SOTW: Lexus IS200

The 'Japanese Mercedes' may have had its rep somewhat compromised by its association with a certain Mr A Partridge, but the fictional Norfolk broadcaster very much had the wrong end of the pointy, sticky thing in describing the Lexus IS200 thus.

Given Steve Coogan's well-known penchant for cars, of course, Partridge's misconstruction of the littlest Lexus could well have been entirely deliberate. But it doesn't take a genius to work out that Lexus's crosshairs were aimed squarely at an entirely different German prestige carmaker for the first generation IS200.

Let's look at the evidence: 150hp naturally-aspirate 2.0-litre straight-six? Check. Rear-wheel drive? Check. Short overhangs? Check. Emphatically sporty dynamics? Check. Theoretically, at least. Lexus might as well have bunged in a Hofmeister kink and a double kidney grille - it wouldn't have made it any more obvious that the IS200 was angling for a slice of the BMW 3 Series compact sports saloon pie.

A decade and a bit later, and the two models are still chasing after the same buyers, if used values are anything to go by. Mind you, the scarcity of IS200s and the ubiquity of 3 Series of a similar vintage means you're more likely to come across a 3er while perusing the classifieds than you are an IS200. Especially one that didn't start out as a Toyota Altezza.

This particular car is up for a round £1,000 with 160,000 miles on the clock. As far as we can tell from the fuzzy photos and sparse details it's got plenty of kit for the money, including a factory-fit sat-nav (though we seriously doubt whether the efficiency or accuracy of said device would be up to modern standards).

The interior styling looks a bit fussy these days (especially that 'chronograph-inspired' instrument cluster), but the only thing that genuinely puts us off is the aftermarket grille.

Alternatively, if you venture outside the hallowed URLs of PistonHeads, you could pick up something like this over-so-orange IS200 for a few quid less. But then you wouldn't get the half leather, and you would have to do something about those quite dreadful wheels...

Thanks to PHer only1ian for the spot

Advert is reproduced below

LEXUS Is200 (£1,000)
Selling my Black lexus is200 sport. It comes with inbuilt Sat Nav, DVD player, Half Leather seats, Privacy Glass and Sports Exhaust. The car has 6 months left of Road Tax and M.O.T is due soon. Absolutely Solid Car and great drive.
Looking to sell quick as buying a flat.Price is negotiable!.1000ONO

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (164) Join the discussion on the forum

  • pSyCoSiS 27 Jul 2012

    I was actually pleasantly surprised when I had a passenger ride in one of these a few months back.

    Very smooth ride, nice growl to the engine and a funky instrument cluster!

    Still, for £1k, you can get a much nicer example of an IS200 than these ones....

  • Riggers 27 Jul 2012

    That's a gauntlet thrown down right there, Psycosis - let's see the colour of your money. Linkies please! biggrin

  • pSyCoSiS 27 Jul 2012

    Riggers said:
    That's a gauntlet thrown down right there, Psycosis - let's see the colour of your money. Linkies please! biggrin
    Ok let me fish some out, as was looking at these only the other day.

    Do they have to be only from the PH classified, or is eBay allowed?!

  • M@1975 27 Jul 2012

    Are these really down to a grand? Damn good cars for that sort of money, decent engine noise, go round corners properly and the spec list s usually huge.

  • X5TUU 27 Jul 2012

    Nice, and whack a private plate on and most of the motoring ignorant wouldn't know your floating along in banger-nomics style

    Never been a fan of the centre console in these but for that money does it really matter ... I think not!

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