NEW LEXUS IS – EVOCATIVE SPORTS SEDAN DESIGN, FOCUSED DRIVING DYNAMICS AND ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

The new Lexus IS sports sedan has made its global debut revealing a dramatic exterior design, superb dynamic standards and state-of-the-art driving technology.

Arriving in Australia in late 2020, the new IS blends stunning style with focused rear-wheel-drive handling honed at the company’s new technical centre in Shimoyama, Japan – as well as Lexus-debut technology including more advanced Lane Tracing Assist1, and new Driver Emergency Stop Assist1 and Emergency Steering Assist1.

The IS reimagines the sports sedan concept with a low and wide stance, the sleek proportions of a four-door coupe, slimmer headlights and a lower, sharper side character line that combine to express a centre of gravity closer to the ground.

Gently sloped rear-quarter pillars, which help form a sleek cabin silhouette that wraps around from the sides, contrast with muscular rear guards and available 19-inch alloy wheels to create a fast and aggressive look.

This is further emphasised by single-blade rear combination lights sporting an “L” motif and a sharper overall contour created by the character line around the bootlid.

The elaborate and dimensional forms unique to Lexus are made possible by the use of drawing die construction, the latest in high-precision stamping technology that adds a mechanism that slides in tandem with the movement of the stamping press.

Lexus IS

Body rigidity is enhanced in the new IS by reinforcing radiator side supports, increasing the number of front-side-member weld points and optimising structures from the rear-quarter pillars to the sides of the roof, among other areas.

This contributes to the new IS continuing in the finest handling-led traditions of the nameplate by becoming the first Lexus to debut the “Lexus Driving Signature” that will become the development standard for all future Lexus models.

The “Lexus Driving Signature” is defined by linear vehicle operation that is faithful to a driver’s intentions, providing seamless transition from braking to steering and acceleration through a corner.

These Lexus dynamic values were achieved by utilising the country road test course at the company’s new technical centre in Shimoyama, Japan, which opened in 2019. 

The country road test course is based on many years of Lexus experience of driving on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, famous throughout the world for its gruelling driving conditions. 

It was designed to take advantage of the local topography, featuring approximately a 75-metre change in elevation, a wide range of curves and a variety of road surfaces. 

By repeatedly subjecting both vehicle and engineers to daily tests in this severe driving environment, Lexus was able to devise an ever-higher dimension of vehicle performance.

This approach also enabled maximum driver engagement and the fun of driving to coexist in the new IS with unwavering Lexus virtues of supreme ride comfort and exemplary refinement.

Thorough tuning was conducted for multiple road conditions and driving situations to improve elements such as responsiveness to driver input and the suppression of unnecessary movement in sprung mass.

New swing-valve shock absorbers have been employed and are equipped with ultra-low-velocity valves that respond to even minor road irregularities, generating the most appropriate damping force. 

Even when the stroke speed of the shock absorbers is low, appropriate damping force will be exerted to provide excellent responsiveness on all surfaces and result in ride quality that is consistently even.

The availability of new-design 19-inch tyres improves cornering performance. Hub bolts are used to fasten the wheels, resulting in tight handling and braking due to increased fastening strength and reduced mass.

The enhanced body rigidity has further aided in the elimination of unwanted noise and vibration while improving ride comfort, as well as enhancing steering response.

Improvements have been made not only in the greater responsiveness of the steering but also the controllability and smoothness upon “returning to centre”.

Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.
Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.
Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.

With available 18-inch wheels (comparative to the previous IS F Sport) the latest Lexus sports sedan rides on a 45mm-wider front track and 50mm-wider rear track.

Outstanding chassis performance allows the acclaimed Lexus powertrains to reach new heights, which offer customers a diverse matrix of low emissions, energetic performance and immediate response.

A focus on imaginative technology continues in the hybrid IS 300h with improved throttle response delivering more immediate acceleration from the 2.5-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder engine and electric motor pairing.

This advanced powertrain now combines greater driver engagement with incredibly low fuel consumption and emissions. 

For customers seeking a fine balance of performance and efficiency, the advanced 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder version in the IS 300 now features enhanced adaptive control for the eight-speed automatic transmission.

The transmission more actively selects the most-appropriate gear for each driving situation, providing increased response to drivers.

