The Lexus IS remains to be a popular option in the luxury compact sedan class. However, with a lot of their rivals constantly innovating, they cannot afford to sit back and lose significant ground. Largely unchanged since being released in 2013, the current generation of the Lexus IS will be undergoing a significant refresh for the 2021 model year. To show what the changes are, we will answer 10 things you didn’t know about the 2021 Lexus IS.
1. There are significant changes in both inside and outside of the car
There is a myriad of changes that can be found in the 2021 Lexus IS. Aside from the cosmetic changes that would be discussed in detail later, the IS will boast increased dimensions. While the wheelbase remains the same, both the height and width of the car is increased by an inch compared to the outgoing model. It may not sound like much, but these changes combined with other revisions, turned the IS into a more dynamic force both on the road and track.
2. However, the 2021 Lexus IS is NOT an all-new model
While it may look and feel different, this model is not an all-new car. Rather, it can be considered as a major face lift, with a lot of its components receiving major updates. It is still using the same chassis, but it has received a lot of updates that it’s going to feel significantly different on the road compared to the outgoing model. Also, a lot of the body panels found in the exterior are all-new, which will freshen up the look significantly.
3. Multiple exterior details are changed
As mentioned earlier, a lot of the car’s exterior body panels are modified for the 2021 model year. The headlights are changed, with the daytime running lights now integrated within the sharply angled headlight frame. The taillights are connected together by a central light bar, and the angle of the taillights is now less angular. Combine this with other changes such as a larger spindle grille and a reshaped trunk, and the 2021 model gains a design overhaul that will surely be talked about.
4. The interior changes are not as dramatic
The interior of the 2021 Lexus IS also received its fair share of updates. While the changes are not as dramatic as seen outside, the changes made inside the cabin are significant enough to be observed by a keen eye. A redesigned dashboard, central console, and armrest are just some of the few detail changes inside. Perhaps the biggest interior improvement is the addition of an updated infotainment system that now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8-inch screen remains standard, but an optional 10.3-inch screen is also available.
5. The engine options are still unchanged
While there were initial rumors of a V8 engine to enter the Lexus IS line, the current engine options available are robust as is. The base model IS 300 will receive the same turbocharged inline-4 engine that produces a maximum of 241 horsepower. Meanwhile, the IS 350 will have a 3.5 liter V6 engine that is tuned to deliver a maximum output of 311 horsepower. Rather curiously, the 4-wheel drive variant of the IS 300 will receive the same engine from the IS 350, but its power output is rated at 260 horsepower.
6. The drive train options received some minor tweaks
Both the IS 300 and the IS 350 will have rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options. The transmission you will get depends on the drive train you will choose. Rear-wheel drive models will receive the eight-speed automatic transmission, while the four-wheel drive units will get a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both transmissions are revised for enhanced performance.
7. Safety upgrades are added for 2021
While the 2020 Lexus IS comes with a multitude of safety features, 2021 features more additions in this front. The adaptive cruise control system was updated to allow it to work even on stop-and-go traffic. The automated emergency braking system was also updated, now with the ability to better detect pedestrians and bicycles. The lane departure warning system now also comes with a lane centering function linked with the steering assist system.
8. The F-Sport will return
The F-Sport was a highly popular option for those who seek a sport saloon. Getting the F-Sport option will provide you access to a myriad of cosmetic and performance upgrades that will get your adrenaline racing. The F-Sport will only be available for the IS 350. While overall performance figures are still under wraps, additions include a cold-air intake and a sport exhaust. An optional Dynamic Handling Package adds 19-inch forged wheels, adaptive suspension, and carbon fiber accents, among others.
9. The IS was largely developed on-track
In perhaps the biggest sign that Lexus is serious about improving the on-road performance of their products, the 2021 Lexus IS was mainly developed on the track. It was specifically developed at the test track at the new Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama. This track contains a complex combination of elevation and surface changes that simulates both road and track conditions. This provides Lexus (and Toyota in general) valuable testing data for improving the performance of their products.
10. The new IS will debut the Lexus Driving Signature philosophy
The 2021 Lexus IS will debut the “Lexus Driving Signature”, the new development standard for all Lexus cars moving forward. According to Lexus, this is described by “linear vehicle operation that is faithful to a driver’s intentions”. This sounds like a commitment to producing more high-performance vehicles that provide maximum satisfaction for the driver. With this direction in place, you can almost guarantee a more incredible driving experience when you’re behind the wheel of a 2021 Lexus IS.
The 2021 Lexus IS may not be an all-new model, but the number of changes present are so expansive that it has the look and feel of a completely different car. Its emergence promises to be a shot in the arm for Lexus, announcing their comeback in the luxury compact sedan market while also showing what could be expected in their future products.