“I have driven an early prototype and it’s amazing,” said Ketan Renade, Lexus product planner for the ES and LS sedans.
“On the IS we realized it needs to be more focused,” he continued, pointing out a unique advantage Lexus has in this area. While rivals have carefully balanced the hard-edge performance wants with luxury ride quality, “The IS doesn’t have to play a comfort role for us,” he continued. Instead, Lexus offers the ES350 (as well as the new ES300h) to suit that demand.
When pressed about how far Lexus will push the performance envelope on the next-generation IS Renade would only say that a sport model will be offered, “maybe an F Sport”. He stopped short of confirming an next-generation IS-F, though it does without saying that such a car is necessary to keep Lexus relevant in the segment.
As for how it will look, expect to see a more engaging design, as we’ve seen Lexus considerably beef up its aesthetics as of late with new products like the GS and now the ES too. The brand’s large spindle grille design is certain to dominate the front of the car.
Speaking with other product planners over dinner at a launch event for the 2013 ES, they were surprised by the new Cadillac ATS, describing the styling as “conservative”, a strong hint that Lexus will go a more dramatic route. In fact, product planner Ben Mitchell confirmed that the dash of the 2014 IS will take inspiration from the brand’s LFA supercar.