In 1998 Lexus introduced the world to its new model, the IS300 aka the Toyota Altezza. The Lexus IS300 made its debut as a compact executive car aimed at younger drivers looking for a sporty, luxury sedan. The Lexus IS300’s stylish design, impressive performance, and high-quality build quality quickly made it a hit among car enthusiasts, and it remains one of the most popular Lexus models to this day.
Over the years, the IS300 has developed a cult following amongst enthusiasts that are looking for a stylish 4-door sedan to turn into a project car. Whether you're looking to make your IS into a more enjoyable daily driver, weekend cruiser, or high-performance track car, the IS300 is a great platform for all sorts of driving activities. The Lexus IS300’s simple rear-wheel drive layout and wide range of aftermarket parts make it easy to customize and improve for anyone that wants to turn a wrench.
In this tuning guide, we will cover some of the most popular Lexus IS300 modifications including suspension upgrades, brake modifications, motor swaps, and much more! If you’ve been looking for an extensive guide on how to modify your Lexus IS300 you’ve found it!
Keep reading to learn more about just how versatile the Lexus IS300 platform is and how to get the most out of your car whether it's on the street or the track!
Are you looking to improve the handling prowess of your Lexus IS300? If so, then upgrading the suspension is a great place to start! The suspension plays a big role when it comes to determining how your car handles on road and on the track. If you're looking to take your Lexus IS300’s corner-carving abilities to the next level, it's important to understand what performance modifications make sense for your Lexus IS300 project.
In this section, we'll explore the performance benefits of upgrading your Lexus IS300 suspension and the different modifications you can make to achieve your goals. From lowering springs to track-oriented coilovers and show-stopping air suspension, you'll find a range of options to choose from.
Whether you're a performance-minded driver or just looking for a more comfortable ride, upgrading your suspension is a great IS300 performance modification that will make your car drive like a dream!
When it comes to modifying your suspension on a budget, lowering springs are a popular upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners looking to improve their cars' handling and appearance.
By lowering the ride height of your Lexus IS300, lowering springs are improving the look of your car and lowering the center of gravity, which results in a more stable and responsive ride. Another benefit is the reduced suspension travel that lowering springs provide, helping to reduce body roll and making it feel more agile and stable in all driving situations.
Whether you're cruising around town or pushing the car to its limits on a twisty road, lowering springs can help you get the most out of your Lexus IS300. They are an easy and affordable way to upgrade your car's performance and appearance, and they can provide years of enjoyment and satisfaction without breaking the bank.
Here is our list of recommended lowering springs for the Lexus IS300
When it comes to choosing the best suspension options for your Lexus IS300, a set of coilovers for your XE10 should be at the top of your list. When compared to a set of lowering springs, coilovers offer a more substantial suspension upgrade in most cases for Lexus IS300 owners who want to improve the handling and performance of their cars.
Compared to lowering springs, coilovers provide greater adjustability, allowing you to fine-tune the ride height and stiffness of your suspension to your exact preferences and driving needs.
This level of customization can help you achieve the perfect balance of comfort and performance, whether you're cruising around town or pushing the car to its limits on a race track.
In addition to the near-infinite adjustability that is offered, coilovers also provide improved handling and stability compared to your average set of lowering springs. The excellent damping and stiffness features provided by coilovers help to reduce body roll and increase the responsiveness of the car, making you feel more confident behind the wheel.
As you can see, coilovers offer a simple, affordable suspension upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners that increases your suspension’s performance far beyond adding a set of lowering springs Whether you're looking for a more comfortable and predictable ride, improved handling and stability, or the ability to fine-tune your suspension to your exact preference, coilovers are a great option for those looking to get the most out of their Lexus IS300.
Here is our list of recommended coilovers for the Lexus IS300
If you're looking to build a show-stopping Lexus IS300, then air suspension may be the best option for your build. Air suspension provides an unrivaled suspension option for Lexus IS300 owners who want to achieve the ultimate balance of comfort, performance, and versatility.
Air suspension systems work by replacing the traditional steel springs with airbags that are inflated and deflated using a compressor and control system. This allows you to easily adjust the ride height and stiffness of your suspension on the fly, providing a level of versatility and adjustability that isn’t possible with coilovers or lowering springs.
One of the best benefits of a vehicle equipped with air suspension is that the system provides a much smoother and more comfortable ride compared to your average strut and spring setup. By automatically adjusting the ride height and stiffness to match the road conditions, air suspension helps to reduce the impact of road imperfections, resulting in a much more composed and confident driving experience.
