Competes with: BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti Q50
Looks like: The IS aims to intimidate you with its spindle grille
Drivetrain: 2.5-liter V-6 or 3.5-liter V-6 engine with six- or eight-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Summer 2013
After revealing exterior and interior photos of its 2014 IS last week, Lexus provided more details on the sport sedan as part of the car's debut today at the 2013 Detroit auto show.
The 2014 IS will again be offered in IS 250 and IS 350 versions, powered by a 2.5-liter V-6 and a 3.5-liter V-6, respectively. Horsepower and torque figures for the engines weren't released, but the powerplants carry over from the 2013 IS, so expect similar output. (The 2013 IS 250 made 204 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque while the IS 350 produced 306 hp and 277 pounds-feet of torque.) The rear-wheel-drive IS 350 now gets the eight-speed automatic transmission from the IS F high-performance model but the rest of the lineup features a six-speed automatic.
The new IS gets Lexus' Drive Mode Select system with Normal, Eco, Sport modes and, for the IS 350, a Sport+ mode that adjust vehicle response for enhanced gas mileage or performance. Another new performance feature is G-force Artificial Intelligence, or G-AI. Available in Sport mode, the system adjusts how the transmission downshifts based on G force, and also holds the selected gear through a corner.
Lexus says the IS' structural rigidity has been improved with the use of new bonding methods and additional welds. The suspension has been overhauled, too. The sedan still uses a double-wishbone front suspension that now has greater sway rigidity while the rear suspension uses a new multi-link design from Lexus' larger GS sedan. The steering gearbox is also based on the one in the GS. The F Sport edition of the IS gains unique suspension and steering tuning designed to yield better handling.
A new 60/40-split folding backseat as well as complimentary weather and traffic information are standard. Lexus' Remote Touch-operated navigation system is available. The car has 10 standard airbags, and an array of active safety features are available including a lane-departure warning system, a blind-spot warning system, and rear cross-traffic alert. Automatic high-beam headlights that dim when there's traffic ahead are also available.