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Thanks for the patience in waiting for me to recoupe from a halacious weekend.I had meant to post a review sooner, but we drink a lot of beer here in brewtown ESPECIALLY on the weekends.Here is my experiance of the event:

The event was AWESOME!!!!!!!
Coming from the car biz, and having sold and driven every highline import available,I can say without hesitation the IS300 is going to be a HOME RUN!!

I arrived at the event at about 7:30 AM on Friday. It was held at the brand new Chicago Motor Speedway. When you entered the infield entrance, you drove in a tunnel underneath the 1st turn of the track...When you reached the top of the entrance road, the first thing you saw was the huge Lexus tent up ahead. As you drove slowly into the parking area, you first realize how huge the track is.The entrance to this tent,had a real cool,modern metal pole sign that had a logo that used the Chronograph instrument cluster on the sign, and read "IS300 Performance tour around the bottom.

I opened the door and was floored by the lighting, displays, and sheer sleekness of the whole set up. When you walked into this tent, there was a registration table on the right, and beyond that as follows:

4 tables set up with breakfast(french toast, quiche,fruit,sausage,juices,etc.)Chrome and steel bar tables with black and steel chairs.

A displyed IS300 engine, moving and clear so you could see the inner workings

Podium with a Millenium silver IS300 sitting on display...you were able to get in it and examine it.The podium was ramped all the way around so it was easy to check all angles of the car. The lighting was like a dance club...not flashing or anything, but really professional and "Hollywood"

5 Virtual car racing games that featured the IS300 in them...the game was a preview of a video game being released in the fall.The games were a lot like VR Racing...you actually sat in a simulated ****pit, and could change the view that you wanted..pretty cool game...and free, too.

IS300 merchandise table..clothing, IS300 Chronograph watch..none of which was for sale, but certainly available real soon.

Huge flat screen T>V>s that were playing a VH1 developed program with music videos, and commentary, etc. all geared specifically for the event.The T>V.s were everywhere.So were the speakers..great music videos playing, to get you in the IS mood.

Web station set up with the Lexus website on screen....

Theater style set up with soft black padded steel chairs, rowed in front of the stage , which had a Spectra Blue IS on it. The stage had a ramp on either side of it.Later on in the show,the IS would be driven off, and the competitors cars would be driven in for comparison.All of the staff wore black and blue bowling style retro shirts with the crono-IS logo on them.Metal clipboards, real modern..

The tent was completely enclosed, and had air conditioning(!), as well as girders of lighting to accentuate the sleekness of the venue. The whole tent was what I called
"IS APALOOZA" it was really done right!!

Are you sick of hearing about the BORING stuff??? Do you want to hear about the DRIVING!!!! WELL ALLRIGHT!!

The first option you had was to take a "hotlap" in the IS with a professional driver, or drive it on a smaller scale track, alone.( put together with curves and hazards, so that you could experience the IS in real life driving scenarios.)

I opted to take a hotlap first. I figured I would get shocked right off the bat as to how awesome the car performed.

The hotlap cars were all set up with professional race car drivers, trained for the event( the course was set up utilizing the oval and portions of the track as well as the whole thing.) You wore helmets and were treated to some of the best driving you have ever seen up close and personal. The first thing I thought was "get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on" The driver floored the car and proceeded off the pit lane and onto the first turn of the oval..preparing for a hard left...a hard right...short straight...then a
 

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OK,
Now give us the review again and this time don't hold anything back.

You are the a dealer, correct?

I know what you are talking about in the hot lap. I went on one in an ML55 here in CA. It was awesome. After the hotlap (2) with the pro they gave us a video tape of the ride showing our face, a view of the gauges, and straight ahead. Then the let you hotlap (2) that $70K hotrod SUV by yourself. That was more awesome. One the most fun days I have had.
Mike


[This message has been edited by builder1 (edited June 05, 2000).]
 

