Lexus unveiled the all-new 2014 IS sedan at the North American International Auto Show. The IS will be available in rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 and IS 350, a further evolution of F SPORT available across the entire model range, and for Europe, Japan, and select international markets, the IS 300h, the first IS to feature Lexus Hybrid Drive.
The 4 interesting points:
- Engaging and entertaining driving dynamics across the model range; exclusive tuning enhancements on F SPORT models
- Completely redesigned with bold exterior styling and an LFA-inspired driver-focused cockpit
- Longer wheelbase with significant increases in rear seat space and trunk capacity
- New multimedia system with industry-first, complimentary real-time traffic and weather information
Driving performance is a key selling point in the sport sedan segment. In conjunction with a bold new design including the Lexus spindle grille, the all-new IS has been painstakingly engineered to have excellent dynamic capabilities to provide an exceptional driving experience.
“I adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the all-new IS,” said Junichi Furuyama, IS chief engineer. “Specifically, it was to make an entertaining driving experience a major premise behind all aspects of performance.
“The conventional approach involves developing each individual aspect in the hope that they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience. By contrast, development of the new IS flipped this process on its head, first establishing the pleasurable driving experience owners desire, and then developing the individual performance elements to support it.”
Every aspect of the IS has been engineered with a renewed focus on engaging performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.
“The IS has always been precise and fun to drive,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “The all-new IS kicks it up a notch with true sport sedan driving dynamics, state of the art onboard technologies, and an all-new design that makes it look fast even when it’s standing still.”
Incorporating several Lexus-first features and technical innovations, the IS showcases an interior design with all the refinement and quality expected of a Lexus, plus a focused driver’s environment, a significant improvement in rear seat comfort and spaciousness, and a larger, more convenient trunk.
Rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 are powered by a 2.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 350 features a 3.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 300h, which will be available in Europe, Japan, and select international markets, will employ the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, based on a newly developed 2.5L Atkinson-cycle engine.
IS adopts the Drive Mode Select system which offers up to four switchable driving modes- ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT S+ (S+ available on IS 350 only) - to optimize vehicle systems to suit the driver’s preferred combination of fuel economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
The IS 350 RWD features the eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission from the IS F high performance sedan with quicker shifts, full torque converter lockup and throttle blips in manual mode. The new IS is the first Lexus model to adopt G force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) control in Sport mode. This system automatically selects the optimal gear and downshift pattern in response to G force, and maintains the selected gear through a corner.
Driving enjoyment was at the heart of the new IS development program, and every aspect of the new Lexus sedan’s driving dynamics has been carefully engineered to that end.
New, laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, along with additional spot welding, have increased overall body rigidity. This enhances stability and also allows for a more comfortable ride without compromising handling agility.
The double wishbone front suspension system has been revised, offering a twenty percent increase in sway rigidity. The rear adopts a new multi-link suspension system from the GS. Fine tuning has resulted in outstanding grip performance and excellent response to steering inputs. Separate mounting of the spring and shock absorber maximizes trunk space.
Steering feel and feedback is key to an enjoyable driving experience, and the new IS benefits from a steering gear box based on that of the GS sedan, incorporating a variety of tuning techniques. The structure and rigidity of each gear box component has been revised to create a smoother and more accurate steering feel with enhanced input response and greater driver feedback.