New Lexus IS is bigger than its predecessor
There are changes to the exterior and interior, but the biggest changes are under the skin
Lexus has officially revealed its 2021 IS sedan, which features extensive updates over the outgoing version.
The new IS features an exterior redesign inspired by the look of the ES. It’s 30mm longer and 30mm wider than its predecessor, with extended wheel arches to accommodate larger 19-inch wheel options.
Lexus claims the widened and lowered stance “nods to the inherently high level of driving performance the IS possesses”, while additional styling lines aim to enhance visual aggression. The F-Sport models feature a unique version of the car’s 3D spindle grille, using a mesh pattern and a lower air intake.
New triple-beam LED headlights have been used, sitting inside redesigned clusters, while a sloping rear quarter pillar and lowered rear deck join a new “blade-style” light bar that extends the full width of the tailgate. Five new paint colours are also on offer.
The IS’ interior layout will be familiar to drivers of current Lexus models, but the technology has been updated. Base models feature a new 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that has been moved three inches closer to the driver, while models with navigation get a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Both now feature Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration as standard.
The Mark Levinson sound system is also improved with 17 speakers and a total output of 1800 watts. Safety assistance technology too has been given a boost, with the raft of new features bringing it in line with the class standard. A new augmented-reality smartphone app also allows you to interact with the car in many ways.
Powertrains are broadly similar to the old IS. The base version is a 244hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, while there are two 3.5-litre V6 options making 264hp and 315hp, respectively.
Lexus makes substantial claims about the IS’s chassis improvements, which were worked on extensively by the brand’s Japanese engineers. Body rigidity has been enhanced to improve noise, vibration, harshness and ride comfort, while the suspension has been redesigned to accommodate larger wheel choices.
Despite this, unsprung weight is said to be reduced, with 20 percent lighter coil springs and lighter materials, including forged aluminium, for other unsprung components. Finally, new swing valve shock absorbers with velocity valves are claimed to provide more consistent responsiveness and ride quality.
No previous version of the Lexus IS has been brought to India. Lexus’ BMW 3 Series rival will now only be sold in the US, Japan and a few other Asian markets. No European, UK or India debut is on the cards. Lexus UK claims the newer and larger ES sedan outsells the IS by two to one, while 80 percent of the brand’s European sales are of SUVs. Meanwhile in India, the locally assembled ES sedan, which costs between Rs 51.90-56.95 lakh, will be the mainstay of Lexus’ line-up in the country.
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