We’ve seen some pics, now the new Lexus IS has been officially revealed at Detroit. The all-new 3-Series fighter makes its debut with three variants – IS 250, IS 350 and the hybrid IS 300h. The latter, which will be available in Europe and Japan, but not USA, is the first IS to feature a hybrid drivetrain.
UPDATE: The new Lexus IS is now launched in Malaysia. Click here for our launch report and pics.
The Lexus Hybrid Drive system in the IS 300h combines an electric motor and a new 2AR-FSE 2.5 litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, equipped with D-4S fuel injection, Dual VVT-i and an Exhaust Gas Recirculation system. Total system output is 217 bhp and Lexus is targeting class-leading sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption of over 23 km/l.
The petrol-only IS models carry on with naturally aspirated 2.5 and 3.5 litre V6 engines. The 204 hp 4GR-FSE V6 in the IS 250 is paired to a six-speed auto, but the IS 350 features the eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic from the IS F with quicker shifts, full torque converter lockup and throttle blips in manual mode.
The new IS is the first Lexus 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.
Speaking of modes, Drive Mode Select offers up to four switchable driving modes – Eco, Normal, Sprot and Sport S+ (S+ available on IS 350 only) – that optimise vehicle systems to suit the driver’s preferred combination.
The new IS aims to offer a class-leading driving experience. Laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, which, together with additional spot welding, have increased the car’s overall body rigidity.
The double wishbone front suspension has been revised, giving a 20% increase in roll rigidity. At the rear, there’s a new multi-link system similar to that featured in the new GS. Changes to the structure and rigidity of the steering rack have created lighter, smoother and more accurate steering feel.
The new IS can be had with an F Sport package, which is not just about aesthetics, but bring “genuine dynamic enhancements” via specially tuned suspension and steering.
F Sport cars have a special grille and front bumper design. 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.
Inside, F Sport exclusive seats provide extra support. The chairs are made using an integrated foaming method that ensures there are no gaps between the upholstery and the filling, giving both good comfort and lateral holding.
The current IS is very tight inside, something the new model should fix, thanks to increased width (+10 mm) and a longer wheelbase (+70 mm to 2,800 mm). Lexus says that the combination of the extended wheelbase and a thinner front seat design delivers best-in-class knee-room (+85 mm compared to the current model) and rear seat access. The new rear seats also have a 60:40 split-folding function.
For the IS 300h, the hybrid battery pack is located beneath the boot deck board. Boot volume is 450 litres, 30 litres less than the non-hybrid IS.
Full high res gallery and videos are after the jump.