We said we were expecting some big changes when Lexus teased the new IS a few weeks back. Now that the sedan has officially been revealed, it’s safe to say our expectations have been met, and then some.
The new Lexus IS debuts with a face that’s sportier than before, with more aggressive swept-back headlamps taking front and center on the front fascia, which now looks more refined. The grille and air intakes see some slight tweaks as well. The rear end sees more significant changes. The IS now has a sharper physique out back, highlighted by a prominent light bar connecting the two taillights.
Inside, the sedan is as premium as any Lexus can get. The cabin is highlighted by a plethora of leather along with the NuLuxe-trimmed seats that are available in three different colorways. More options are included in the higher-trim F Sport and F Sport Dynamic Handling Package variants.
Lexus offers a handful of powertrain and drivetrain options with the new IS. The rear-wheel-drive IS 300 packs a 2.0-liter turbo that generates 241hp and 349Nm of torque and is mated to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SDS) automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive setup gets a 3.5-liter V6 that’s capable of 260hp and 319Nm and is mated to a six-speed automatic.
If that’s not enough, buyers can opt for the IS 350 and its 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311hp and 379Nm. The IS 350 is available with a rear-wheel-drive setup sporting an eight-speed SDS automatic or with all-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox.
In addition, Lexus mentioned that the new IS has received rigidity enhancements and suspension upgrades. Most noteworthy is the significant weight reduction in the suspension setup, which was achieved with lighter coil springs, A-arms, and stabilizer bars. This is part of the company’s strategy to improve the car’s performance and establish a uniform Lexus Driving Signature across its entire lineup.
“What we had foremost in mind in developing the new IS was to make it a car that excelled in communicating with the driver regardless of the road conditions or driving situation,” said Lexus International chief engineer Naoki Kobayashi. “We aimed to make the new IS a Lexus compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control.”
In the safety department, the Lexus IS gets the Lexus Safety System+ as standard. This includes features such as lane-departure alert, lane-tracing assist, frontal collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, and emergency steering assist, among many others. The IS also gets all-speed dynamic radar cruise control to boot.
Lexus has yet to talk about pricing, but it expects the new sedan to arrive in US dealerships later this year. What do you think of the changes the carmaker has made with the IS?