• All-new exterior featuring Lexus spindle grille design and independent L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
• New interior design with LFA-inspired, driver-focused cockpit
• F SPORT exclusive interior/exterior features
The all-new Lexus IS will make its world debut at the Detroit Motor Show on January 15th 2013. A press conference will be held in the Cobo Centre at 9.30am, and live webcast streaming of the event will be available at http://www.lexus-global.com.
The all-new IS model range for Europe will include the IS 250 and the IS 300h, the first IS to feature Lexus Hybrid Drive, both models being also available with a further evolution of the F SPORT package.
Today, Lexus released photos of the all new IS in advance of next week’s World Premiere. High resolution pictures can be downloaded on the Lexus European newsroom: http://newsroom.lexus.eu.
Inspired by the acclaimed LF-CC concept, the all-new IS features the bold Lexus spindle grille frontal design, awarding the compact sedan a combination of aggressive elegance, a more powerful road presence and a stronger brand identity.
In profile, the mass of the cabin is concentrated rearwards and a rising line flowing from the lower body into the rear lamp clusters adds further elegance and dynamism.
The exterior design incorporates a new, powerfully articulated headlamp cluster design with Lexus trademark and L-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRL) located independently below.
Featuring a clean and elegant design theme, the cabin provides a driver-focused, ergonomically ideal environment.
The new IS’s increased width and wheelbase length provide significantly increased levels of rear seat comfort and luggage capacity. The combination of extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design generates best-in-class knee room and improved accessibility. The IS also features new, 60:40 split/folding seats.
The newly designed driver’s seat offers greater comfort and better lateral support. Both the seat hip point and the angle of the new, LFA-inspired steering wheel have been lowered and steering reach adjustment increased, creating a more sporting driving position.
Cabin material, trim and finish refinement are complimented by the latest advances in HMI technology and a high quality analogue clock with surface-emitting illumination. The centre console incorporates Lexus first, electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature with the touch of a finger.
EXCLUSIVE F SPORT DESIGN FEATURES
F SPORT models are instantly recognised by an exclusive grille and front bumper design. The ‘waistline’ of the grille is higher than on standard models, increasing the area of the lower grille to make it capable of drawing in a larger volume of cooling air appropriate to a sportier performance.
The IS F SPORT also features an exclusive, highly supportive seat design using an ‘integrated foaming’ construction method, ensuring that there are no gaps between seat upholstery and filling to combine excellent comfort with outstanding lateral holding performance.
F SPORT models also inherit the innovative driver’s meter with moving centre ring from the LFA.
I am a Lexus hater. Much as I like the original LS 400, everything else they make just seems so willfully bland, inoffensive, and characterless. And then there's this new 2014 IS, and…and I think I like it.
Lexus has been on a bit of a roll for the past few years. It either started with the imperious LS 600hL hybrid or the woven-carbon LFA, but then news started trickling in that the GS and LS cars are pretty good in F Sport trim. Even on the Toyota side things have gotten interesting with the Toyobaru twins and their badass pink Grandpa car.
So now I kind of trust Lexus to build a sharp-handling, aggressive sports sedan.
And while I grew up thinking that IS drivers were even bigger assholes than the dicks in my college town driving BMWs, now I'm kind of coming around to the Lexus. I'm starting to think it's gone from being a jackass' car to being a bad guy's car. I like that.
The white car you see is an IS 350 F Sport, with a familiar direct-injected 3.6 liter V6. It's got 306 horsepower, which is plenty, as far as I'm concerned. More important to me is that Lexus seems to care about building a car that handles. When the car starts showing up in June, we'll see how people like the thing.
The red car is a Lexus IS 300h hybrid, not coming to the US. It's got a 2.5 liter four and Lexus claims it will drink less than 4.3 liters of gas per 100 kilometers. In our numbers that's around 55 miles per gallon.
Lexus IS chief engineer, Junichi Furuyama, has confirmed that small capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engines are being considered for the new sedan, while a wagon variant has been rejected.
