Last year we featured Sony Mobile Electronics’ “Beyond Cool” 2001 Ford Focus project car (August/September ’03). We thought they’d gone as far as possible with that car–then we saw this 2002 Lexus IS 300 in Sony’s booth at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show (featured in April/May ’03) and changed our minds.

This laid-out Lexus, coordinated by project marketing manager Rick Kojan, was built in only 60 days at the Sony Mobile Electronics Technical Center in Park Ridge, New Jersey (by Tony Spinuzzi, Mike Bryceland and Marty Langan). It was designed to showcase the Sony Xplod ’03 product lineup and to support Sony Mobile’s “Sonic Truth (See it. Hear it. Feel It.)” marketing campaign for 2003.

The antithesis of last year’s entry-level Ford Focus vehicle project, the $33,000 Lexus four-door Sportcross is loaded with amenities from the factory. The company picked the wagon because it has larger hindquarters than the sedan and (like the Mazda Protege 5) it’s becoming popular in the Euro scene. Add to that the talents of Sony’s METC team, the help of a couple of leading custom shops and you’ve got a cover-quality custom if ever there was one.

Audio/Video:
All Sony components including a CDX-MP80 head unit with G-Protection CD mechanism and 4-volt RCA outputs, XAV-7W head unit, two single CD MP3 players (each with their own unique features in the car), CDX-MD3I head unit with 32,000-color TFT display, 60 internally stored selectable images and 4-volt RCA outputs, XA-39 MKII RCA source selector, five XM-D1000P5 class D bass amplifiers, two XM-460GTX amplifiers, XM-280GTX amplifier, two DVX-100 10-disc DVD changers with XA-118 Uni-link adapter, color rear-view camera, 10 color video monitors, Play Station II (PS2), 10 12-inch subwoofers, two 8-inch subwoofers, two 61/2-inch component speakers, four 61/2-inch midrange speakers, one 8-inch midbass speaker, Monster Cable wiring and connectors, two SVR deep cycle batteries and one Xstatic Super Cap 100 35-Farad stiffening capacitor.

Vitals:
Owner: Sony Mobile Electronics Vehicle: 2002 Lexus IS 300 Sportcross Wagon City/State: Park Ridge, New Jersey

Suspension:
Adjustable airbag system (installed at METC by Lona & Sons Hydraulics of Kansas City, Missouri) with two 12-volt compressors, front air struts, rear airbags, one 3-gallon air tank and three switches for front, back and pancake moves.

Interior:
Interior completely gutted then Dynamat lined, custom-made dash, modified center console, factory leather front seats and carpet reinstalled, custom door speaker and video monitor panels, rear seat and cargo area replaced with a custom-made fiberglass amp and subwoofer enclosure painted to match body.

Performance:
Factory 215-horsepower VVT-I 24-valve, twin-cam, in-line 6-cylinder engine, E-shift steering-wheel-controlled automatic transmission and limited slip differential.

Paint & Body Mods:
Elizir Aeromotive ground effects kit from Japan (originally designed for the Japanese Altezza), expanded mesh grille insert, jet black body with candy apple red graphics and silver flaked Xplod graphics all done by Dave at Sano’s Custom Paint in Dayton, New Jersey.

Rims & Rubber:
Moda 19×8 R6 alloy wheels with Yokohama P225/35-ZR19 Parada performance radials from The Tire Rack.