The new Lexus IS sedan has made its global debut ahead of an Australian arrival late in 2020.
Dimensionally, the new IS is 30mm longer and wider, now measuring 4710mm in length and 1840mm in width. Height increases 5mm to 1435mm, while the wheelbase is unchanged at 2800mm. Lexus says the changes result in proportions that resemble a four-door coupe.
Styling updates include slimmer headlights, a lower side character line, sloped rear-quarter pillars, and single-blade rear combination lights sporting an "L" motif.
While the new IS doesn't ride on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the brand claims body rigidity is enhanced by reinforcing radiator side supports, increasing the number of front-side-member weld points and optimising structures from the rear-quarter pillars to the sides of the roof.
When compared to the outgoing car, the new IS gains a wider track, growing by 50mm at the rear and 45mm at the front end.
There are also new swing-valve shock absorbers equipped with ultra-low-velocity valves that iron out minor road irregularities.
On the inside, buyers will find an updated and repositioned 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The rest of the layout and fixtures are largely taken from the predecessor.
Buyers get the choice of new accents in Ash - open-pore black, Black Geometric Film, or F Sport-exclusive Satin Chrome. Chromatic colours are used on the upper instrument panel and new two-tone colour schemes - Ochre and F Sport-exclusive Flare Red - are available.
The safety kit will feature a series of updated features including Lane Trace Assist which improves the lane recognition performance, and Driver Emergency Stop Assist that’s clever enough to reduce speed - and even stop the car in its lane - while activating hazard lights and the horn if the car thinks the driver is incapacitated.
Lexus has also tweaked the autonomous emergency braking system to include intersection detection, where during right turns the system responds to vehicles and to pedestrians crossing the street from the direction toward which the vehicle was travelling before it started to turn.
Locally, the Lexus will offer three models: the IS300, the IS300h, and the IS350.
The entry-level IS300 will use an updated 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid IS300h gets a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor.
A naturally-aspirated petrol V6 engine powers the range-topping IS350, it's also paired with an eight-speed automatic.
Interestingly, the IS has been the brand's highest-selling nameplate in Australia, with a cumulative 46,187 sales (to May 2020) since the nameplate's launch in 1999. Last year, the IS was the top-selling Lexus passenger car with 818 sales.
The 2021 Lexus IS is scheduled to reach Australia in late 2020, full specifications and pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.
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