Altezza lights (also known as “Euro Taillights” and “Lexus Lights”) are vehicle tail lamp clusters consisting of one or more internal lamp units, covered with a clear (or tinted) acrylic cover made popular by Lexus. Some Altezza lights also include LED lighing.
The style was first used on the rear light clusters on the first generation Lexus IS, which was sold in Japan under the brandname Toyota Altezza. This iconic style of lamp units became known in many circles as ‘Lexus-style’ or ‘Altezza-style’ tail lights.
Prior to the release of the Altezza, the Mark IV Toyota Supra (probably inspired by Ferrari car designs at that time ) used an encased tail lamp assembly which essentially started the trend. The Mark I Altezza gained popularity due to the fact that the inside housing was finished in chrome whereas the Toyota Supra lamps came in a darker gun-metal grey color.
The Lexus IS is a series of entry-level luxury cars/compact executive cars produced by the Lexus marque of Toyota Motor Corporation. The IS was introduced as an entry-level sport model slotted below the ES in the Lexus lineup. The IS was originally sold as the Toyota Altezza in Japan until the introduction of the second generation Lexus IS design. The Altezza name is still used at times to depict chromed car taillights like those fitted to the first generation model.
The first generation Altezza (codename XE10) was launched in Japan in October 1998, while the Lexus IS 200 (JCE10) made its debut in Europe in 1999 and in North America as the IS 300 in 2000. The first generation, straight-6-powered IS featured sedan and wagon variants. The second generation IS (GSE20) was launched globally in 2006 with V6-powered IS 250 and IS 350 sedan models. A high-performance V8 version, the IS-F, premiered in 2007. According to Lexus, the IS designation stands for Intelligent Sport.
Toyota Motor Corporation
Tahara, Aichi, Japan
Entry-level luxury car/Compact executive car
Produced as a direct competitor to the luxury sport sedans of the leading European luxury marques, the Altezza/IS was designed with a greater performance emphasis than typically seen on prior Japanese luxury vehicles. The design received critical acclaim at its 1998 launch, and was awarded Japan’s “Car of the Year” honor for 1998-1999. A year later, Lexus began marketing the IS equivalent models in Europe, and the IS debuted in the U.S. as a 2001 model.
The Altezza came in 3 variants:
The AS200 (Chassis code TA-SXE-10, sedan or TA-GXE-10 FR Gita wagon, TA-GXE-15, 4WD Gita wagon), powered by a 1G-FE inline-6 engine generating 160 PS JIS (118 kW) or 155 PS DIN (114 kW) and mated to a 6?speed manual transmission (4?speed automatic optional)
The RS200 (Chassis code GH-SXE-10, sedan) powered by a Yamaha tuned 3S-GE inline-4 engine generating 210 PS JIS (154 kW) and mated to a 6?speed transmission (5?speed automatic optional)
The AS300 (Chassis code TA-JCE-10 FR Gita Wagon, or TA-JCE-15, 4WD Gita wagon) powered by a 2JZ-GE inline-6 engine generating 220 PS JIS (162 kW) or 215 hp SAE (160 kW) and mated to only a 5?speed automatic for the FR Gita Wagon or a 4?speed automatic for the 4WD Gita Wagon.
The IS was completely redesigned for the 2006 model year and was introduced in the fall of 2005. The Toyota Altezza name ceased to be used with the introduction of the Lexus name in Japan. A pre-production car of the second generation IS model was shown in the 2005 Geneva Auto Show. The slow-selling SportCross station wagon version was dropped from the lineup worldwide.
The new IS was the second debut of Lexus’ new L-finesse design philosophy on a production vehicle, following the premiere of the 2006 Lexus GS performance sedan. The new IS design featured sleeker, coupe-like contours, a fastback profile, and a repeated arrowhead motif in the front fascia and side windows. The forward design was reminiscent of the earlier Lexus LF-C coupe concept. The second generation IS made its North American debut at the 2005 New York International Auto Show.
For Japan, the United States and Canada, three IS models are sold by Lexus:
IS?250 – 2.5?L V6, 204?hp (153?kW), rear wheel drive
IS?250 AWD – 2.5?L 4GR-FSE V6 with all wheel drive, 204?hp (153?kW)
IS?350 – 3.5?L 2GR-FSE V6, 306?hp (228?kW), rear wheel drive
In parts of Europe, two IS models are sold by Lexus:
IS?250 – 2.5?L V6, 204?hp (152?kW), rear wheel drive
IS?220d – 2.2?L Inline-4, 175?hp (130?kW), diesel engine, rear wheel drive, manual transmission only