By Staff Reporter
Luxury sedans may be losing ground top SUVs but luxury automakers like Lexus are not giving up on them yet. There is actually absolutely no reason to jettison a sporty saloon like the IS. New looks, enhanced performance and safety features, will hopefully convince more buyers that this is still the way to go.
The new Lexus IS drops the daytime running lights below the headlights set-up of the previous model, in favour of integrated slender headlamps featuring newly-developed compact and lightweight lamp units. The low position of the new front bumper, lowered side character lines and the shape of the boot, all combine to emphasise the lowered and wider stance of the new model.
The car also appears more aggressive thanks to the new three-dimensional bumper garnishes, muscular front and rear fenders, and the straight-line-type rear combination lamps sporting an “L” motif. The new Lexus IS model will be available for the first time with new-design and larger 19-inch tyres to improve cornering force and provide a greater contact patch with the road. Standard 18-inch wheels will replace the outgoing 17-inch wheels on all other models.
There are now two new exterior colours developed for IS. These include Sonic Iridium and Sonic Chrome.
The F Sport version is offered with an exclusive “F” mesh pattern as well as a grille-bottom air intake, special 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and the F Sport-exclusive Radiant Red Contrast Layering external panel colour.
The interior features standard NuLuxe-trimmed seating, with 10-way power driver and 8-way power adjustable front passenger seats, a dual-zone automatic climate control system with touch-sensitive controls, power sunroof, and SmartAccess with push button start.
A new 8-inch multimedia system features a new touchscreen whilst an expansive new 10.3-inch touchscreen is available on vehicles equipped with navigation or Mark Levinson with navigation.
The new multimedia system features Apple CarPlay compatibility, Android Auto compatibility, and Amazon Alexa integration. Additionally, the system offers Lexus+Alexa integration which will bring all the convenience of Amazon Alexa on the road. Consumers can just ask Alexa for the same access to information and the thousands of skills available with Alexa at home. Listen to audiobooks, play favorite music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings, and much more.
The new IS boasts a new version of Lexus Safety System+, which has further evolved through the introduction of advanced safety technologies, including added functions such as Emergency Steering Assist which improves the system’s lane recognition performance. Other improved driving systems on offer are Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) and Automatic High Beam.
In addition, various other forms of advanced safety equipment are featured on the new IS, including parking support brakes, and the Panoramic View Monitor, which supports periphery safety checks.
The rear-wheel drive IS 300 features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter engine is updated for 2021, and features an adaptive transmission control that helps determines the most appropriate gear for each driving situation based on driver input to achieve linear response. The engine delivers 180 kW and 350 Nm of torque. It comes equipped with an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission.
For added traction in cold-weather climates, the IS 300 is also available with all-wheel drive. The IS 300 AWD is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 194 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. On dry roads it maintains a 30:70 front-to-rear torque split for maximum performance, but it’s capable of sending as much as 50 percent of the power to the front wheels in certain conditions.
The new Lexus IS will be available for sale in South Africa early next year. The range will comprise three model derivatives which Lexus SA will announce at launch. Lexus’ industry-leading 7 Year Warranty and Maintenance Plan will come as standard for IS drivers.
*Editor’s note: specification above is for overseas markets and local specification will be confirmed at the local launch in 2021.
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