How the Lexus IS evolved from executive to an emphatic sedan

Updated Aug 24, 2021 | Same topic: Evolution of Cars

Three generations in the making.

It was in 1998 when Japanese carmaker Lexus introduced the IS to its lineup as a compact executive sedan. Since then, the Lexus IS has evolved to become a premium model with explicit design refinements, while preserving the premium characteristics of the first-gen model.

Lexus IS front view

Lexus IS

The first-gen Lexus IS already made a lot of noise in the design department as it received critical acclaim from car buyers and international motoring presses. As a result, it was crowned Japan’s Car of the Year in 1998, which is one astounding way to make an initial impression in the market.

First-gen Lexus IS front view

First-gen Lexus IS

Five years later after its release, the compact executive sedan got a minor facelift. It was given some reworks on the 11-spoke wheel design, fog lamps, headlamps, and taillights. Few updates have been made as well in the interior to improve functionality.

The second-gen Lexus IS arrived in 2005 that offers a sharper and angular appearance from the front to the back. It carried over the executive sedan details from the first-gen model while adding significant sporty details that helped it define who it is today.

Second-gen Lexus IS front view

Second-gen Lexus IS

To further enhance the sporty nature of the nameplate, the Japanese automaker unveiled the IS F in 2006, a performance-oriented trim from the brand. This generation is also where the Japanese luxury carmaker discontinued the inline-six engines and introduced V6 units instead.

And in 2013, the third-gen Lexus IS made its debut, showcasing what top-notch designers from Lexus can offer. It is designed with the brand’s spindle grille up front, while sharp character lines are added around the vehicle.

Third-gen Lexus IS front view

Third-gen Lexus IS

According to Lexus, the third-gen IS is developed to not only improve the overall design but also to refine the desired car ownership of each driver. All IS models are crafted with Lexus Driving Signature that aims to provide exhilarating driving.

Today, the latest Lexus IS was born and bred at the Shimoyama Technical Center Test Track. The Japanese executive sedan has been tested on the most challenging roads to help engineers further improve its performance capabilities.

“With the aim of making ever-better cars, we have continued to make various efforts in ‘feeling the road’ and ‘conversing with cars’ through driving tests around the world, including our Five Continent Drive Project and Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race,” said Lexus Master Driver Akio Toyoda.

“Based on such experiences, we have replicated a variety of roads in the world at the new test course. In addition to conducting driving tests all over the world, and with the replication of severe driving conditions at the new test course, we intend to thoroughly hone every one of our models and develop the types of cars that epitomize the true joy of driving,” added Toyoda.

Lexus IS rear view

The nameplate has evolved significantly since 1998

The current Lexus IS F Sport is powered by a naturally-aspirated V6 engine capable of generating 300 hp and 380 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the IS 300h uses a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder hybrid engine paired to Lexus’ E-CVT to maximize efficiency on the go.

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Know more about Lexus IS 2021

Lexus IS
The Lexus IS, which stands for Intelligent Support, is a compact and premium executive sedan meant to challenge the posh releases of leading European car manufacturers. It flaunts a meticulously crafted exterior designed with the perfect balance of grace, sophistication, and sportiness the Japanese carmaker is internationally known for. Inside, it is designed with a luxurious cabin with contemporary features that assures leveled up comfort, overall convenience, and top-notch safety. Lexus Philippines offers this well-built sedan in two exciting models: the Lexus IS 350 and the Lexus IS 350 F Sport. It is available in White Nova Glass Flake, Mercury Gray Mica, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sonic Titanium, Heat Blue Contrast Layering, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Graphite Black Glass Flake, and Black.

From ₱2,948,000

Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.


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