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Lexus IS 220d Tuning Guide & Best Mods

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Table of Contents


The IS220d, part of the Lexus IS series, made its first appearance around 2005 and was specifically tailored for the European market.

Powered by a 2.2L four cylinder diesel engine, the IS220d delivers a promising balance of power and fuel efficiency.

This engine produces approximately 175bhp and 295 lb-ft of torque to give decent power on tap for daily driving. 

While the IS220d may not have had a prolonged life since it was discontinued in 2012, its unique place within the Lexus line-up as a diesel sedan is undeniable.

Due to it’s affordability and good fuel economy, many owners are now finding spare cash left over for mods and upgrades.

In this guide we’ll go over the best ways to extract extra performance from the car as well as customise it’s looks.

Let’s get started!

Tuning Box/Remap

If you are looking for the most cost effective way to increase performance and boost fuel economy, then a tuning box is what you are after.

Let’s talk about performance first.

A tuning box from TDI Tuning can increase power by over 50bhp and boost torque substantially – totally transforming the way the car drives.

This will give your IS220d a sharper throttle response, which enables the car to respond immediately to your commands. This can make the driving experience more enjoyable, especially when overtaking or merging on highways.

Some tuning boxes also have different modes which allow you to adjust the parameters to improve your fuel economy as opposed to maximum performance. If you do a lot of driving, then this increase could pay off the cost of the tuning box down the line.

You can purchase a ProRacing tuning box for the IS220d below.

Tuning Box

For the IS 220d


Installing coilovers on your IS220d significantly enhances its visual appeal.

Since these components allow height adjustment, you can lower the car’s stance to achieve a more streamlined and agile appearance.

The impact of reduced height is not merely aesthetic as it also conveys an impression of enhanced speed and performance potential.

One of the paramount benefits of coilovers is their adjustability. Disconnecting the traditional spring and shock combination, coilovers provide an integrated solution.

This setup allows you more control over the suspension settings of the car.

Furthermore, some coilovers even offer adjustability in characteristics such as damping and rebound.

Of course, when you lower the car you also lower it’s centre of gravity.

This results in less body roll when cornering enhancing handling performance.

It’s important to go for a quality set of coilovers so you don’t ruin the smooth ride quality that the IS220d is known for.  

If you are after maximum performance and adjustability, then you can’t go wrong with the BC Racing Coilover set.

BC Racing Coilovers

IS 220d

Aftermarket Exhaust

Unfortunately there aren’t that many off-the-shelf exhaust systems available anymore for the IS220d.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get one however.

Aside from looking online for second hand ones that may pop up for sale, you can contact a local exhaust fabrication shop to have one custom built.

This way you get to dictate how it sounds and how it looks as well and it often doesn’t cost as much as you may think. 

If it’s increased sound you are after, then you will want to get the exhaust shop to replace the standard muffler with a more free flowing one to allow for additional sound. 

Another simple way to unlock a deeper exhaust tone is to have an exhaust shop take out the resonator in the exhaust. This can produce a slightly sportier growl.

Front Splitter

An aftermarket front splitter brings both performance and aesthetic advantages.

The primary function of a front splitter is to enhance the aerodynamics of your car.

As the name suggests, it essentially splits the air, sending it in various directions to reduce air pressure under the car.

This decreases the lift, therefore resulting in improved high-speed stability and handling.

While the noticeable handling benefits on most smaller cosmetic splitters are small, it’s still worth mentioning!

The majority of owners will likely fit a splitter for the aesthetic purposes. 

Beyond the performance benefits, a front splitter can add a bold, aggressive aesthetic to the front of your IS220d.

It gives the car a lower, wider stance, often making it look more sporty and unique.

There aren’t many options out there that are bespoke to the car, so your best bet will be a universal splitter like the one below and then trimming it slightly to fit the length of the front bumper.

Front Splitter

Fits the IS 220d

Boot Spoiler

Adding a rear boot spoiler adds an element of sportiness and dynamism, lending the IS220d a more performance-oriented aesthetic that instantly distinguishes it from the ordinary.

The spoiler can be colour-matched to the body of the car or contrasted to provide an eye-catching highlight.

Due to the classy nature of the car, subtle spoilers tend to work well as opposed to traditional “wings” that don’t really fit the lines and style of the car. 

You can get a subtle spoiler below, and can specify what colour you want it in to either colour match it to the car or create some contrast. These can be fitted yourself with strong adhesive.

Bootlid Spoiler

Fits IS 220d

EGR Valve Cleaning

The primary job of the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve is to control the amount of the engine’s exhaust gases redirected back into the intake air stream.

By allowing a certain portion of exhaust gas to re-enter the combustion process, it helps in reducing the engine’s operating temperatures and prevents the formation of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), a harmful emission.

Over time, carbon deposits can accumulate on the surface and within the EGR valve, given that it regularly interfaces with exhaust gases.

These carbon deposits can interfere with the appropriate operation of the EGR valve, causing issues like erratic idling, reduced power and poor fuel efficiency.

Cleaning your EGR valve offers a variety of benefits and can make your IS220d feel like a new car again!

A freshly cleaned EGR valve can improve throttle response and performance, better your fuel economy and prevent any future problems from occurring as a result of a failing EGR valve staying open.

K&N Air Filter

As a reputable choice in the industry, K&N air filters offer numerous benefits for those looking for a cost-affordable upgrade.

K&N air filters are designed with performance in mind and as such are manufactured to allow better air flow into your engine. 

K&N air filters are built to last, meaning you’ll potentially save money over time by not having to replace paper filters frequently. K&Ns are washable and reusable, enabling you to clean and re-oil them rather than replacing them every service.

Some owners also report slight increases in fuel economy after installing one of these filters, although the difference won’t be massive.

K&N air filters are designed to fit seamlessly into your Lexus IS220d’s existing airbox. This means that installation is a quick and straightforward process.

K&N Air Filter

For the IS 220d

Finishing Thoughts

With most of the IS220d’s on the road cruising around in standard form, dare to be different!

There are lots of great mods out there for a variety of budgets. 

For performance, your best bet is to go with a tuning box and a set of coilovers. This is the most cost effective and reliable way to extract both straight line performance and handling performance. 

For customising the exterior, subtle mods tend to work best. 

A boot spoiler and front splitter can work wonders at giving the car an extra edge and making it look that bit sportier.

Happy modding!