Could the spirit of bonkers Cosworths live on in the new hot Focus?
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£26,950 when new
There are four grades IS250, SE, SE-L to be topped off with the Sport (due early next year, along with the IS220d diesel). All cars, from the base model up, get a six-speed manual as standard, eight airbags, cruise, a 13-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, keyless ignition, climate and alloys. The SE gets heated/cooled leather and 17-inch alloys (instead of the base car’s 16s) and the SE-L gets parking sensors and a few other bits as well as the bigger rims. The one we’re waiting for is the Sport; it rides on the 18-inch rims that the IS could do with and comes with a more sporting suspension set-up. There are quite a few cost options like the usual multimedia and sat nav/sunroof gubbins, but the basics are all pretty well covered.
The bonus news is the price. All this for a starting price of £22,400 for an IS250 manual, rising to £26,500 for a Sport when it gets here in January. You can imagine the BMW engineers getting hold of this new IS250 somewhere in a darkened warehouse and torturing its secrets out of it with military-grade intrusion software and miniature toffee hammers, while swearing softly in Bavarian and trying to think of an excuse. The less hardy marketeers have already sloped off down the pub to get slowly drunk and sing secret corporate karaoke songs about the good old days when Lexii were merely confidence-boosted Toyotas and BMW could sell you a bent piece of angle iron and we’d all pay extra for the rust. You can imagine it, because it’s very hard not to be impressed with this new IS250. And very hard to imagine that when the early-adopter atmosphere of the noughties gets a handle on the whole anti-hero image thing, BMW is going to have to try much harder to sell you a car. And the chaps at Lexus are going to be very happy indeed.