Toyota's next generation Altezza, aka Lexus IS300 gets a major makeover for the '06 model year. Resembling a shrunken 2006 GS Series in the styling department, the new miniature Lex will be offered in sedan, coupe, and convertible, with the latter featuring a retractable hardtop a 'la Soarer/SC430. Which one goes on sale first? The sedan, of course. The SportCross wagon is not likely to be offered in America anymore as sales didn't meet predicted targets. Besides, if you want a wagon, buy the RX330. The old inline-6 will be disposed in favor of the 3.3 liter DOHC 24-valve V6, this time fitted with VVT-i to produce a robust 240 horsepower driving the rear-wheels, hence the nomenclature change to IS330. Heading the Japanese enthusiast's list is the all-new IS430, which houses Toyota's silky-smooth 4.3 liter four-cam 32-valve V8 VVT-i. Toyota states the reason why the current IS doesn't have an eight is the overall high cost for repackaging the engine bay as the Altezza was designed to use inline-4 engines to begin with. The new car puts that trouble to rest as penmanship was conceived in California with plans for a top-of-the-line IS430 from the ground up. Output for this little Autobahn animal will be 300 hp, making it a stout competitor if not the most powerful in its class. A unflappable drivetrain mated with a lightweight chassis should yield optimum results in grin-inducing muscle car-like acceleration. Transmission options will likely to remain 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with E-Shift sequential toggle controls. Don't be surprised to see an all-wheel-drive version added to the mix in the near future, but that's likely to be only available on the V6 and not the V8 as with the new GS. Pricing should hover around $30,000 for a base IS330 while a fully-loaded IS430 can run you into the $40k mark.
Engine Mood: productive
Audio System Output: Papa Roach - Getting Away With Murder