Although it was the mid-sized GS saloon that set the template for Lexus’s new design language and the spindle grille face, it was the smaller IS launched in 2013 that infused an element of youth and vibrancy to the brand. The sharp origami-inspired lines found their way into every new model from the brand including the latest NX crossover. Today, Lexus has revealed a mid-cycle facelift for the premium compact saloon at the Beijing Auto Show.
The most prominent change is the spindle grille, which is now as wide and continuous in the regular model as it is in the F-Sport variant. It also folds back at a higher point than before, adding to the car’s aggressive stance. The fascia also gets new headlights with the signature L-shaped daytime running lights, large air intakes in the front bumper and a reshaped bonnet. While the car’s profile remains unchanged, the rear gets a fresh set of taillights and rectangular chrome exhaust tips.
The cabin has also been revamped with the multimedia display screen having grown from the previous 7.0 inches to 10.3 inches. Lexus claims the monitor is also of a higher resolution than before, and has added an ‘Enter’ button to the side of the Remote Touch Interface on the centre console, hopefully making the awkward system easier to use. Moonstone and Ivory, which used to be part of the IS’s cabin colour palette have been replaced by Chateau, a light shade that Lexus says is a blend of Ivory with light-grey.
Lexus has also upgraded the IS’s safety equipment, which now comprises a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, automatic high beam and adaptive cruise control.
There are no changes to the engine line-up, which will include the 2.0-litre turbo four that we tried in the new NX 200t, mated to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, along with the good old 3.5-litre V6.