With full info coming next week at the Detroit Auto Show, Lexus has announced preliminary details on the redesigned IS luxury sports sedan. AutoGuide has also been given a special sneak-peek at the car before its official reveal.
Like other models in the Lexus lineup, the 2014 IS has adopted the brand’s signature design element, its so-called “spindle grille.” Shown here on the IS350 F-Sport model, the grille is a single-frame, hour glass-shaped flourish, uninterrupted by a bumper line. Already a prominent part of the GS and LS sedans, it’s now migrating down to the smaller IS, and looks nearly identical to that found on the LF-CC Concept.
Aside from that unique – and very prominent grille – the car’s face also features unusual headlamp assemblies that are very sculptural; they’re almost 3-D in the way they’ve been contoured and shaped. Another stand-out part of the design are the separate L-shaped LED daytime-running lamps.
The front fenders are powerfully flared, making the car seem wider than it is. The character lines on top of these panels carry along the bodyside, terminating in the decklid at the back.
There are other interesting design elements as well, especially the twisting shape of the rocker panels. The high lines starting in these moldings sweep up near the rear of the car, neatly meeting up with the pointed taillamps.
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Opening a door and sliding inside, the cabin looks similar to other members of the Lexus family, including the recently refreshed LS flagship and the sporty GS. There’s a strong horizontal component to the design and a sweeping center console, which is home to the gear shifter and other controls.
Buyers can opt for an F Sport package, which is available across the entire IS lineup. It’s a suite of appearance and functional upgrades. Some of those enhancements include aluminum pedals and scuff plates as well as a steering wheel and instrument cluster inspired by the LFA supercar… not a bad vehicle to steal from. “Rioja Red” is one of three interior color schemes offered on F Sport models.
As you’d expect from a Lexus, quality abounds. No matter where your hand lands or eye glances the materials are top-shelf.
The car will initially be offered in three flavors. The IS 250 gets buyers in the door, while the IS 350 is the higher-performance model. A hybrid in the form of the IS 300h will be offered in Europe, Japan and other select markets, though it’s hard to imagine Lexus won’t sell it in the United States at some point. After all, Toyota is the king of hybrids.
At this time Lexus has not shared output or fuel economy figures for these different models. Don’t bet on big performance upgrades, though we can report that the IS350 F-Sport will gain an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Speaking of numbers, the car features a longer wheelbase, which adds a significant amount space to both the back seat and trunk. Lexus is claiming best-in-class knee room and easier access to the rear chairs in the 2014 IS. Additionally, 60/40 split-folding seat-backs make for an even more spacious luggage compartment.
Putting it in motion, Lexus promises the redesigned IS will really be a driver’s car. The chief engineer says dynamics and performance were top priorities when developing it.
AutoGuide Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood had an opportunity to put a prototype version through its paces early last month, and he reports the car feels smoother and more planted than today’s model.
Lexus has not shared many details about the new IS sports sedan. It’s likely holding off until next week when it officially unveils the car in Detroit. Tuesday, January 15th should be the magic day when everything is revealed. Visit AutoGuide.com for every detail about the 2014 Lexus IS, plus up-to-the-minute coverage of the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport Photos
GALLERY: 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport
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