Lexus just revealed its brand-new 2014 IS sports sedan at the Detroit Auto Show this morning. We’ve already shared a brief overview of the car, which went live last week, but now the information embargo has lifted and all the juicy details can be shared.
However, since the IS was introduced early in the last decade it’s never quite been able to defeat its main rivals, but that story may be changing with the 2014 model and the laundry list of improvements Lexus has made.
BY THE NUMBERS
Like today’s version of the IS, the redesigned car will initially be offered in two basic flavors: the IS 250 and IS 350. The former is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine, the latter a three-and-a-half-liter six-shooter. Output figures have not been shared at this time, but don’t expect any major upgrades.
A hybrid model in the form of the IS 300h will be sold in Europe, Japan and other select markets, and while nothing is confirmed, we have to think that it will eventually find its way to our shores.
Interestingly, the car’s wheelbase has been stretched nearly three inches, which puts it right in line with the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.
“F” STANDS FOR “SPORT”
IS 250 and 350s are offered in either rear- or all-wheel drive flavors. An F SPORT trim is available across the board. This options package includes a number of cosmetic enhancements including a restyled grille, plus unique interior touches to dress up the cabin – things like a new steering wheel, shift knob and aluminum pedals.
As for mechanical changes, F SPORT versions of the Lexus IS benefit from recalibrated steering, retuned suspension and a special instrument cluster inspired by the LFA supercar. This is one of the vehicle’s signature features. The center part of the gauges is actually motorized and moves from side to side, changing what information is displayed.
Standard cars were not left out of the party. They feature a retuned suspension as well, and a body that’s more rigid than before thanks to special welding techniques. The stiff structure enhances stability, resulting in a smoother ride and better handling.
Naturally, an all-new car deserves a brand-new interior, and the 2014 IS gets a nicely upgraded cockpit. The overall design theme is similar to what’s offered on other Lexus cars, like the GS and LS models. There’s a strong horizontal look to the dashboard as it sweeps across the cabin.
The center console is aggressively angled, presumably for better ergonomics. It’s home to the shifter and the Drive Mode Select control knob, which offers IS owners up to four different settings: ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT S+. These different modes change how the vehicle performs and reacts to inputs.
All IS models are equipped with the brand’s latest Lexus Display Audio or Remote-Touch controlled multimedia systems. Both technologies feature industry-first complimentary real-time traffic and weather information, data that’s available without a subscription via the car’s HD radio.
The climate-control system is operated via special touch-sensitive electrostatic switches, a first for Lexus.
No stone in the IS’s cabin has gone unturned; even the driver’s seat has been redesigned. The company claims it’s more comfortable than before and offers better lateral support, an upgrade that ties in nicely with the car’s improved handling.
As for safety, the IS is loaded with just about every conceivable feature you can think of, and probably a few you can’t. Suffice to say, the driver and passengers will be well protected in a crash.
As with any new vehicle Lexus is really proud of the new IS, especially its improved dynamics. Driving enjoyment was one of the top priorities during the car’s development.
AutoGuide Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood confirmed the enhanced handling characteristics while testing a prototype model back in early December. You can check that video review out at, you guessed it, AutoGuide.com.
If you’re wondering about the rest of the lineup there’s currently no news to share about the IS C convertible or the high-performance IS F. But if you like what you’ve seen here, you can look for the 2014 IS at Lexus dealerships around the middle of the year.
GALLERY: 2014 Lexus IS
GALLERY: 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport Photos
GALLERY: 2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport
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