- Extensive revisions to Lexus’s executive sports saloon deliver wide-ranging quality and handling improvements
- Detailed suspension and damping revisions, including introduction of lightweight components to improve dynamic performance
- Lexus Safety System+ active safety systems now fitted as standard to all IS models bar entry-level SE grade
- 2017 IS on sale now with customer deliveries from January
The IS executive sports saloon well-established at the heart of the Lexus range, amassing more than a million sales worldwide since its introduction in 1999. The current, third generation model has undergone significant changes for 2017 that embrace styling, quality, safety, handling and equipment features. The result is a prestige car the captures the essence of Lexus’s craftsmanship, luxury and performance, and which benefits from the smart application of advanced technologies. It also continues to offer customers the option of a smooth, intuitive and supremely efficient full hybrid powertrain.
Changes to the IS’s exterior styling focus on the car’s frontal appearance with new headlamps, larger and deeper air intakes integrated in the bumper and a further evolution of the signature Lexus spindle grille. The headlights, including new full LED units in a “triple-L” arrangement for the F Sport and Premier grade models, have a more pronounced look, extending inwards and adding visual impact to the L-shaped daytime running lights.
The spindle grille angles back at a higher point than before, increasing the area of the lower section. This creates a more sporty appearance and suggests a low centre of gravity. The horizontal fins that make up the grille have been made thinner in the top section and thicker below the pinch-point; the chrome frame now surrounds the entire grille.
On the F Sport models the grille has a new jet black finish and mesh design that neatly moves from an L to an F-shape pattern between the upper and lower sections. The lower brake ducts are wider at the base, tapering up each side of the grille. Vertical fins incorporated in the ducts’ design play a role in maintaining the car’s aerodynamic performance.
The character line along the side of the car has been made stronger and at the rear chrome detailing has been added to the lower bumper panel. The rear lights have also been redesigned, with LED lamps and new light guides that create an L-shape motif.
The range of alloy wheels includes a new 17-inch design with a contrasting silver and machined finish for Executive Edition, Advance and Luxury grade, and new multi-spoke 18-inch rims for the IS Premier models.
Improvements to the IS’s cabin target even higher visual and tactile quality and better HMI performance in the operation, size and positioning of controls and displays.
The high-resolution multi-information screen that accompanies the Lexus Premium Navigation system has been increased from seven to 10.25 inches, presenting larger, clearer images and providing a split-screen function so that different information displays can be presented at the same time.
The extent of Lexus’s attention to detail includes changing the stitching on the instrument binnacle hood and adjusting the angle of the start button so that it is easier to operate. Changes have also been made to the steering wheel (matching the design of that in the Lexus RC coupe), with new metal ornamentation, re-shaped switches and revised stitching that adds to its pleasing feel when gripped.
Thanks to a reduction in the width of the audio and ventilation control panels, the driver and front passenger knee pads now run the full length of the centre console. They have also been made thicker to provide extra cushioning, with new stitching additionally featured on F Sport and Premier models. There are also new cupholders, a satin finish for the gear lever, a larger, leather-wrapped and stitched palm rest for the Remote Touch Interface control, and new dial markings on the analogue clock.
Reflecting Lexus’s adherence to the traditions of Takumi craftsmanship, a new laser-etched dark wood trim finish is featured on Premier grade models, a new Naguri machined-effect inlays for the F Sport with optional Premier Pack. There are also new interior upholstery and colour choices, with combination fabric and Tahara seat coverings in black with Garnet Red detailing and black trim inlays for the IS 300h Sport. For the IS 300h Advance and Luxury there is a new Sandstone leather finish, with the Luxury versions also offering a warm metal inlay finish. Luxury and Premier models can be specified with new Noble Brown leather with Ivory accents.
Revised suspension and steering for improved dynamic performance
The IS’s dynamic performance has been improved through revisions to the front and rear suspension and steering.
The front double wishbone suspension has a new, more rigid, forged aluminium lower arm assembly together with more rigid bushing – changes that bring no weight penalty and contribute to better steering response at cruising speeds. Changes have also been made to the coil spring and damper settings to gain better control and yaw response.
The rear multi-link suspension has also gained new bushing, a new anti-roll bar, new shock absorber components and revised damper settings. The electric power steering’s ECU settings have been reassessed and revised in order to achieve better steering control.
As a result of these comprehensive measures, both the standard and F Sport IS models demonstrate better ride quality, body control, rear wheel traction and straight-line stability, as well as better steering response and feedback.
Lexus Safety System+
The Lexus Safety System+ portfolio of advanced safety systems has been added as a standard equipment feature on all versions of the IS, apart from the entry-level IS 300h SE. Its features make use of camera and radar sensors to support the driver with improved information, better forward vision and prompt warnings of hazards and collision risks, together with an added layer of protection in the form of autonomous braking in an emergency situation.
The IS benefits from a Pre-Crash Safety system with pre-crash brake assist and pre-crash braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and Traffic Sign Recognition.
In addition to Lexus Safety System+, the IS also gains a Sway Warning. This monitors the vehicle’s lane position and driver steering inputs, detecting any sway (deviations) that might be due to the driver losing concentration through tiredness or distraction. In such circumstances it will sound a buzzer and trigger a warning light in the multi-information display.
All models with Lexus Safety System+ are also equipped with a reversing camera.
The new IS’s triple-L LED headlights (F Sport and Premier models) offer better illumination performance than the high-intensity discharge units, with a forward reach of 15 metres – a 10 per cent improvement. The breadth of illumination is also wider by one metre to the left and right, compared to the HID headlights and fog lights working in combination.
Range and pricing
The 2017 Lexus IS retains its existing grade line-up with the IS 300h hybrid available in SE, Executive Edition, Sport, Advance, Luxury, F Sport and Premier trims. The turbo petrol-powered IS 200t is available in Premier and F Sport specification, in the latter case with the IS Premier Pack included, adding equipment features to match the range-topping grade.
Powertrains and performance data are unchanged.
|IS 300h SE
|IS 300h Executive Edition
|IS 300h Sport
|IS 300h Advance
|IS 300h Luxury
|IS 300h F Sport
|IS 200t Premier
|IS 300h Premier
|IS 200t F Sport + Premier Pack