We start the show with a touch of class. Gliding through the woods is Lexus' new hybrid engine sedan -- the I-S three hundred H. The luxury car maker is hoping the new range will help it repplicate success in North America across the pond.
Lexus' Sandra Tibor says they have a development centre near Brussels where various parts of cars are tuned to fit the needs and demands of customers in different countries.
The front of the new bodywork is especially striking. The grille with large air inlets shows off the brand's new look. The car's just over four and a half meters long. Small wings on the door pillars and tail lamps are designed to make the I-S more aerodynamic. With a turning circle of eleven-point-two meters, the car manoeuvres well.
Our test driver Mathis Kurrat is putting the I-S through it's paces.
He's testing the F-Sport model, with a two-point-five liter four cylinder engine combined with an electric motor. Together they produce one hundred and sixty four kilowatts. The car goes from zero to a hundred kilometers an hour in eight-point-three seconds, and has a top speed of two hundred.
Mathis says the I-S isn't very sporty. Even though there's a dial that switches the car to Sport-S or Sport-S plus mode. He says that when he tries to take a corner with a bit more speed, the ESP kicks in. So either the ESP is too sensitive or the chassis isn't quite balanced.
Mathis says the ergonomics are good, all of the important things are well-placed. He also says the buttons are more graceful than in other Toyota and Lexus models. The temperature control is particularly interesting.
The joystick operator for the entertainment system takes some getting used to, but Mathis says with practice it's not so bad. A real problem for him is the lack of storage space. The car starts without a key, and Mathis had to put the key in the drinks holder because there's nowhere else at the front of the car to put it.
But Mathis says he does like the fabric used on the front and centre columns and the ceiling. He says it creates a good impression.
Mathis says he really likes the digital console which shows information on this ring. It's controlled with a button on the steering wheel. Mathis says it's just a gadget, but a fun one.
So how does the I-S measure up? With the entertaining and useful extras, it scores highly. The most important fact for any hybrid car is how much fuel it uses. For a sedan the figures are good. The three hundred H weighs one thousand seven hundred kilos, and uses just four-point-seven litres of gas over a hundred kilometers. As for C-O-2 emissions, the car produces a hundred and nine grams per kilometer.
Mathis gives his verdict on the I-S.
He says in terms of the design he's totally satisfied. But when it comes down to how the car feels, he says even the F-Sport model isn't quite sporty enough.