If the 114-kW Lexus IS 200 is too plain for your taste, consider the gadget-packed 4,3-litre V8-engined IS 430 prototype, which was unveiled at the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas.

If the 114-kW Lexus IS 200 is too tame for your taste, consider the gadget-packed 4,3-litre V8-engined IS 430 prototype, which was unveiled at the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas.


The car features the engine from the latest (US-spec) GS 430, paired with six-speed Getrag manual transmission, a lightweight flywheel and a stronger limited-slip differential, plus other components derived from the GS-series drivetrain.


Lexus USA commissioned Rod Millen Special Vehicles (RMSV) of Huntingdon Beach, California, to build the two-tone IS 430. Like all the IS-series models, it is rear-wheel drive, but has undergone significant modifications to best utilise the extra power.


These include new springs, 16-way electronically adjustable shock absorbers, GS 430 rear suspension bits, large Michelin Sport Cup tyres on 18-inch Speed Star SSR alloys, the GS 430's radiator for improved cooling, plus larger Brembo brakes with vented, cross-drilled rotors and four-piston aluminium callipers.


Fitting the 4,3-litre V8 and six-speed manual transmission to the IS 300 was reportedly fairly straightforward. Instead, the challenge was to develop an electronic interface that would allow the V8 engine to work with the manual transmission and IS body. Therefore, specially manufactured items for the IS 430 included a transmission adaptor, engine and transmission mounts, an all-new air intake system, stainless steel exhaust headers and dual exhaust system, wire harnesses and fluid connectors.


The IS 430 also features a 20-speaker, 24-channel 720-watt surround-sound system, integrated audio, DVD and wide-screen video functions. US stylists Foose Design added a front lip spoiler, side skirts, a mesh grille, grey-lensed headlamps, modified taillights and rear badging, and finished the show car off with a love-it-or-hate-it black-over-red colour scheme.


"The Lexus IS 430 is a one-off and there are no plans for a production vehicle," the manufacturer said. In South Africa, fans can look forward to the launch of the IS 300 here next year.


The IS 300 is powered by a three-litre in-line six-cylinder engine with a variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system. Lexus claims the engine produces maximum power of 157kW at 5 800 r/min and torque of 288 N.m at 3 800 r/min.


According to sources, Lexus is also working on a hotter version of the IS 300 - with an engine uprated to around 209 kW paired with a six-speed manual transmission.