Debuted in 1999 as the brand’s fun to drive rear-wheel-drive sports sedan and an answer to Audi’s A4 and BMW’s popular 3-Series. Now 3 generations later comes the new 2021 Lexus IS. Let’s get this out of the way, this is not an all-new model but rather a very extensive refresh. The mid-sized sedan sees a sportier, aggressive and sleek look noticeable by a continuous red taillight strip across the boot lid, an aggressive exhaust diffuser while the front-end features redesigned slim headlamps with the now integrated L-Shaped signature daytime running lights.
Putting the car through it’s paces and limits, Lexus were in pursuit of a fun driving rear wheel driven sedan from the onset, “With an aim to pursue the fun of driving, and based on the philosophy that ‘roads make cars’, we brought the new IS to life by thoroughly driving it in harsh environments, including at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, which opened in 2019.”
The IS was developed to invoke some emotion and appeal aesthetically, “We paid particular attention to aesthetic and emotional values, which cannot be measured using numbers alone, so as to pursue linear operation that is faithful to driver intention, such as during successive driving operations and in terms of driving rhythm. In creating the desired driving sensation, we examined elements of impurity, such as unpleasant vibrations and noises, from every possible direction, and we thoroughly investigated and eliminated their causes, returning to the basics so that we could evolve a comfortable driving sensation.”
The new IS come with three engine lineup, a turbocharged 2.0 four cylinder engine good for 180kW and 349N.m
sending power to the rear wheels via an 8-Speed Auto Gearbox. A 164kW hybrid option is included as a carryover of the 2.5 four cylinder naturally aspirated engine coupled with electric propulsion. Topping the engine range is a 3.5 V6 engine pushing 232kW and 380N.m also rear wheel drive using the 8-Speed Automatic Gearbox.
You have an option of choosing between the regular IS derivative and the F-Sport derivative which can be visually set apart, from the grille
The new IS feature the old IS interior, albeit a few updates such as a new multimedia system that features a new touchscreen and is compatible with SmartDeviceLink, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, meaning you can link your iPhone or Android Smartphone to the wide 10.3-inch touchscreen. Air vents have been revised and now spot a turbine inspired round shape. The steering wheel has been lightly revised and that’s about it.
The new IS will likely touch down in South Africa in early 2021 with all the current lineup model offered.