The face-lift Lexus IS is Japan’s answer to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 and Lexus promises much of this new, (or rather, facelifted) one.
Mainly when it comes to handling. A more rigid chassis means ride comfort and NVH is improved, while new suspension components (such as forged aluminium A-arms and new swing-valve shock absorbers) reduce unsprung weight and supposedly give the IS “consistently even ride quality”.
Meanwhile the exterior design has been tweaked. This is a longer, wider and taller car than before, so the body panels have been stretched in all directions. We reckon it wears Lexus’ design language rather well – better than some of the brand’s SUVs – but the grille-tastic front-end won’t be to everyone’s taste. That full-width light-bar out back is cool, though.
Inside it’s much the same as before. There’s a new infotainment system (connected to a massive 1,800-watt Mark Levinson hi-fi), but Lexus has resisted the urge to ditch all the buttons in favour of touchscreens. Might not look especially modern, but at least it works.
Engines are broadly the same as before, too. You can have rear- or all-wheel drive and either a 2.0-litre or 3.5-litre petrol engine. The 315hp IS350 does 0-100km/h in a respectable 5.6 seconds.
STORY Tom Harrison