As you have read, air suspension is the ultimate suspension upgrade option for Lexus IS300 owners who are looking for the best of the best when building their show car or neck-breaking daily driver. With its unbeatable combination of comfort, performance, and versatility, air suspension provides a driving experience that simply cannot be matched by other suspension options.
Here is our list of recommended air suspension kits for the Lexus IS300
If you're looking for another way to stiffen your Lexus IS300’s chassis and improve steering response, then look no further than a set of beefy aftermarket sway bars. Sway bars work by reducing the amount of body roll during cornering, which helps to keep the car level and stable on the road. This increased stability results in a more confident and controlled driving experience, especially when pushing the car to its limits on a twisty road.
In addition to helping stiffen your Lexus IS300, a set of anti-roll bars is also one of the easiest and most effective mods that you can purchase for your car. Unlike other spendy suspension upgrades, a set of aftermarket sway bars can be installed with a set of hand tools in a few hours time and won’t require any significant removal or modification of other parts to fit. This makes upgrading to a set of thicker sway bars an easy choice for those that are looking to further refine their Lexus IS300 suspension setup or for owners that are looking for the best bang for their buck Lexus IS300 mods.
As you have read, aftermarket sway bars are a great upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners who are looking to improve the handling and stability of their cars. Because of their easy installation and affordable pricing, sway bars are a great way to get started with your suspension upgrades, or to add the finishing touch to a more track-oriented suspension setup.
Here is our list of recommended sway bars for the Lexus IS300
When it comes to another simple upgrade for your Lexus IS300, installing an aftermarket strut bar can help when it comes to preventing body roll and improving steering responsiveness. Strut bars work by connecting the top of the strut towers on each side of the car, helping to reduce body flex and improve handling. This results in a more responsive Lexus IS300, especially when driving your car on a twisty road or at the race track.
While you won’t exactly feel the effects of a rigid aftermarket strut bar during your daily commute, this is definitely a worthwhile performance mod if you enjoy spirited drives on the weekend or are taking your Lexus IS300 to the track regularly.
Here is our list of recommended strut bars for the Lexus IS300
If you're looking to dial in the suspension on your Lexus IS300, then a set of adjustable suspension arms should be on your checklist! Adjustable aftermarket suspension arms are a useful suspension upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners who are looking to fine-tune the alignment of their cars.
Suspension arms are critical components of the car's suspension system, and adjustable aftermarket arms allow you to adjust the geometry of the suspension to suit your driving style and performance needs, whether it be more camber, getting the toe back to spec, or adjusting caster to help with steering inputs.
Here is our list of recommended adjustable suspension arms for the Lexus IS300
In this section of our Lexus IS300 tuning guide, we will be exploring the many advantages of upgrading the brake setup on your Lexus IS300. A well-functioning brake system is important when it comes to the safety and performance of your car. From increased stopping power, improved pedal feel, and prevent brake fade, upgrading your brake system can provide a variety of benefits that you can take advantage of whether you’re driving to work or chasing lap times. Keep reading to learn why upgrading your Lexus IS300's brake setup is a great idea to fully round out all of your Lexus IS300 mods!
When it comes to upgrading your Lexus IS300’s brake components, one of the easiest things to upgrade right off the bat is the brake pads. Adding a set of performance brake pads is a crucial part of any performance-oriented driving setup, and for the Lexus IS300, this same idea is no different. Whether you plan on simply daily driving your IS300, enjoy an occasional rip on your favorite back road, or want to take your XE10 to the track, adding a set of performance brake pads will go a long way in terms of improving brake performance.
One of the biggest benefits of adding a set of aftermarket performance brake pads is that they offer a significant improvement in stopping power compared to a set of stock brake pads. This is generally due to the fact that performance brake pads are made with specific materials that are used to ensure that the brake pads provide better-stopping power and resist heat more willingly than a set of standard economy brake pads ever could. As previously mentioned, with a set of performance brake pads you will be pleasantly shocked at how much better they feel than the old, run-of-the-mill brake pads that you replaced them with!
Here is our list of recommended brake pads for the Lexus IS300
If you're looking for a way to maximize brake performance and stopping power, we highly suggest pairing your set of performance brake pads with a set of aftermarket brake rotors as well! Performance brake rotors are designed to provide improved braking performance and greater durability, making them an ideal choice for drivers who demand the best from their cars.
