When the current-generation Lexus IS was introduced in 2013, people were concerned about the bold styling direction that Lexus took with the car. But it turned heads everywhere it went, and the car went on to surpass sales expectations, outselling the previous-generation model, which was very popular in its own right.
Because the original styling of the current IS has proved so popular, Lexus decided to tread lightly with the 2017 Lexus IS, which debuted today at the Beijing Auto Show. As you can see from these photos, Lexus has kept the essence of car’s exterior appearance intact; however, the entire front fascia of the new model has undergone a transformation, highlighted by new headlamps, large air intakes in the front bumper and an evolution of Lexus’ spindle grille.
The bumpers, with incorporated air intakes, flow dynamically from the fenders, giving the new front end a high level of aggressiveness. The new grille folds back at a higher point, changing its top and bottom proportions that enhance its sporty feel with a visually lower center of gravity, while blending effortlessly into the reshaped hood. The sleeker profile of the IS, together with the enhanced character line that runs down the side of the car, makes the new IS seem as if it’s in constant motion even when sitting still.
The F SPORT’s grille features an exclusive 3-dimentional F-mesh pattern, with jet-black metallic coating that incorporates functional brake ducts. These brake ducts provide a sense of continuity with the side garnishes that enhance the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance. Adding to the IS’s dynamic flair are standard 10-spoke 17-in. wheels that boast new designs with bright machine finishes. Changes to the rear are highlighted by more pronounced “L”-shaped LED light guides that are now triple layered within the taillight housing and new rectangular chrome exhaust tips that accentuate the car’s sporting nature. Also, two new paint schemes (Deep Blue Mica and Graphite Black Glass Flake) have been added to the IS’s exterior color palate.
Thoughtful improvements have been incorporated into the new IS’s cabin as well. The first thing that’s sure to catch your eye is the multimedia display screen that has grown from 7 inches to 10.3 inches. The new high-resolution monitor offers a larger and clearer image of the various functions of Lexus’ innovative multimedia system. Also, “Enter” buttons have been added to the sides of the Remote Touch Interface (RTI) on the center console, making the system easier to use. On the center dash the audio and ventilation-control panel has been refined to fit completely within the knee bolsters, with a new hairline-finish surface that provides both a high-quality feel and improved appearance.
New stitching on top of the gauge cluster hood enhances the sporty feel of the IS cockpit, as do the refined speedometer and tachometer. For interior colors, Moonstone and Ivory have been replaced by Chateau, a new light shade that blends the elegance of Ivory with a more modern light-gray hue. Other changes to the new IS include new cup holders, a new larger leather-wrapped palm rest with stitching for the RTI and new markings on the in-dash analog clock.
As the engine lineup was only renewed a year ago, there are no changes on this front. The IS 200t continues with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, good for 241 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. The IS 300 gets a 3.5-liter V6 with 255 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque, and the IS 350 gets the same engine, but with 306 HP and 277 lb-ft. Six-speed and eight-automatic transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive are available, depending on the model.
Look for more information later this year, when the 2017 IS is expected to go on sale in the U.S.