Reengineered Lexus IS sedan refocuses on improved handling

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The big investment in the reengineered car is in its body structure and suspension. Engineers reinforced a number of points to improve body rigidity and revised the suspension layout and front pickup points to accommodate larger tires and wheels. They also focused on removing unsprung weight to enhance handling, employing lighter weight hub bolts, lighter coil springs, forged aluminum A-arms and a new suspension stabilizer bar to deliver a lighter, more nimble suspension setup.

Styling is still dominated by a massive spindle grille, now featuring a newly designed three-dimensional polyhedral structure with mini spindles within the design on standard models and a block form mesh variation on the F Sport model. The headlamps were made more slender and feature daytime running lights with a sharp L-shape signature above, a motif that carries through to the new blade-style light bar that stretches across the back of the sedan.

Inside the cabin, the 2021 Lexus IS features a standard 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that has been moved 3 inches closer to the driver to aid access. Models equipped with navigation or the upgraded 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson audio system will come with a 10.3-inch touch screen. Both screens are compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration.

Under the hood, the IS will offer either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The base IS 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission delivering 241 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. The awd version of the IS 300 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, delivering 260 hp and 236 pound-feet of torque. The upgraded IS 350 comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 delivering an uptuned 311 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque, with an eight-speed transmission in the rwd model and a six-speed transmission powering the awd model.

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Saurabh Shukla

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