One of the key benefits of aftermarket performance brake rotors is that they offer improved cooling and heat dissipation compared to stock brake rotors. This is critical for high-performance driving, as heat can cause brake fade, reducing stopping power and increasing the risk of brake failure. With performance brake rotors, you'll be able to drive your Lexus IS300 harder and faster, with confidence that your brakes will perform when you need them most.
In addition to improved cooling and heat dissipation, performance brake rotors are also designed to provide improved durability and longevity. With high-quality materials and advanced construction techniques, performance brake rotors are built to last and are able to withstand the demands of high-performance driving without warping or cracking. Whether you're driving on the street or on the track, performance brake rotors will help you get the most out of your Lexus IS300 and will provide the stopping power you need to drive with confidence.
Here is our list of recommended brake rotors for the Lexus IS300
If you're looking to have a completely overhauled brake system, adding a set of aftermarket brake lines is a good way to round out your brake modification parts list. Adding a set of stainless steel brake lines is an essential upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners who are looking to improve the braking performance of their cars and should be purchased in tandem with all of your other brake components. Performance brake lines are designed to provide improved brake feel and response, greater reliability, and increased durability.
One of the key benefits of aftermarket performance brake lines is the improvement in brake feel and response. The standard brake lines found on the Lexus IS300 are made from rubber, which can expand under pressure and cause a spongy brake pedal feel. Performance brake lines, on the other hand, are made from braided stainless steel and are designed to eliminate this brake line expansion, resulting in a firmer, more direct brake pedal feel. This improved brake feel and response will give you more confidence and control behind the wheel, making it easier to drive the car to its limits on the track or on the road.
In addition to the improved brake feel and response, performance brake lines are also designed to be more reliable and durable than standard brake lines. The braided stainless steel construction of performance brake lines provides greater strength and resistance to abrasion, making them less likely to crack, burst, or leak over time. Whether you're driving on the street or on the track, performance brake lines will provide the reliability and durability you need to drive with confidence, and will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your brakes will perform when you need them most.
Here is our list of recommended brake lines for the Lexus IS300
Continuing with brake upgrades, adding a few bottles of high-temperature brake fluid is an important step for Lexus IS300 owners who want to improve their car's braking performance. Brake fluid is a critical part of any brake system, helping build and sustain the pressure needed to engage the brake calipers and slow your Lexus IS300. Having a reservoir full of clean, fresh brake fluid is one of the best ways to ensure that your brakes will function when needed, whether it be during stop-and-go traffic, on the track, or during an emergency braking situation.
When it comes to using high-temperature brake fluid specifically in your Lexus IS300’s brakes, there are a handful of advantages that you will gain when compared to your average off-the-shelf brake fluid. One of the biggest benefits of using high-temperature brake fluid is improved brake performance in high-heat conditions. Traditional brake fluids can experience boiling and loss of effectiveness when exposed to high temperatures, which can result in poor braking performance or complete brake failure. High-temperature brake fluids are specifically designed to resist boiling and maintain their braking performance, even in extreme heat conditions.
Another benefit of high-temperature brake fluid is its ability to reduce the risk of brake failure due to the brake fluid breaking down over time. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it attracts moisture from the air over time. Moisture in the brake fluid can cause corrosion and reduce the brake fluid's boiling point, which can result in poor braking performance or complete brake failure. High-temperature brake fluids are formulated with inhibitors to reduce the rate of moisture absorption, providing an added level of protection against corrosion and brake failure.
Doing a drain and fill on your brakes before a track day is often recommended on most track-prep checklists that you will find floating around the internet because it is a relatively easy thing to do. Even if you don’t go to the track, high temp brake fluid can also benefit you when you're taking your IS300 out for a weekend drive and pushing the car hard on your favorite road. Almost nothing inspires confidence behind the wheel like a solid brake pedal to rely on when you need it the most!
Whether you're driving on the street or on the track, high-temperature brake fluid is an important upgrade that will improve the performance and safety of your Lexus IS300's braking system.
Here is our list of recommended brake fluids for the Lexus IS300
A big brake kit (BBK) is a high-performance brake upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners who are looking to significantly improve their car's braking performance. A big brake kit typically includes larger diameter brake rotors, larger brake calipers, and high-performance brake pads, and is designed to provide improved stopping power and decrease brake fade.
