World debut for all-new Lexus IS

After months of speculation and excitement, Lexus has finally pulled the covers from the new IS sports saloon at the Detoit Motor Show.

We already brought you the first images and details on the IS last week, but the full lowdown on the range has now been revealed.

Launching in the UK this summer, the line-up includes the first full-hybrid IS, the IS 300h, and the petrol-powered IS 250. Both feature rear-wheel drive and will be available in F Sport specification.

Watch the announcement by Lexus Group VP Mark Templin.

Driving dynamics

Lexus says the main aim during development was to make IS great to drive, with every aspect of the car’s dynamics engineered to deliver a class-leading driving experience.

Junichi Furuyama, IS Chief Engineer, explained: “We adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the new IS. Rather than develop each individual aspect in the hope they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience, we first established the kind of driving experience owners desire. With this as our initial premise, we then developed the individual performance elements to support it.

“Every aspect of the new IS has been engineered with a focus on sporting performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.”

New laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques and additional spot welding have increased the car’s overall body rigidity, while the revised double wishbone front suspension and new multi-link system at the rear (also seen in the Lexus GS) increase roll rigidity.

Changes to the structure and rigidity of the steering rack have created lighter, smoother and more accurate steering feel.

The new IS gains a new Drive Mode Select system, with three switchable driving modes: Eco, Normal, & Sport. Drivers can switch between the different modes to achieve their preferred balance of economy, comfort, performance and handling.

IS F Sport models

The IS F Sport models not only display more sporting design features, they also get genuine dynamic enhancements, notably specially tuned front and rear suspension systems.

The F Sport versions get a different grille and front bumper treatment: there are more prominent chrome trim elements and a different mesh pattern is used for the grille. The ‘waistline’ of the spindle-shaped grille is set higher than on the standard models, creating a larger lower grille that can draw in the greater volume of cooling air needed for sportier driving.

The IS F Sport also has new seats designed to provides extra support. The seats are made using an integrated foaming method that ensures there are no gaps between the upholstery and the filling, giving both excellent comfort and great lateral holding.

The front and rear suspension and the electric power steering are tuned to enhance the F Sport models’ handling, without compromising ride quality.

Lexus IS hybrid powertrain

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the full hybrid IS 300h combines a powerful electric motor and a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, equipped with D-4S fuel injection, Dual VVT-i intelligent variable valve timing and a high-efficiency Exhaust Gas Recirculation system. This was also announced at the 2012 Paris Motor Show – see our story here.

Total system output is 217bhp, but Lexus says it aims to achieve class-leading, sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption of more than 65mpg.

Lexus IS design

The exterior design of the IS is influenced by the LF-CC concept car and showcases the latest Lexus design themes including a new take on the trademark spindle-shaped grille and a characterful headlamp cluster design, with Lexus’s signature L-shaped daytime running lights presented independently below the main headlamp.

Inside, IS has a dozen Lexus-first features and technical innovations and the cabin has been designed as an ergonomically ideal environment for the driver.

Increased width (+10mm) and a longer wheelbase (+70mm) mean more comfort for rear seat passengers and greater luggage capacity. Best-in-class knee-room (+85mm compared to the current model) and improved rear seat access are also promised.

There is generous load space in the IS 300h too, as the hybrid battery has been located beneath the boot deck board.

Advanced safety

On the safety front, the new IS features a pop-up bonnet which creates space above the engine to absorb pedestrian impact forces. This allows the lowest possible profile for the front of the vehicle, while at the same time optimising pedestrian impact protection performance.

According to market, the new IS will offer feature a number of advanced, new active safety features, including automatic headlamp high beam operation, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

New IS in the UK

New IS equipment and technical specifications and other information specific to the UK market models will be announced at a later date.

Be sure to check back to the Lexus Blog for future announcements.


IS 250

IS 300h




Engine code





4 in-line

Max. power (bhp/kW @ rpm)

204/152 @ 6,400


Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)

250 @4,800





Driven wheels



Length (mm)



Height (mm)



Width (mm)



Wheelbase (mm)



Luggage compartment (l)




Double wishbone

Double wishbone




*Final UK production specification and equipment may vary from these images

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