Lexus has revealed full details of its new IS saloon at the 2013 Detroit motor show. A rival for the established BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class, as well as the all-new Infiniti Q50, it intends to steal their sales with bold styling and ‘an engaging and rewarding driving experience’.
Subscribe to evo magazine
Launching in the UK this summer, there will be two options initially – a V6 petrol-powered IS250, possessing 204bhp and 184lb ft and an IS300h hybrid, which combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, offering 217bhp combined. It’s sold instead of a diesel variant and its targets are 65mpg and tax-free, sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. To provide the exciting dynamics Lexus promises, the new IS gets a revised version of its predecessor’s double wishbone front suspension – with a 20 per cent increase in roll rigidity – and a multi-link rear setup similar to that on the larger GS saloon, a car that’s really quite good to drive. Like the GS, it also gets a Drive Mode Select system, with Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ profiles. The IS250 drives its rear wheels via a standard six-speed automatic gearbox, the IS300h utilising a CVT transmission.
F Sport kit – pictured in the main photo and right, on the white car – is available from launch, bringing with it sharper suspension setups front and rear, retuned electric power steering and a subtle bodykit. A replacement for the cult hero IS-F could be on the cards, too, with a big-winged (though heavily disguised) IS being spotted testing at the Nurburgring.
UK prices and specs for the new Lexus IS are yet to be announced, but expect a starting point of around £27,000.