One of the key benefits of a BBK for your Lexus IS300 is the significant improvement in stopping power. Larger diameter brake rotors provide more surface area for the brake pads to bite, which in turn provides more stopping force. The result is a braking system that is capable of stopping your Lexus IS300 faster and more reliably, on both the street and at the racetrack.
Another benefit of a big brake kit is improved brake cooling, which is critical for any Lexus IS300 owner that is interested in high-performance driving. Larger diameter brake rotors and larger brake calipers provide more surface area for heat dissipation, which helps to reduce brake fade and maintain consistent braking performance. Whether you're driving on the street or on the track, a big brake kit will provide the stopping power, fade resistance, and brake cooling you need to drive with confidence, and will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your IS300’s brakes will perform when you need them most.
Here is our list of recommended big brake kits for the Lexus IS300
From the factory, the Lexus IS300 was a relatively quick, sporty sedan back when it debuted in the early 2000s. Fast forward to today and whenever you mention a 2JZ, the first thing most people think about is the legendary 2JZGTE motors. While the NA 2JZGE found in your Lexus IS300 isn’t a slouch, owners looking to take their cars to the next level in terms of performance have a few options when it comes to adding more horsepower to the platform. Some IS300 performance upgrades can significantly improve your vehicle's power and responsiveness, making it even more enjoyable to drive. Whether you're hitting the track or just cruising through the city, adding a bit of power to your Lexus IS300 is another way to refine the luxury sedan and take it to new heights.
If you're curious about some of the most popular upgrades for the Lexus IS300, keep reading to learn about what we recommend when it comes to performance upgrades for any 1st gen Lexus IS300. From adding an air intake to a catback exhaust and even full motor swaps, your Lexus IS300 is a great platform that is just waiting for you to add more power to it!
When it comes to bolt-on IS300 performance parts, an aftermarket air intake system is a popular upgrade for Lexus IS300 owners looking to add a bit of power to their cars. The intake system is responsible for supplying air to the engine, and it plays a critical role in determining the engine's power and efficiency. Adding a more free-flowing aftermarket intake is one of the easiest ways to add a slight bump in power to your Lexus IS300, often costing just a few hundred dollars and taking an hour or two to install.
One of the biggest benefits of adding an aftermarket air intake to your Lexus IS300 is the bump in power and the change in the induction noise. The factory air intake on your Lexus IS300 is designed for quiet operation and compliance with emissions regulations, which can result in a restrictive airflow. An aftermarket air intake allows for a larger volume of air to reach the engine, which can result in some power gains. Additionally, the improved airflow can result in a more aggressive induction noise, adding a bit more character to your Lexus IS300.
If you're looking to improve the performance of your Lexus IS300, an aftermarket air intake is an effective and affordable upgrade that can result in increased horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency.
Here is our list of recommended air intakes for the Lexus IS300
When it comes to the most popular IS300 performance upgrades, adding an aftermarket exhaust system is definitely in the top 3 when it comes to Lexus IS300 mods for owners looking to improve the performance and sound of their cars. The factory Lexus IS300 exhaust system is designed for quiet operation and emissions regulations, which results in a restrictive flow of exhaust gasses. An aftermarket exhaust system can result in improved performance by reducing back pressure and improving the flow of exhaust gasses, which results in a few more ponies picked up on the dyno.
One of the most significant improvements when adding an aftermarket exhaust to your Lexus IS300 is an increase in horsepower and torque. The reduced back pressure from the aftermarket exhaust system can help your 2JZGE breathe, which results in an increase in power to the wheels.
Another added perk of adding an aftermarket exhaust to your Lexus IS300 is the improved sound of the exhaust itself. The factory exhaust system is designed for quiet operation, which can result in a muffled and rather dull-sounding exhaust. An aftermarket exhaust system can provide a more aggressive and throaty sound, better matching the aesthetics of a modified Lexus IS300.
As you can see, adding an aftermarket exhaust to your Lexus IS300 is a great way to increase power and drastically change the driving dynamics of your car. Whether you're looking to turn your IS300 into a drift car with the lightest components possible or just want to change out the exhaust on your street car for something that sounds better, adding a performance exhaust to your IS300 is a win-win no matter how you slice it!
Here is our list of recommended performance exhaust systems for the Lexus IS300
Now that we’ve covered the basic bolt-on IS300 performance upgrades, let's talk about how to add a whole lot more horsepower to your 2JZGE. The best way to do that? By adding an aftermarket turbo kit to your Lexus IS300.
