While Lexus cars, vans, and SUVs have generally been more about wafting silently from place to place in splendid isolation, there’s one car in its core lineup that’s different. That would be the IS sedan, the hard-charging wolf among the sheep. This year, Lexus is unleashing an all-new IS that continues that tradition
What is it: The IS sedan is a premium compact, with proper rear-wheel drive chassis and available all-wheel drive. Lexus is expanding the availability of the IS to about 40 countries around the world, and the Philippines will be one of the first to launch the car in Asia.
Powertrain: The IS 350 F Sport will be powered by a naturally-aspirated V6 with 300 hp and 380 Nm. It will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The F Sport will feature five different drive modes. A cool air intake with sound generator and exhaust-diffuser package will make the car sound more distinctive. The IS 300h hybrid will have a 2.5-liter inline-four gasoline engine mated to a CVT transmission.
Styling: Quite a looker, the new IS has the signature angular headlamps and huge black Lexus spindle grille up front, complemented by a trapezoidal bumper. The new IS is 30mm wider than the previous model, and the new car makes use of it with wider rear haunches. The heavily-sculpted door panels give the car an always-in-motion stance.
F Sport trim, exclusive to the IS 350, will feature sportier front and rear bumpers, grille surround, rear lip spoiler, and rocker molding. The F Sport will have 19-inch wheels with unique center cap and larger rear tires.
Interior: Lexus’ luxury touches adorn the interior. Steering wheel and shift knob are covered in premium leather, with accent stitching all around the dash. The F Sport will feature sport gauges, unique door accents, and pedal trim.
Suspension: The F Sport can be ordered with Dynamic Handling Package with adaptive variable suspension and limited-slip differential. 19-inch forged alloy BBS wheels in matte black are available. These cut almost 2kg of weight per wheel. Forged aluminum suspension arms, lightweight coil springs and wheels hubs all contribute to a reduction in unsprung weight.
All these are indications that Lexus has not forgotten the mission of the IS, to be the pure driving sedan within its lineup. The car was developed at the new Toyota Technical Center and Shimoyama Test Track near Lexus’ global headquarters. Parts of the 5.2-km track were modeled after the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife, where chairman Akio Toyoda honed his own driving skill.
“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 Chief Engineer Naoki Kobayashi of Lexus International. “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.”