By Steve & Tamami Laser
While Lexus has been going gangbusters introducing new crossovers like the compact NX and delightfully revamped midsize RX, it’s time to shift gears and inject a shot of adrenaline into its entry level rear-drive sedan.
In our most recent review of the IS 250, we called it “Sporty Luxury for Budget-minded Professionals.” The new look unveiled today at the Beijing International Auto Show should help keep it on the radar screens of those who might wander off to BMW or become impatient waiting for the Tesla Model 3.
The reshaped headlights are more pronounced than before and extend inward, resulting in an eye-catching look that accentuates the “L”-shaped Daytime Running Lights (DRLs).
The bumper with its huge air intakes (that reminds us of the Toyota Mirai), flows from the fenders, for a more aggressive look. The new grille folds back at a higher point, changing its top and bottom proportions for a visually “lower center of gravity,” while blending into the reshaped hood.
Lexus says the sleeker profile of the IS, together with the enhanced character line that runs down the side of the car, makes it appear like it’s in motion while standing still. The F SPORT’s grille features a three-dimensional F-mesh pattern, with jet-black metallic coating that incorporates functional brake ducts.
Adding frosting to the cake are new 10-spoke 17-inch wheels with bright machine finish. The rear view displays more pronounced “L”-shaped LED light guides that are now triple layered within the taillight housing, and new rectangular chrome exhaust tips. Two new paint schemes, Deep Blue Mica and Graphite Black Glass Flake, have been added to the exterior color palate.
In keeping with the new exterior design theme, upgrades have been made inside the cabin. The multimedia display screen grows from 7.0 to 10.3 inches. The new high-resolution monitor is said to offer a larger and clearer image of multimedia system functions.
An “Enter” button has been added to the side of the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) on the center console to improve ease of use. On the center dash, the audio and ventilation-control panel has been refined to fit within the knee bolsters, while sporting a new hairline-finish surface.
New stitching on top of the instrument cluster enhances the sporty look along with a refined speedometer and tachometer. For select markets, Lexus says two new shades have been added to the interior color mix: Nuance Black and Noble Brown.
Moonstone and Ivory have been replaced by Chateau, a new light shade that “blends the elegance of Ivory with a more modern light-gray hue.” Other changes to the IS include new cup holders, a larger leather-wrapped palm rest with stitching for the RTI and new markings on the in-dash analog clock.
Lexus says the new IS lineup will remain unchanged with three engine offerings for international markets. The rear-drive IS 200t will be powered by the recently added 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which comes mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
This engine, first introduced on the NX, features Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide (VVT-iW) that allows it to switch between Otto and Atkinson cycles by varying the intake-valve opening angles, and the D-4ST direct injection system. It combines a high pressure fuel system for injection directly into the cylinders with a low pressure system for injection into the ports. Output is rated at 180kW at 5,800rpm with 350Nm torque at 1,650 to 4,400 rpm.
We expect the new-look IS to eventually make its way to the U.S. market.
Features and specifications apply to models for the Chinese market and are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source, photos and video from Lexus and Toyota Motor Corp.
Story © 2016 CarNichiWa.com