The Newly Redesigned Lexus IS

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New Lexus IS
What's New for 2021? 
You can certainly pick the newly redesigned IS out of a crowd thanks to its daring and aggressive-looking front end. This sinister appearance continues in the car's sleek profile. An upgraded F Sport package includes 19-inch matte-black wheels. From the side, this Lexus puts a BMW 3 series to shame with its flared rear haunches, reminiscent of a big cat ready to pounce. Even the taillights have a blacked-out, Darth Vader look that tells you, "This is likely the only angle you'll see of me as I speed away." 

As you might expect, the most fuel-efficient version of the car is the four-cylinder, rear wheel drive IS300 model with an EPA rating of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The V-6 IS350 F Sport is rated at a thirstier 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. 

The dazzling Lexus IS compact sports sedan has been completely redesigned for 2021 to make it more compelling and competitive when going up against its rivals, the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C-Class sedans. But is it enough to make its competitors shiver and shake in their boots? Let's find out. 

First, Some History.

The IS300 has been thrilling drivers for over 20 years. Originally launched as the Toyota Altezza in Japan back in 1998, the four-door sports sedan debuted in America as the IS300. Early models had your choice of a 2.0-liter inline-four or an inline-six-cylinder engine offering a meager 153 horsepower. Naturally, drivers wanted more power for the car right from the start, so Lexus debuted the 2001 IS300 with a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 215-hp.

The second generation IS appeared in 2006 and was sold in that guise until 2014 with ever-larger motor configurations. As the years wore on, the car became a more luxurious, better balanced offering. The performance-minded IS F showed up in 2008 with a 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood kicking out 416 horses.

The Lexus IS was refreshed again in 2014 with a stiffer suspension, fine-tuned handling, and an eight-speed transmission. This third generation car included all-wheel-drive variants and became renowned for its reliability. The small sports sedan got a facelift once again in 2017 to become the car we know today in its IS300 and IS350 model configurations.
Inside, the IS continues its sinister appeal with a TIE-Fighter-like cockpit and faux-leather New-Lux sport bucket heated front seats that feel like they have been molded especially to your body. The deluxe IS350 F Sport variant comes with a wood and leather steering wheel including shifter paddles for the eight-speed transmission.   

You'll find power seats up front, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push button start as standard. A new 8-inch or optional 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen sits just above an analog clock and air vents on the dash, that uses a touch pad on the console to control what happens on the screen. In-dash navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with either system, as is Amazon Alexa integration. This is the best infotainment system yet for Lexus and a big improvement over older models.  The Lexus hallmark Mark Levinson premium audio system is excellent, as always, offering 17 speakers and 1800 watts of power. 
As far as real world driving, the IS handles curvy roads with ease thanks to its adaptive variable suspension. The car really shines on bumpy roads, eating up the uneven surface like a true champion by virtue of a combination of the suspension and the car's asphalt gripping Bridgestone Summer tires. You can toggle through five various driving modes, offering either more comfort or a sportier road feel. 

The IS350 F Sport includes a cold-air intake system, a limited-slip rear differential and F Sport growling exhaust. The V-6 makes all the right growling sounds and acceleration is smooth, though the experience is not quite as thrilling as found behind the wheel of a BMW 3-Series ultimate driving machine. But what can you expect from a sport sedan that costs many thousands less than the Beemer? In fact, when compared to the competition, the redesigned Lexus IS offers a bold new design, a crisp driving experience and is an incredible value for the price. 

The IS500 F Sport is coming! 
If performance driving is your thing, we'd suggest adding the optional Dynamic Handling package which includes an adaptive suspension system on the IS350. But you may want to hold out for the range-topping IS500 F Sport Performance model of this Lexus that will be in showrooms next year. 

That fire-breathing model joins the IS line-up for 2022 boasting a 472 horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 engine and the kind of sheer aggressive styling that would make Mad Max weep. We're talking about a bulging hood, rear diffuser, quad exhaust pipes and trunk-lid spoiler that will be completely unique to the IS500. Estimated price for this beast will be in the $60,000 range. 

Warranty and Prices
Lexus offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty for 4 years or 50,000 miles, a powertrain warranty that covers 6 years or 70,000 miles and even gives you complimentary scheduled maintenance for one year or 10,000 miles. 

Lexus Safety System

Lexus offers its Safety System+ 2.5 suite of driver assist features for the IS which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control all as standard. The back seat of this four-door sedan is not very spacious but will accommodate six-foot-tall passengers so long as they're not wearing hats. The trunk space is very reasonable for a sport sedan. There's enough room to fit two large pieces of luggage for a weekend getaway. 
Lexus IS