Unveiled this week, the hybrid Lexus IS300h scores a big red tick in the Green Vehicle Guide with lowest CO2 emission of any luxury sedan including - the oiler averse brand is keen to point out - any diesel.
Previously the Lexus IS range has been six cylinder petrol engines only and the two that power the outgoing range will be recycled for the new model. The 300h though is likely to be the highlight, producing 113 grams of CO2 per kilometre and using 4.9 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle.
The combined power output of 164kW from the Lexus IS300h petrol-electric drivetrain gets it to 100km/h from standing in a diesel rivalling 8.5 seconds.
It's the first rear-wheel drive Lexus to have the Atkinson Cycle 2.5-litre petrol electric/hybrid powertrain, which features a D-4S fuel injection system, dual VVT-i and exhaust gas recirculation system. The engine drives the rear wheels through an electronic continuously variable transmission.
The hybrid battery is positioned beneath the Lexus IS300h's luggage deck board which lowers the centre of gravity - a dynamic plus. From having a hopeless back seat and small boot, the new IS gets a 60:40 rear-fold seat.
The Lexus IS300h will be available in Luxury and F-Sport grades, the latter with suspension tuning and electric power steering paired with adaptive variable suspension. Both get the five setting drive mode select from more expensive Lexus lines.
After driving a preproduction V6 through the Hollywood Hills late last year, Paul Gover hailed the IS - being launched here in the third quarter - as having "pinched the 3Series' benchmark baton".