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This is the brand new Lexus IS
Quite a lot of ‘face’ happening in this new Lexus IS, isn’t there? The Japanese carmaker has released these first official pictures of its small saloon ahead of its world premiere in Detroit next week.
It takes cues from the rather gorgeous LF-CC concept that wowed everyone last year, and by cue, we mean its enormous gob. Just look at the thing. Lexus reckons it gives the car a stronger brand identity. You certainly won’t mistake it for anything else.
The designers have been hard at work to move the “mass of the cabin” towards the rear, with the belt line rising up from the newly designed headlamp cluster, towards the rear light setup; a setup that looks like a samurai sword has slashed open the edges of the bonnet opening. Cool. Below those headlights and separate from them, are daytime running lights shaped in the Lexus pointy-L signature.
Inside the cabin is typically Lexus: clean, and driver-focused. It’s wider and longer than the old IS, meaning more room for rear passengers and luggage. Even the seats are of a thinner design to give knees a welcome reprieve. Lexus has promised better quality materials and finishes - they’re generally good at this sort of thing - along with electrostatic switches that need just a finger’s touch to change the air con.
There’ll be a new engine underneath, a 2.5-litre hybrid petrol-electric unit as in the LF-CC concept, with at least 200bhp and CO2 emissions of just 100g/km. Plus, you can expect a cabrio version of this new IS too.
F-Sport models - think BMW’s M-Sport line and Audi’s S-Line - get a new grille and front bumper design, along with special seats that provide extra support. Handy for when the LFA-inspired driver’s meter - a reconfigurable TFT-based digital/analogue screen - gets a bit serious…
We’ll have more from Detroit. For now, have a click through the pics and tell us what you think. It’s certainly as striking as the very first generation IS was at the time…