When it comes to building an NA-Turbo setup for your Lexus IS300, there are two general paths that you can take; boosting your 2JZGE without opening up the engine and keeping boost limited or buying a set of 2JZGTE rods and a head gasket to help strengthen their 2JZGE. Most Lexus IS300 owners opt to do a bit of surgery before adding a turbo, ensuring that the motor stays together for longer than the first trip to the dyno for a proper tune.
A properly built NA-T 2JZGE setup will perform quite well when tuned with or without adding the GTE pistons and rods, with the limit of the stock 2JZGE bottom end being around 400 horsepower before you start to have problems.
If you're looking to improve all aspects of your Lexus IS300, one area that you can focus on is upgrading the transmission. Whether your car came with a W55 or you looking to swap to a manual, upgrading the components on your Lexus IS300’s transmission can offer several benefits that will make every drive more enjoyable.
In this section of our Lexus IS300 tuning guide, we will be covering some of the basic transmission upgrades that you can do to a manual IS300 and also talk about some of the options available if you are looking to replace your W55 or simply replace your automatic transmission with a manual one.
Ready to learn about the various benefits of upgrading your Lexus IS300’s transmission? Then let's get started!
If your Lexus IS300 was lucky enough to come equipped with a factory 5-speed W55 transmission, then it's worth looking into upgrading the factory clutch when you are due for a replacement!
Installing an aftermarket clutch to your Lexus IS300 provides several benefits in terms of performance. A high-performance clutch allows for quicker and smoother engagement, improving your driving experience. An aftermarket clutch offers increased durability, making it ideal for street cars that are pushed hard or people that plan on taking their Lexus IS300 to the track. With a better clutch, the power from your engine can be transferred to the wheels more efficiently, leading to faster acceleration and improved performance.
An aftermarket clutch can also provide a noticeable improvement in terms of pedal feel, providing more direct shifts between each gear. Aftermarket clutches also often come with a higher clamp load, which results in your transmission being able to handle more torque and horsepower without being damaged.
As you can see, adding an aftermarket clutch to your Lexus IS300 can provide a noticeable improvement in driving performance, making it a great investment for any IS300 owner that is looking to improve their car’s drivability.
Here is our list of recommended clutch kits for the Lexus IS300
Now that we covered the performance benefits of installing an aftermarket clutch, let's talk about the other part of the equation - a lightened aftermarket flywheel!
An aftermarket flywheel can have a significant impact on the performance of your Lexus IS300. The flywheel is responsible for regulating the rotational energy between the engine and the drivetrain, and an aftermarket flywheel is designed to be lighter than the factory dual-mass flywheel found in your Lexus IS300. This reduction in weight makes the engine more responsive to throttle inputs, improving acceleration and making your Lexus IS300 feel more responsive.
In addition to improved acceleration, an aftermarket flywheel can also enhance the driving experience of the IS300 by allowing the engine to rev more freely. The more free-flowing revs from your engine can lead to a more enjoyable driving experience and also allows you to reach peak power levels more quickly. The reduction in rotational mass dragging on the engine can also lead to increased horsepower and torque, making the IS300 even fun to drive on the road or the track.
Here is our list of recommended aftermarket flywheels for the Lexus IS300
For most Lexus IS300 owners that came equipped with a manual transmission, the addition of n aftermarket short shifter is usually the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to perfect shifts in every gear.
Now you might ask, why shorten the shifter throw in my Lexus IS300?
Adding a shorter throw to your shifter linkage equals less time and effort required to engage gears, making for a more seamless and enjoyable driving experience. Secondly, the reduced throw also results in a more precise feel, giving you greater control over your Lexus IS300 and allowing for smoother, more accurate gear changes.
Additionally, short shifters are often designed with a stiffer, more durable construction, reducing the likelihood of flex or wear, which can cause the shifter to feel vague or imprecise over time.
By installing an aftermarket short shifter, you can enjoy a more responsive and engaging driving experience, with improved precision and longevity compared to the stock W55 shifter and linkage.
Here is our list of recommended short shifters for the Lexus IS300
Having read through this, you now understand how modifying your Lexus IS300 can enhance your XE10. Undertaking a comprehensive approach to these upgrades can significantly boost your car's performance and handling, rendering it even more pleasurable to drive.
We trust that our tuning guide has supplied valuable insights and suggestions for your Lexus IS300 transformation. As you continue on this journey, we encourage you to explore our other content, brimming with more insights and expert advice.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Your continued interest motivates us to keep providing high-quality content. Happy driving!