The new 2021 Lexus IS is set to debut later tonight on Facebook, but anybody with a strong concept of how the American news cycle works knows that’s too long for any of us to wait — but we don’t have to, because the full design has already leaked online.
My most vivid memory of the current-gen Lexus IS is going to my Crown Heights barber, who had a white IS, and talking to him about how he was getting a new car and how he was talking to someone about getting their BMW M5. My next haircut, there was a grey Lexus IS outside. He bought the same car again.
Somehow, that is the Lexus IS in a nutshell for me. Dependable, likable enough to buy twice, but not good enough to stop me from judging my barber.
AllCarNews dropped a stack of leaked images on Instagram (via CarAdvice):
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MORE LEAKED: 2021 Lexus IS ???????? ______________________________________ [6/13/20] #acnLexus (OFFICIAL INFO AND SPEC COMING TOMORROW) We can see a new rear LED light bar as a standout feature. The 2021 Lexus IS is not be ALL new and instead will use the same N-platform it is on now even though everything new in the Lexus lineup is moving over to one of the TNGA modular architectures! Though it is being heavily retuned and revised with wider tracks and other changes. Why not change it? Well the IS was supposed to be killed off but Lexus couldn’t NOT compete in the segment, so they compromised! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ???? @Allcarnews Spec Sheet: Some more sad news for now though. The 2021 Lexus IS will keep all of the current engines which include a 2.0L Turbo 4 making 241HP and 258 lb-ft of torque and two 3.5L V6 options ranging from 260HP and 236 lb-ft of torque and 311HP and 277 lb-ft of torque. As I exclusively reported last week, the IS 500 is possibly coming with the final application of the Lexus 5.0L n/a V8 making around 470HP. After this Lexus will transition to a new 4.0L TT V8 coming in the LQ-F, LC-F and possible LS-F. ???? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Outside expect to see styling just like in the renders above, sort of like a sportier baby version of the new LS! Now this is not a facelift this is more of a mild new generation version so we are getting all new body panels, new LED lights, wider front and rear track and more! The biggest feature was expected to be the new interior with a touchscreen/mouse infotainment, new steeringwheel, buttons, gauges and more… but that didn’t happen.. That IS 500 Is not a modern day IS-F unfortunately and is sort of a final run collectors car though numbers won’t be limited. ________________________________________ ACN EXTRA: Hmm. I can’t wait to see the real changes they do to this chassis. ________________________________________ Text by @allcarnews Images: @cars_secrets #Lexus #LF1 #Lc500 #V8 #Urus #Toyota
I’m pleased to say the 2021 IS keeps some of the weirder visual flare of the outgoing model, including a swooping line that droops down from the corners of the taillight bar, down between the wheel and the rear door. The “spindle” Lexus grille is back, but this time it’s more flower petal than full-on predator, and it seems the designers have pulled in the dimensions a bit to, ironically enough, let the design breathe a little bit.
The door still stretches up past the car’s shoulder line, eating into the rear-window space on the rear doors, but maintaining the outgoing car’s signature notch.
Inside, the car shockingly keeps pretty much the same dashboard layout. The push-to-start button is in the same weird dedicated notch behind the steering wheel, the radio unit seems to be the exact same, with some surface cosmetic upgrades, and some of the air vents have adopted a circular shape over the outgoing car’s rectangles.
It seems like there’s an updated driver display as well, likely heavily or fully digitised, and the car will get the new Lexus trackpad infotainment interface. But beyond that, Lexus really didn’t do a lot with the interior here. Kind of unfortunate, as it already looks outdated.
From the rear view we can see just how flared the wheel arches are now, as well as in the front, making for a low, sporty stance. I think sporty is the right direction for this car, and it checks out considering the F-Sport trim is making a comeback, according to the latest teaser.
We don’t know much else about the car yet, other than that the base trim will still be called the IS350. But overall I think it’s a big improvement over the old car. The lines are straighter and flow with more connection and purpose, and the design overall feels like it’s finally settling the chaotic Lexus design language into some sort of working harmony.
As much as I like the new exterior, it’s really not much of an overhaul. Makes me even more sad Infiniti isn’t getting the same love and care as Acura and Lexus these days.