Lexus has been engineering a makeover of its lineup, in case you haven’t noticed. The brand, which was built-in in 1989 as Toyota’s affluence division, has looked into the future, and accomplished its admirers of comfort-oriented Boomers will anon drag off this bitter coil. A adolescent accumulation of buyers charge be cultivated, while somehow application the crumbling set. Lexus’ action is to acuminate its offerings, adorning performance, cutting handling, adorning styling, and emphasizing craftsmanship. The consistent products, like the LC sports car, the RC achievement coupe, and the NX crossover vehicle, accept succeeded on some fronts, not on others. Now Lexus has focused its learnings on the new fourth-generation IS, which debuts as a 2021 model.
Simply put, IS punches up. The ambition actuality is the BMW 3 Series, which has been the prototypal exceptional bunched sports auto for best of this century, and entered its seventh bearing of assembly in 2019.
IS has the stance.
Exterior design, abstract admitting it may be, is a backbone for the IS. The auto is athletically ample and has a abundant stance, with added than its allotment of elegance. Designers generally quantify breeding by barometer the ambit amid the advanced arbor and dashboard. A greater ambit (up to a point) conveys elegance, and the IS nails it. The berth looks bunched below its fast roofline. The new adaptation of the Lexus signature “spindle” grille is abounding with an adorable design mesh, and attenuated headlights accord the IS an absolute squint. Paint, chrome, and console gaps are flawless, as accepted on a Lexus. Inside, the birr is alluringly simple. The centermost assemblage looks like a accumulating of apparatus acquainted into an adorable rack, a little awakening hi-fi feel that’s air-conditioned and different. The autogenous in accepted matches the exterior, with bold, absolute choices, accurate curve and body quality, and a avant-garde aesthetic.
BMW’s acceptability is congenital on achievement and handling, admitting – not on appearance.
Lexus IS profile.
Lexus invested time, energy, and engineering assets testing and developing the IS at the new Toyota Technical Centermost Shimoyama, which is abreast Lexus’ all-around address in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. The IS debuts the “Lexus Active Signature,” a aesthetics that “pursues beeline operation that is affectionate to driver’s intentions, such as in the seamless alteration from deceleration to council and dispatch during cornering, in all types of active situations,” according to the company.
IS 300 rear-wheel drive gets a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline agent with a turbocharger that puts out 241 application and 258 lb-ft of torque. IS 300 all-wheel drive gets a 3.5-liter artlessly aspirated (non-turbo) V6 gasoline agent acquainted to aftermath 260 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, while the IS 350 models, both all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive, get the aforementioned V6, but cranked up to 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive models appear with an eight-speed automated with paddle shifters, while all-wheel drive models get a six-speed automated with paddle shifters. Lexus letters a 143 mph top acceleration for all models of IS. Dispatch from 0 – 60 mph ranges from 6.9 abnormal for IS 300 RWD to 5.6 abnormal for IS 350 RWD.
My analysis drives took abode on accessible anchorage in a rear-wheel drive IS 350. It has a 54/46 front/rear balance, and weighs in at 3,748 lbs. With double-wishbone advanced and multi-link rear absolute abeyance and electrically powered rack-and-pinion steering, IS does feel crisp, precise, and balanced.
The EPA estimates ammunition abridgement at 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway/25 mpg accumulated for the IS 300 RWD, 19/26/22 for IS 300 AWD. IS 350 RWD is rated at 20/28/23, and IS 350 AWD is rated at 19/26/22.
IS additional row.
The IS makes acceptable use of Lexus’ assorted affiliated services, and abundantly includes chargeless balloon periods for owners to adjudge if they’ll account from spending money. Lexus Enform Safety Connect is an important apartment of features, and comes with a three-year balloon subscription. Lexus Enform Account Connect comes with a 10-year adulatory subscription, and activates alerts for account and maintenance, with the advantage of including your called Lexus dealer. Lexus Enform Wi-Fi comes with a 4GB/three-month trial, and Lexus Enform Remote (free for three years) is accordant with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Additionally, the Lexus adaptable apps (Lexus Enform Remote, Lexus Drivers, and more) are additionally accessible for affiliation with the IS.
The cable archetypal for technology has pitfalls to watch for in some cases. If you add the Aeronautics Amalgamation to your IS, Dynamic Aeronautics and Destination Assist are included – but alone for the aboriginal three years of ownership. Considering this amalgamation starts at $1,670, the cable is an annoying alien for the future.
Lexus IS engine.
One tech advantage I adulation is the Mark Levinson 17-speaker, 1,800-watt exceptional beleaguer complete audio arrangement with Quantum Logic surround, starting at $1,080. Mark Levinson is a admired name in high-end home audio, and has been engineering car audio for decades now. The IS’s arrangement is superb, and still includes a CD player, an accessible nod to its earlier fanbase.
The 2021 Lexus IS comes in four trim levels. IS 300 RWD starts at $39,000; IS 300 AWD starts at $41,000; IS 350 RWD F Sport starts at $42,900; and IS 350 AWD F Sport starts at $44,900. Several bales are available, including Navigation/Mark Levinson Exceptional Audio Amalgamation ($2,750); Aeronautics Amalgamation ($1,670); F Sport Dynamic Administration Amalgamation ($3,800 – $4,200); Comfort Amalgamation ($1,950); forth with a few stand-alone options.
IS LED headlight.
On authentic price, the IS defeats the BMW 3 Series. A 2021 BMW 330i, the abject model, starts at $41,250, and prices ascend bound from there. Adding all-wheel drive costs $2,000 and puts you in a 330i xDrive at $43,250. Step up from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the 330i models to a twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder agent in the M340i and M340i xDrive, and you’re attractive at $54,700 and $56,700 respectively. There’s additionally a mild-hybrid version, 330e, that starts at $44,550. BMW bundles options in big-ticket packages, like the $3,200 Exceptional package, which is fabricated up of appearance that I feel should be included on a exceptional sports sedan’s abject price, like adjacency key, lumbar support, ambient lighting, and acrimonious advanced seats, forth with 18-carat exceptional ones, like a head-up affectation and Live Cockpit Pro with navigation. Driver abetment bales are additionally arranged as account ($700 and $1,700), so you accept to pay added for appearance that IS buyers are accepting with their abject models.
Lexus IS from the rear left.
In agreement of performance, IS can’t bout BMW horsepower-to-horsepower or lb-ft-to-lb-ft, but the Lexus Active Signature is added than a new label, it’s a new feel, sharpness, and drivability some drivers may adopt to the BMW experience. While I generally acknowledge the razor aciculate feel of a 3 Series, I begin the IS to be actual precise, but actual bland and accessible to drive.
In the end, the 2021 Lexus IS may accept what it takes to absorb its earlier audience, and could actual able-bodied aces up acute adolescent buyers who anticipate of achievement in agreement added than authentic power.