Lexus has been the premium car division of Toyota for a good number of years now, producing luxury sedan models for a much specialised market, while still being technologically tied to Toyota. In recent years, Toyota has stopped producing serious performance models, leaving Lexus to take the lion’s share of larger, more powerful engines.
The IS250 is an unusual place to start for a tuning car. For one, the interior completely juxtaposes its purpose- usually being all wood or black glossy panels and chrome. The exterior has some potential, with sharp, well defined lines that are rare on a luxury car. But one of the nice things about keeping both the interior and exterior stock is that it betrays little of the car’s potential performance. Of course, there are a few M7 Japan decals that adorn the outside, but for the most part the car is a sleeper.
In the way of performance, M7 Japan offers some basic methods of improving air flow. A Super Power Flow air filter is fitted on the intake side, allowing the engine to take in air at a higher rate. On the back end is a T-Titan Sports Muffler, designed to suppress engine noise at lower speeds while building up to a nice, bassy tone during spirited driving. For lubrication M7 Japan provides Super Street GT engine oil, which is designed to improve protection during high stress applications.
Having driven the IS250 in stock form, I can say it’s not a particularly inspiring car. Then again, we can attribute the lacklustre driving experience to poor tyre choice and damper settings- both of which are rectified in this M7-kitted IS250. The most important improvements are the 19-inch Volk Racing rims wrapped in sticky Toyo rubber, giving far superior grip over the stock set. The dampers are replaced by M7 Japan’s Super Street Performance Dampers, allowing for adjustments in both ride height and damping force (35 levels) for a high number of variations depending on the situation.
The transmission can’t be helped with its strange nature of operation. Unlike most automatic transmissions with sequential shifting modes, the IS250 features a shift mode that simply restricts the transmission to any gear up to your selected gear. This means that while you can try to select 4th gear, the transmission will choose any gear up to 4th gear, leaving you with very little control over the actual gear selection. What M7 Japan offers to help the transmission along is M7 Japan Super Street ATF oil that withstands continuous rough operation, helping to preserve the transmission over the course of its service life.
On the electronics side of this package is the Super Performance Throttle Controller and the Touch R.A.C.E. modules. The throttle controller essentially adjusts the mapping of your electronic throttle depending on which mode you set it to. It is possible to have the throttle map operate in a linear fashion or in a more progressive nature too. While this sounds mostly gimmicky, on high powered cars it has some benefits as it can allow you to maintain the same driving style even when presented with different conditions like low grip during the rain or when you hit the track. And if you ever fancy like saving a bit of fuel, you can slip into ECO mode and the throttle map will severely restrict how much gas you can give. The touch R.A.C.E. module essentially functions as an OBD reader, taking the digital output from your car and displaying it on a nice 3.5 inch touch-screen unit.
While the overall performance hasn’t been significantly increased over the stock IS250, you can never go wrong with more stopping power. M7 Japan provides 6-pot brakes for bigger bite, which is paired with their Super Street 500C brake pads to reduce brake fade and increase durability. Finally, M7 Japan Super B5 brake fluid is used, reducing the chances of the fluid boiling during continuous heavy braking, such as on-track usage.
Does the car function as a package? Well, given the nature of the modifications to this IS250, it’s hard to see where the car is lacking in any particular area. The problems with the stock car are, as mentioned before, is addressed through the use of better tyres and dampers. Ultimately, the car should drive and handle like a Lexus, if the owner so desires- but at the same time, it can be adjusted for those days when you feel like threading your way along a twisty mountain road. If you’re the kind of driver who can appreciate luxury, but at the same time is not afraid to push your car to the limits, then these are the kind of modifications you need to ensure you don’t increase the rate of wear on the mechanical components.
Car: M7 Japan Super Street Lexus IS250
Engine mods: M7 Japan Super Power Flow air filter, M7 Japan T-Titan Sports Muffler, M7 Japan Super Street GT engine oil, M7 Japan Super Cooling oil catch tank, M7 Japan Super Cooling radiator cap, M7 Japan Super Cooling radiator coolant, M7 Japan engine oil cap
Electronics: M7 Japan Super Performance Throttle Controller, M7 Japan Touch R.A.C.E
Transmission: M7 Japan Super Street ATF fluid,
Chassis & Handling: M7 Japan Super Street Performance Damper
Brakes: M7 Japan High Technology six-piston brake kit, M7 Japan Super Street brake pad 500C, M7 Japan Super B5 brake fluid
Wheels & Tyres: Volk Racing G2 19-inch wheels, Toyo tyres
Exterior: M7 Japan decals
Photos: Akmal, Hazmy, Arif, Azan – Southern Snipers