By :- Janette Brin

Lifestyle & Culture

The Third Generation Lexus IS Aims to Go Against the Grain


If you’ve been paying attention to Lexus in the last few years, you’ve seen a successful luxury brand pushing their boundaries and taking some unexpected risks.  In December 2010, Lexus began production of its first limited-production supercar, the LFA, a meticulously built driving machine.  Boosting a body composition of 65 percent carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), 552 horsepower, a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V10 engine and a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, the hand-built and completely customizable LFA started at $375,000.  If the super high price point wasn’t enough, only 500 LFA were made world-wide, making the vehicle very rare and out of reach for most.  But in an act of mercy for car enthusiasts everywhere, Lexus indicated that design elements from their first supercar would influence their entire vehicle line-up.  Cue the 2014 IS.

The completely redesigned 2014 Lexus IS hitting dealerships this June is a fun, smart-looking sports car designed to make you smile when behind the wheel. With a wheelbase that’s nearly 3 inches longer than its predecessor, the exterior of the new IS features a new spindle-shaped grille, independent L-shaped LED daytime running lamps, a “duck-fin” spoiler integrated into the unibody structure, dual exhaust outlets and standard 17-inch wheels. The LFA-inspired cockpit adopts a drive mode select system which offers up to four switchable driving modes. Additionally, 60:40 split/folding rear seats, a multimedia system featuring real-time traffic and weather information subscription-free through HD radio (an industry first), and a climate control system using electrostatic switches to adjust temperature settings with your finger, round out the interior perks.  Oh – and let’s not forget about the new available safety technology in the IS.  Can anyone say automatic high beams, blind-spot monitor, lane departure alert system and a rear-cross traffic alert system?  Yeah…I think they covered the safety thing pretty well.  The IS 250 is powered by a 2.5 liter V6 engine with 204 horsepower with the IS 350 featuring a 3.5 liter V6 engine with 306 horsepower.  Both versions are available in rear or all-wheel drive with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.  A six-speed automatic transmission is what you get – unless you go with the IS 350 rear wheel drive which features an eight-speed sport direct-shift automatic transmission.  Some sad news for my stick shift drivers out there: the manual gearbox has gone bye-bye for the 2014 model year.

If the standard IS isn’t enough to quench your thirst for all things sport, the IS F Sport should take care of that.  An aesthetic upgrade with some tuning enhancements, the F Sport package features a bold (and I do mean bold) full-faced mesh grille, unique split-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels and an available driver’s meter cluster with a moving ring inspired by…you guessed it…the LFA.  Additionally, an available Sport S+ drive mode, sport-tuned suspension and a highly responsive steering system make the F Sport package worth the extra bucks.  In an ultra competitive marketplace for luxury sport cars, narrowing down your options can be challenging. After taking a look at the new IS, I think it earns the right to be on your shortlist. 


By: Natalie Rose    

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*Pricing on the 2014 Lexus IS has not yet been announced.  

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