The new Lexus IS sports sedan has made its global debut.

The rear wheel drive sports sedan is the biggest selling model in the Lexus portfolio and set to arrive in Australia later this year.

It’s been honed at the company’s new technical centre in Shimoyama and also comes with new tech, including more advanced Lane Tracing Assist, and new Driver Emergency Stop Assist and Emergency Steering Assist.

The IS re-imagines the sports sedan concept with a low and wide stance, sleek proportions of a four-door coupe, slimmer headlights and a lower, sharper side character line.

Body rigidity is enhanced with reinforced radiator supports, increasing the number of front-side-member weld points and optimising structures from the rear-quarter pillars to the sides of the roof.

It becomes the first Lexus to debut the “Lexus Driving Signature” that will become the development standard for all future models.

“Lexus Driving Signature” is defined by linear vehicle operation that remains true to driver input, providing seamless transition from braking to steering and acceleration through a corner.

These dynamic values were achieved using the country road test course at the new technical centre which opened in 2019.

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

Optional new-design 19-inch rims improve cornering performance.

Enhanced body rigidity has further aided the elimination of unwanted noise and vibration, at the same time improving ride comfort and steering response.

Improvements have been made not only in the responsiveness of steering, but also the control ability and smoothness returning to centre.

With the optional 18-inch wheels the IS has a 45mm wider front and 50mm wider rear track.

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There’s three models from which to chose:

  • 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder IS300
  • 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 IS350
  • hybrid IS300h with a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor combo

The hybrid features improved throttle response and 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.

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

Inside the 10.3-inch display screen has been relocated, touch functionality added along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the first time.

The door trim now features a pattern of embossed, intersecting lines, new accents and decorative ornamentation, finished for the first time in Ash – open-pore black, Black Geometric Film, or F Sport-exclusive Satin Chrome.

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

Lexus Safety System+ has also been upgraded with new or enhanced features:

  • Lane Trace Assist. This system now features improved lane recognition performance that aids stability and comfort by automatically reducing vehicle speed to ensure constant G-forces while driving through curves.
  • Driver Emergency Stop Assist. 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 Assist. This system can actively assist steering within the vehicle’s lane as cued by the driver.
  • Pre-Collision Safety System. 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 Control. This system supports the prevention of collisions caused by pedal misapplication at low speed.

Lexus Australia boss 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,” he said.

IS was the top-selling passenger car in in the Lexus lineup in 2019 with 818 sales.

 

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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