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.
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
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
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
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.
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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