An eight-speed automatic transmission also continues to be available in the 3.5-litre normally aspirated V6-powered IS 350, which provides the superb power, immediate throttle response and emotive soundtrack for which the grade is renowned. 

The design, dynamic and performance qualities of the new IS are further supported by the application of state-of-the-art multimedia and safety technology.

Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.
Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.
Pre-production model shown. Final range and specifications may differ from those depicted.

Inside the 10.3-inch display screen features newly forward-mounted positioning, touch-display functionality and Apple CarPlay®2 and Android AutoTM2 compatibility for the first time compared with the outgoing IS.

The high-resolution display complements the renewed ambience of the IS cabin, which features key firsts.

This includes a new form of Lexus decorative expression for part of the door trim, which features a graphic pattern of embossed intersecting lines, new accents in surface treatments and decorative ornamentation finished for the first time in Ash – open-pore black, Black Geometric Film, or F Sport-exclusive Satin Chrome.

Available chromatic colours are used on the upper instrument panel and new two-tone colour schemes – Ochre and F Sport-exclusive Flare Red – are available.

Lexus Safety System+ has also been upgraded with newly added functions to create a safer on-road experience, including the addition or enhancement of:

  • Lane Trace Assist1. This system now features improved lane recognition performance aids stability and comfort by automatically reducing vehicle speed to ensure constant g-forces while driving through curves.
  • Driver Emergency Stop Assist1. If a driver does not respond to lane-departure warnings, Driver Emergency Stop Assist can gently reduce speed – and even stop the car in its lane – while activating hazard lights and the horn. It can then unlock the doors and activate an emergency rescue request.
  • Emergency Steering Assist1. This system can actively assist steering within the vehicle’s lane as cued by the driver.
  • Pre-Collision Safety System1. This system been expanded to include intersection detection, where during right turns the system responds to vehicles and to pedestrians crossing the street from the direction toward which the vehicle was travelling before it started to turn. 
  • Low Speed Acceleration Control1. This system supports the prevention of collisions caused by pedal misapplication at low speed.

Lexus International chief designer Kenichi Hirai said the aim for the new IS was to achieve an aggressive design that evokes a sense of driving.

“To achieve a high degree of design, Lexus members in product planning, production technology, engineering, and styling combined their various insights and united behind development from an early stage,” Mr Hirai said.

“This enabled us to achieve the proportions of a four-door coupe that has a low centre of gravity, an explicit form, and other elements that express the worldview of the new IS,” he said.

“We also pursued a deep and rich interior by paying close attention to detail, such as in the use of colour in design and as in ornamentation. I think the styling makes it possible to feel the maturation of the fun of driving.”

Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said the new IS represents a key opportunity in the Australian market as a rear-wheel-drive mid-sized sports sedan taken to new heights.

“Australian customer preferences align perfectly with the focus on sharp design, dynamic performance and cutting-edge technology with the stunning new IS, making it an important addition to Lexus dealerships later this year,” Mr Thompson said.

“Combined with Lexus values of customer care and the experiences delivered by the renowned Encore program, loyal and new luxury customers will be delighted by both the new IS and the Lexus luxury lifestyle,” he said.

“The IS also joins the successful ES to reinforce the Lexus commitment to the passenger vehicle segment, providing customers the luxury of choice with sedans that deliver diverse appeal.”

The IS remained the top-selling Lexus passenger car in 2019 with 818 sales, complemented by a 183.3 per cent year-on-year increase in ES sales to 561. Last year the IS and ES also increased the Lexus share within their segment.

The IS remains the brand’s highest-selling nameplate in Australia, with a cumulative 46,187 sales (to May 2020) since the nameplate’s launch in 1999. Globally, the IS sales tally stands at 1.09 million.

 

WITNESS THE UNVEILING OF THE NEW IS

Footnotes
.1 Driver assist feature. Only operates under certain conditions. Check the Owner’s Manual for explanation of limitations. Please drive safely.
2 Requires compatible device, USB connection, mobile data, network reception & GPS signal. Mobile usage at user's cost. Apps subject to change. For details see lexus.com.au/connectivity.
CarPlay® is a trademark of Apple, Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android Auto™ is a trademark of Google LLC.

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