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New Lexus IS300 Hybrid model

• Lexus announces details of IS300h petrol/electric hybrid
• Claimed 65.7mpg and 99g/km CO2 emissions
• Priced from £29,495, 11% BIK tax, zero VED

Lexus is aiming to tempt company car drivers out of their diesel Audi A4s and BMW 320ds when its new IS300h hybrid model goes on sale in July.

The petrol/electric saloon uses a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine allied to an electric motor to return claimed combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

As a result, it qualifies for free road tax and falls into the 11% benefit-in-kind tax banding. This means a 40% taxpayer will pay £108 per month in company car tax.

These figures undercut the current small diesel executive hegemony – an Audi A4 2.0 TDIe SE (112g/km/17%) will cost the same taxpayer £151 a month, while the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics will cost £151 per month.

As well as tax savings, Lexus is also claiming cost of ownership advantages thanks to low SMR (service, maintenance and repair) costs and strong residual values.

Figures from industry experts CAP predict that an IS300h SE will cost £2,160 in SMR costs over three years and 60,000 miles – around £140 less than the BMW and £390 less than the A4.

Lexus says that the reduced SMR costs are down to several factors – the IS has no clutch and uses a maintenance-free timing chain instead of a timing belt, while the hybrid system uses regenerative braking which cuts wear and tear on brake pads and discs.

In terms of residual values, the Lexus is predicted to be worth £10,400 (35% of cost new) after three years/60,000 miles. This falls between the A4 (£9,125/34%) and the BMW (£10,625/37%).

The new IS300h is available to order now with first deliveries in July.