The all-new Lexus IS model range made its European debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Due to be launched by mid-2013, the range includes the IS 300h – the first IS to feature Lexus Hybrid Drive – and the rear-wheel drive IS 250, as well as a further evolution of the F Sport package, available for both models.
Driving performance is considered the single most important element of sport sedan ownership by D-premium segment customers. In conjunction with a dramatic new design featuring the Lexus spindle grille, the new IS has been engineered to provide outstanding dynamic capabilities and driving experience.
‘We adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the new IS’ said Junichi Furuyama, IS Chief Engineer. ‘Rather than developing each individual aspect in the hope that they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience, we first established the pleasurable driving experience owners desire as our major premise, and then we developed the individual performance elements to support it.’
‘Every aspect of the new IS has been engineered with a renewed focus on the sporting performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.’
The new Lexus IS also showcases an all-new interior that combines all the refinement and quality expected of any Lexus, with a more sporting, focused driver’s environment, a significant improvement in rear seat space for best-in-class roominess, and a larger, more convenient luggage compartment.
The dramatic design, sleek surfacing and tight, sporting proportions of the all-new IS perfectly reflect the significant advances made to the dynamic capabilities and driving performance of the Lexus premium compact sedan.
At 4,665 mm overall, the new Lexus IS is 80 mm longer and 10 mm wider than its predecessor. The front overhang has increased by just 10 mm, and the wheelbase has been extended by 70 mm to 2,800 mm.
Following the new generation GS, ES and LS models, the all-new IS features the sophisticated dynamism of the Lexus spindle grille frontal design, awarding the compact sedan a combination of aggressive elegance, a more powerful road presence and a stronger brand identity.
Beneath a new pop-up hood design which allows for the lowest possible vehicle front profile whilst optimising pedestrian impact protection, the grille is flanked by headlamp clusters clearly positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself.
The new, powerfully articulated headlamp is underscored by Lexus trademark L-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) located independently below the cluster, giving the new IS a unique, highly distinctive visual signature.
In profile, the strong horizontal beltline creates the impression of larger rear tyres and a lowered centre of gravity. The mass of the cabin itself appears to be concentrated rearwards, visually applying weight to the rear tyres to enhance the perception of traction. A rising crease line flowing from the lower body, through the rear wheel arch and into the rear lamp clusters adds further dynamism to the sweeping elegance of the sedan’s sporting profile.
The clean, elegant, coupe-like lines of the new IS are further enhanced by a rear wheel arch hemming treatment which gives the tyre greater prominence by allowing it to be placed 5 mm further outboard and closer to the wheel arch, and a laser-brazed roof structure which joins the roof and side members without the need for an unsightly roof drip moulding.
The clean, horizontal theme of the new Lexus IS interior design is bisected by the strong upward sweep of the centre console, creating a snug, focused, ergonomically ideal environment from within which the driver can fully exploit the new Lexus compact sedan’s superb driving dynamics.
The newly designed, quilted driver’s seat offers greater comfort and better lateral support. The seat hip point has been lowered by 20 mm. The new, LFA-inspired, 3-spoke, 370 mm diameter steering wheel features a new paddle shift switch shape for easier, more accurate operation, and improved ergonomics to the wheel-mounted switchgear.
The angle of the wheel has been lowered 3 degrees, and steering reach adjustment has been increased by 23 mm, creating a more sporting driving position.
With 50 mm of its 70 mm longer wheelbase dedicated to increased rear seat space and 20 mm dedicated to increased luggage capacity, the new, 10 mm wider IS offers rear seat occupants significantly increased levels of comfort. The combination of extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design generates an 85 mm increase in knee room for the new, 60:40 split/folding seats. And a 20 mm increase in the gap between the B pillar and the front corner of the seat improves accessibility.
Throughout the interior, high quality materials and finishes convey contemporary, premium look and feel, with a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Lexus is globally renowned. Soft touch finishes abound, including knee pads either side of the centre console for increased driver and front passenger comfort.
The new IS follows the GS and LS in adopting a Drive Mode Select system, with meter illumination and multi-information display design changing from blue to red in sports driving modes, along with the switching of the hybrid system indicator to a tachometer in the IS 300h.
