New Lexus IS Makes Global Introduction at Beijing Motor Show

Refreshed Lexus IS debuts at Auto China 2016.

Lexus’ entry in the compact luxury market is the IS, a vehicle that goes up against the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Audi A3 among others. Four years ago Lexus took the wraps off of the second-generation model. Yesterday, Toyota’s luxury brand unveiled a new IS, using the Beijing Motor Show as the venue for that debut.

Lexis IS Sedan.
New Lexus IS Debuts at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Updated Front Fascia

The upcoming model advances a look that is at once powerful as it is familiar. Lexus said the modest update is due to the popularity of the current visage. Nevertheless, the front fascia receives transformative changes, including new headlamps, large air intakes in the front bumpers, and an evolved spindle grille.

The new grille now folds back at a higher point to enhance its sporty feel. In F SPORT models, the grille gains an exclusive three-dimensional F-mesh pattern with jet-black metallic coating. That grille also incorporates functional brake ducts.

Standard with the Lexus IS are 10-spoke 17-inch wheels that advance fresh designs with bright machine finishes. At the rear, more pronounced “L”-shaped LED light guides are present and triple layered within the tail light housing. New rectangular chrome exhaust tips give prominence to the sedan’s sporting persona.

Interior Modifications and Updates

Inside, the IS’ cabin benefits from several changes, including a large multimedia display. Measuring a whopping 10.3 inches, the new color display replaces the current 7-inch layout. Lexus says that the new high-resolution monitor provides a sharper image of the various functions accessible. Further, “Enter” buttons have been added to both sides of the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) on the center console to enhance ease of use.

Lexus also reworked the center dash, refitting the audio and ventilation panels to set within the knee bolsters. An all-new hairline-finish surface provides an improved look and feel according to Lexus.

Additional interior improvements include an in-dash analog clock, new stitching in an effort to enhance the cockpit’s sporty design, and new cup holders. The leather-wrapped palm rest has also been enlarged.

On the safety front, Lexus notes that the IS’s safety equipment has been improved with the Lexus Safety System +. This system brings together Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Radar Cruise Control.

Three Engine Choices

As before, the IS’ three-engine lineup returns. The rear-wheel drive 200t is powered by a 2.0-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 241 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. This engine comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The IS also offers a pair of 3.5-liter, V-6 engines. In the all-wheel drive only IS 300, this engine makes 255 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque, and comes paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

In the IS 350, the V-6 benefits from stoichiometric (stoic) direct injection, what modifies the air-fuel mixture for heightened performance. As a result, this engine produces 306 horsepower and 277 foot-pounds of torque. It comes paired with an 8-speed automatic with the rear-wheel drive model or a 6-speed automatic with the all-wheel drive model.

Pricing to be Determined

Absent from the model line is a manual transmission, something Lexus’ competitors continue to provide. If you are looking for a diesel you will not find one among any Lexus models and as for a hybrid IS, you will have to check out the ES 300h Hybrid instead.

Lexus hasn’t shared pricing or a release date yet for the new IS.

Lexus IS photo copyright Lexus Motors.

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Matthew Keegan
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