As a Lexus brand ambassador, Jones put the new IS 250, 350 and 300h sedans through a series of tests at Sydney MotorSport Park to acquaint himself with the sports sedan ahead of its Australian launch next month. The July arrivals will include the new generation IS 250, IS 350 and IS 300h hybrid, which is new to the IS Line.
Given he's a brand ambassador, Jones is hardly going to rubbish the new IS line, but the twelve-time Grand Prix winner is renowned for calling a spade a spade, so the praise does count for something.
Jones said the stiffened body, new electric power steering system and enhanced suspension made the IS an even better driver's car.
"The improvements are clear to see at all speeds," Jones said. "It's a lot stiffer, so it instantly provides more reward to the driver with excellent body control.
"In Formula One you make the chassis as stiff as possible and then let the suspension do all the work.
"That's true of the IS too but fortunately the suspension is also fantastic, offering a lot of grip without affecting ride comfort."
The new IS body shell features adhesive bonding for the first time which, combined with laser screw welding, provides high overall rigidity. The body is also 10kg lighter thanks to the use of high-tensile steel and aluminium.
The new IS range features upgraded suspension across all grades, comprising revised front double wishbones and new multilink rear suspension to provide improved grip and stability. 'Sports Luxury' and 'F Sport' grades feature Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which precisely controls damping force of the front and rear shock absorbers in response to different driving conditions and surfaces.
IS 350 Sports Luxury and IS 350 F Sport models also feature Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), which firms steering feel and reduces lock-to-lock turns at high speed for optimum control. F Sport models have exclusive suspension and steering tune to reflect the grade's sporting intentions.
Jones added that IS's allure went beyond its enhanced dynamic potential, paying tribute to its enhanced L-Finesse styling with signature spindle grille and the introduction of a hybrid model.
"I was very pleasantly surprised by the look of the car for one thing," Jones said, "but also the new interior and IS 300h hybrid model, which not only provides a great drive but amazing fuel economy as well".
The IS 300h will produce the lowest CO2 emissions of all its luxury rivals while consuming just 4.9 litres of fuel per 100km*.
Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley said Jones' endorsement was clear validation of the comprehensive development put in place to create the new IS 250, 350 and 300h sedans.
"We are delighted that Alan has provided such positive feedback on this and the numerous other features that make new IS such an enjoyable, premium sedan. We anticipate a similar reaction from Australian buyers when deliveries begin in July."