Dual-zone Air Conditioning with Electrostatic Switches
The new IS features a dual-zone air conditioning system with touch-sensitive, electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature. Sliding a finger up or down the bar shaped switch allows for temperature adjustment in 0.5 degree increments. Temperature can also be adjusted by simply pressing the top or bottom half of the switch or the arrow markings.
Advanced Multimedia Systems
Two types of multimedia system are available for use in conjunction with the high-resolution 7″ full colour display, Lexus Display Audio (LDA) and Electro Multi Vision Navigation (EMVN).
The EMVN system is operated via a second generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device, which has been enhanced for increased user-friendliness and ease of operation.
iPod functionality and interface quality has been enhanced; via USB port connectivity, the iPod menu can now be driven from the vehicle’s steering wheel control switches, and album cover art displayed on the 7″ multimedia screen.
Premium Sound System
The new Lexus IS is fitted with a sound system representing the next generation of realism and clarity in Lexus sound. It features a fully digital, Class-D, 6 or 8 channel amplifier capable of creating virtually distortion-free sound with minimal voltage losses. The natural sound dynamics and rich harmonies generated by the high definition amplification are faithfully reproduced by an enhanced, 6 or 8-speaker layout which features a new, 55 mm wide-range tweeter.
Mark Levinson® Premium Surround System
Available with the new IS’s EMVN system, the Mark Levinson® Premium Surround System creates sound based on the concepts of Effortless Dynamics and Effortless Transient Response, which combine natural dynamics with high response and tracking performance to offer sound quality equivalent to that of a live, concert hall performance.
Using the same technologies as those found in top-end home audio systems, it features a 12 channel fully digital Class-D amplifier generating a total output of 835 Watts through 15 GreenEdgeTM high-efficiency loudspeakers. A new Auto Volume system automatically adjusts system volume for each song being played to ensure consistent volume levels and full audibility for even the quietest passages of music.
Developing twice the volume for the same power consumption, GreenEdgeTM power-saving technology has been incorporated into each of the 15 speakers. GreenEdgeTM technology covers a wider frequency band than conventional systems, giving an enhanced dynamic range.
The new IS will be available in Europe in two versions – the 2.5 litre V6 petrol engined IS 250 and the IS 300h: the first IS model to feature Lexus Hybrid Drive.
Reinforcing the company’s commitment to the future of full hybrid drive technology, the new Lexus IS 300h is equipped with a second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system, which offers significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2, NOx and particulate (PM) emissions, with no loss of performance.
The full hybrid drive system combines a powerful 105 kW/143 DIN hp electric motor with a newly developed, 2.5 litre, 133 kW/181 DIN hp, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine featuring a next generation D-4S fuel injection system, Dual VVT-i and a high-efficiency Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
With the rear wheels driven through the hybrid system’s Electric Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT), total system power is 164 kW/223 DIN hp. The new IS 300h combines a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 8.3 seconds and a maximum speed of 200 km/h.
Conversely, the new Lexus full hybrid returns an average fuel consumption of 4.3 l/100 km, and class-leading CO2 emissions from 99 g/km.
The new IS 300h is also the first Lexus full hybrid to install the battery beneath the luggage deck board, offering compartment capacity on a par with that of petrol engine models.
The IS 300h’s transmission can also act as a sequential shiftmatic system operated via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The system has been tuned to more closely match engine speed increases in line with vehicle acceleration. Under deceleration, engine braking force is delivered in six steps, with a shift feel similar to that of a manual transmission. In combination, these E-CVT enhancements offer drivers a more engaging driving experience.
Active Sound Control (ASC)
The driving experience is further enhanced through the adoption of Active Sound Control (ASC); a new technology that compliments the engine sound with audio sound through a dedicated loudspeaker, delivering the engine sounds of acceleration and deceleration even when the engine is turned off and the full hybrid IS 300h is operating under electric motor power alone.
The new IS 250 will be available in Europe with the rear-wheel drive version of the 2.5 litre V6 petrol engine. It develops 152 kW/207 DIN hp at 6,400 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm, accelerating the IS 250 from 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds and giving a maximum speed of 225 km/h.