Speaking at the Detroit auto show, where the third-generation Lexus IS made its official debut, the chassis chief said that Lexus “still have some time to consider” whether the existing 2.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 would be replaced by a smaller, boosted engine.
“Turbocharged downsizing engine is something that we keep as one of the options,” added Furuyama-san.
“Currently we are considering whether or not we should maintain the current naturally aspirated V6 engine, or we should shift to turbocharged downsizing.”
Both the 2.5- and 3.5-litre V6 engines carry over from the previous-generation IS, which launched in 2005, but the smaller engine is a decade old, having debuted in the 2003 Toyota Crown Royal.
While the larger-capacity V6 gets both direct and port injection to maximize efficiency, and mates in the new car with an eight-speed automatic borrowed from the GS, the small V6 utilizes direct-only injection and retains a six-speed auto.
The 4GR-FSE 2.5-litre engine’s 154kW and 252Nm outputs are unchanged in the new Lexus IS, despite the car being heavier than the old one.
Furuyama-san claims his team “tried to reduce the weight as much as possible [with new IS], but engine to engine comparison, the new one is about 20kg heavier than the old one”.
The outgoing Lexus IS 250 claimed 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds, so the new car will be marginally slower. Without turbocharged boost, the 2.5-litre needs 4800 revs to produce its peak torque; a BMW 320i with its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder makes its full 270Nm from 1250 revs all the way to 4500rpm.
Although the entry Lexus IS 250 won’t keep performance and economy pace with its German rivals, the four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid Lexus IS 300h will target CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km and fuel consumption below 4.3L/100km, while delivering 162kW – comfortably beating the diesel BMW 318d and Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI.
In addition to considering a smaller-capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Furuyama-san admitted that a wagon version of the new IS was considered, but ultimately rejected.
“The wagon, there is a strong demand in European markets for a Lexus sports-wagon type. We do recognise that.
“However, more than half of Lexus sales are achieved in the North American market, and there is almost no demand or very little demand for sports-type wagon in the North American market, so we examined very carefully and very seriously for the possibility, but we came to the conclusion that this wagon is not viable business option.
“At this moment, we don’t have any particular plan.”
Nor are there immediate plans to replace the current five-year-old Lexus IS F, with Furuyama-san claiming that the company is still assessing its options for the next-generation compact performance flagship.
“Well, IS F, so many people express very strong interest in IS F, and they all ask the same question [when a new model is coming],” mused Furuyama-san.
“For the time being, our plan is to retain the current model for a while. As to what we are going to do next, I’m not in a position of disclosing.
“All I can say is we’re thinking very hard about what we should [do]…”
A rendered look at what the upcoming Lexus luxury/performance coupe may look like.
It's been several years since Lexus has built a luxury coupe people not over the age of 50 would be interested in buying. Back in the Nineties, the SC was a decent mid-size coupe that offered optional V8 power and competed against the likes of the Acura Legend Coupe and Mercedes-Benz SL. It was on the market until 2000 until it was replaced by an all-new model, now with a retractable hardtop. The V8 became standard but the SC overall was no longer stylish or exciting in any way. It was the ideal old rich man's luxury coupe.
That's now all in the past as Lexus looks to attract a younger generation of buyers, evidence of which can be seen by the new GS and IS rear-drive sport sedans. As we reported last week, the Japanese automaker will also unveil a coupe variant of the IS sedan, likely to be called the RC 350. This new rendering from Theophilus Chin is a very good indicator as to what the new coupe may look like. It'll be powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 in both the GS 350 and IS 350. A high-performance version is also in the pipeline, both of which are due to arrive in the very near future.
Some would say that the 2014 Lexus IS hardly needs a styling upgrade, which is even more true if we’re talking about the factory-offered F-Sport package. However, you will always have people wanting more, which is why Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has released a styling and performance kit for the new IS.
For the time being, the TRD aero kit and performance package are available only in Japan. The price for the entire list of modifications is a little over €9,500 ($12,180). If that is too much, those of you interested (and living in Japan) will be glad to know that the parts can be ordered separately as well.