Both featured a front-engine, rear-wheel drive design. This subcompact vehicle was equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-6 engine that was paired with a 5-speed A650E in an automatic transmission or with a 6-speed J160 manual transmission.
The interior of the first-generation IS 300 received enhancements that no other model of the brand had featured at the time, such as an optional pop-up navigation screen, a chrome metal ball gearshift lever and a chronograph-style instrument panel. . At first, there seemed to be a bit of confusion about the classification. It could have easily fit into the compact category due to its sheer volume, but due to the rear seats, it also fits the criteria of a subcompact. This generation received the highest possible ratings for driver and rear passenger side safety in 2001.
A Platinum Edition sedan was launched in 2003 and ran for a year. This model featured a 4-door saloon and was equipped with a 2JZ-GE vvt-i engine that generated 208 bhp along with 212 lb-ft of torque and was paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. It was a rear-wheel drive with a front-engine design.
The first face lift
In 2003, Hiroyuka Tada made changes to the exterior with the addition of a new wheel design that featured 11 spokes along with smoked moldings for its taillights and headlights, and new fog lights. It also made some improvements to the interior with a controller set feature that offers a 2-position memory and a maintenance indicator light.
A new storage compartment was added in the dash for cars that did not have a navigation system and a new locking system with automatic driving features was also added for the 2004 model.
New concept model
In 2003, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the IS 430 prototype made its appearance as the shell of an IS 300 powered by a 4.3-liter V8 engine that was borrowed from the Lexus GS model. It was a supercharged IS, however it did not make it into production, instead it came out in the form of the 405hp ECE sedan.
Second generation Lexus IS 300
The next generation was launched in 2005 and came out as a 2006 model and ran until 2013. These cars were assembled at both the Tahara plant and the Miyata plant in Japan under the design of Kengo Matsumoto. It was offered in a 2-door convertible style and a 4-door sedan with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, and a front-engine four-wheel drive option. The engine options were 2.2. liter; a 2.5-liter V5; a 3.0 L V6; a 3.5 L V6 and a 5.0 L 8. These were paired with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission or an 8-speed automatic.
The third generation
The third generation IS 300 (XE30) began production from 2013 and continues to the present, with 2014 marking the first launch in production. Mansasnari Sakae served as a designer since 2010 and Yuki Isogai in 2011. The third generation was offered in a 4-door sedan style with an available front-engine and rear-wheel drive design with four-wheel drive available. The latest generation is equipped with engines in a turbocharged 2.0, a 2.5-liter hybrid, a 2.5-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6 combined with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission or an 8-speed automatic.