Carried over from the current IS 250, the chain-driven double overhead camshaft, 24 valve, 2,499 cc V6 petrol engine is of a particularly compact and lightweight design. Weight reduction measures include the use of an aluminium die-cast cylinder block and intake manifold, and a resin-made intake chamber. The overall engine assembly is made even lighter and more compact through the installation of the water and oil pumps within the chain cover.
The V6 features D-4 direct injection and Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) to both intake and exhaust camshafts, enhancing engine performance.
6-Speed Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT)
The IS 250’s ‘6 Super ECT’ close-ratio 6-speed automatic transmission features a sequential manual shifting mode. It incorporates numerous technologies including faster shift speeds, earlier torque converter lock-up and downshift throttle blips to support the range of driving modes available through the Drive Mode Select system.
The target of segment-leading driving enjoyment has been at the heart of the new IS development programme, and -sacrificing none of the quietness and comfort inherent in any Lexus- every aspect of the new compact sedan’s driving dynamics has been painstakingly engineered to that end.
The new bodyshell is lighter, yet more rigid than its predecessor. The front suspension system has been revised, and an all new rear suspension system adopted, combining outstanding grip performance with excellent response to steering inputs.
A new steering system offers a lighter, smoother, more accurate steering feel with enhanced response to inputs and greater feedback to the driver.
A new Drive Mode Select system features up to five switchable driving modes- EV (IS 300h only), ECO, NORMAL, SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+, to optimise the driver’s preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
Lexus IS F Sport models may be instantly recognised by an exclusive grille and front bumper design. The ‘waistline’ of the grille is higher than on standard models, increasing the area of the lower grille to make it capable of drawing in a larger volume of cooling air appropriate to a sporting performance.
The grille itself has a unique, L-shaped mesh finish and the lower section is trimmed with a more prominent chrome-plated trim than that of the standard IS.
The bottom corners of the front bumpers feature LED foglamps and F Sport-exclusive aerodynamic detailing to provide both downforce and enhanced brake cooling. Unique 18″ wheels feature a Y-spoke design and a dark premium metallic coated finish which identifies them with the LFA bloodline.
F Sport models are available in a choice of eight exterior colours of which two, Ultrasonic Blue and White Nova, are exclusive. White Nova has been developed exclusively to reflect the pure, sporting nature of the marque, as represented by the LFA supercar.
On board, F Sport models inherit the Innovate driver’s meter with moving centre ring from the LFA. An exclusive, highly supportive sports seat design uses an ‘integrated foaming’ construction method, ensuring that there are no gaps between seat upholstery and foam padding to combine excellent comfort with outstanding lateral holding performance.
Bespoke interior trim detailing includes an F Sport steering wheel and shift knob finished in perforated leather, metal film 3-D-effect ornamentation, black seat stitching, and aluminium pedals and scuff plates. A choice of two interior colour schemes includes a new Dark Rose finish which is exclusive to F Sport.
Both the front and rear suspension systems and the Electric Power Steering (EPS) are exclusively tuned for the F Sport package, enhancing IS handling performance without detriment to ride quality.
An Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system is an option exclusive to the IS 300h F Sport. The system allows the driver to fine tune the IS F Sport’s ride characteristics with a choice of two damper settings; ‘Normal’ mode, for everyday driving comfort, and Sport S+ mode, for improved body control and precise responses to steering input whilst cornering.
Every Lexus is designed to offer the very highest levels of active, passive and preventive safety. Incorporating Lexus’ unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system, the new IS model range builds on the already superior safety performance of the current generation model with the addition of several, advanced new active safety features.
They include an Automatic High Beam (AHB) headlamp system, a Lane Departure Alert (LDA) system, a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system.
The new IS is also equipped with a sophisticated Pre-Crash System (PCS) which offers drivers collision avoidance assistance that is effective in helping mitigate even high-speed collisions.
Within a highly rigid body structure of exceptional car-to-car impact compatibility, no less than 8 airbags are fitted as standard, and a newly developed pop-up hood design allows for the lowest possible vehicle front profile whilst optimising pedestrian impact protection.