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I was there as well and I'm not a dealer. It was open to the public and I had a blast. The hot laps were fun but I mostly enjoyed driving the IS through the mini autocross circuit. What fun! Very tossable and controllable (unlike the GS400 which is a land yacht in comparison). I liked it best out of all 3 cars there. One thing to note was that you HAD to shut off the traction control. I'll probably yank out the traction control module as to me it's pointless. With it on, the fun dropped by more than a few points. That car is a fantastic value even at sticker price. Stereo was decent, seats were also good but the brakes and steering were notably impressive. Power was peppy but I wouldn't say fast. Still, power delivery was smooth and very quiet. 2nd gear could have been a little shorter but trans was smooth and worked flawlessly. Man I can't wait to get mine in 60-90 days.
Even before the motor/transmission transplant it should prove fun.

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Dan
98 R #1054 (not for much longer)
Godspeed Inc.
 

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Thanks ISBlain, great review, im so pissed im gonna be out of town when this event comes to me
I really wanted to do the course with the pro driver, just so i could see what the car could do, what all of us are to chicken to pull in our own, hehe.
 

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The "rest" of us can look forward to test drives (on the street) in a few weeks.

Glad to hear a positive response from the event. I wish you had driven the BMW and Audi at the same time. You really don't connect all the dots unless you compare at the same time.

Nobody noticed any issue with understeer, nose-heaviness or lag with the e-throttle?
Body roll was reasonable?
 

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I drove the BMW 328i for comparison. BMW was fun as well but I prefered the Toyota. Body lean was about average and maybe a hair more than the BMW but not bad. Springs seem a little stiffer than the BMW but ride quality was excellent. Nose was not heavy at all (surprisingly). E-Shift was okay. It's never a replacement for e good stick shift but it worked. Won't let you go into 1st gear though (the GS400 won't either but the Celica GTS will). I thought it had too much understeer even with the traction control off but that's often the case with cars for us Americans. It's a safety measure. Larger rear sway bar should take care of that. You guys are going to love this car.


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Dan
98 R #1054 (not for much longer)
Godspeed Inc.
 

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""but I prefered the Toyota.""

Was that intentional or did you make the Freudian Lexusism faux-paus?

You should see the look on the Lexus dealers faces when I call the IS300 a Toyota...

If you want to get them riled up show them the Toyota logo on the underside of the rear muffler and the rear 6x9 speakers in the trunk.

At least all the window glass is imprinted with "Lexus".
 

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I couldn't care less about Lexus Toyota badging. It's just a US marketing thing. I still call it an Altezza all the time too. Habit I guess. I've been lusting after the car for 2 years now. I'll probably debadge the car in the rear and get the Altezza grill in front soon after purchase. That's one thing I hated was the Lexus grill. Yuck. The JDM Toyota one is much nicer. Funny thing is that in Japan, people take the mesh one off and get the Lexus one or they even have a Lexus grill but with the red Altezza logo in the middle.

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Dan
98 R #1054 (not for much longer)
Godspeed Inc.
 

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I agree...it's all basically marketing/image to distinguish the upper echelon Toyotas from the econoboxes (nothing wrong with that though). However, I will make a distinction between the Altezza and IS300 mostly because of the engine difference. In any case, maybe someone with an Altezza in Japan wants to trade for an IS300 grille.


Originally posted by God:
I couldn't care less about Lexus Toyota badging. It's just a US marketing thing. I still call it an Altezza all the time too. Habit I guess. I've been lusting after the car for 2 years now. I'll probably debadge the car in the rear and get the Altezza grill in front soon after purchase. That's one thing I hated was the Lexus grill. Yuck. The JDM Toyota one is much nicer. Funny thing is that in Japan, people take the mesh one off and get the Lexus one or they even have a Lexus grill but with the red Altezza logo in the middle.

 

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Yeah - everyone wants to be different.

Maybe we can put some yellow turn signal lenses on it and get rid of the "clear corners"!!!
 

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I agree after doing the Boston event, the car is awesome. We had heavy rains, so handling impression might be skewed, but the IS is a beautifully handling car, best I've driven, or maybe on par with the BMW 328i I drove at least year's BMW autocross event. That car had 4 passengers, this time only me, so it's hard to compare. Auto was nice, had it in 1st & 2nd, didn't try the e-shift, too hectic for autocross. But I'll buy the first blue 5 speed IS that rolls into the local dealer.
 
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