Lexus has revealed first images of its new IS ahead of the car's imminent Detroit Motor Show debut. As you can see in the gallery, it is quite a striking machine, inspired by the LF-CC concept that was shown at the Paris Motor Show last year. Aggressively contoured and featuring the marque's now trademark "spindle" grille, the new IS has a longer wheelbase and is wider than its predecessor, giving it a more athletic presence.
The bigger dimensions also result in more interior space. Lexus says boot space and rear legroom have been significantly improved, the latter aided by a thinner design for the front seatbacks. The rear bench can split 60:40 and fold down. The interior design is a major step forward, borrowing heavily from the look/feel of the recently introduced GS and the LFA supercar. Lexus also claims a sportier driving position.
The IS is based on the GS executive saloon’s platform, although the wheelbase has been shortened and the track is narrower. Lexus also applied structural strengthening in the form of additional spot-and-laser-screw welding, as well as extra adhesive in strategic areas for improved rigidity. The double-wishbone front suspension setup gets stiffer anti-roll bars and softer spring rates, and the revised multilink rear suspension sees the toe-control arm being moved rearward. The upgraded steering system features, inter alia, a higher stroke ratio and strengthened rack.
The IS350, which we had an exclusive opportunity to drive in pre-launch form late last year in California (see the report in the February 2013 issue of CAR), is powered by a 3,5-litre V6 engine with outputs of 233 kW and 378 N.m. All IS models will have Drive Mode Select that allows the driver to tailor powertrain responsiveness to eco, normal or sport modes. In the F-Sport, the sport+ mode makes the steering quicker and heavier, and the damping firmer.
IS250, IS350 and IS300h models will be offered. F-Sport variants are also available and feature an even more aggressive frontal treatment as well as some interior changes, including exclusive seats.