First off, WOW! I have to say this is a stunning car. The angles are super sharp, and it kinda reminds me of the latest G30 BMW 3 Series. It will be arriving in US dealerships from September onwards, so we can expect a Singapore launch after that.
The Lexus IS competes against some strong contenders in the sports sedan segment. Most notably, the ‘segment leader’ BMW 3 Series.
The bold new exterior styling of the 2021 IS aims for a provocative design. Overall, the new IS evokes lower, wider proportions. It is slightly wider, with muscular fenders that extend to enhance and accommodate the larger available 19-inch wheels and larger diameter tires.
Is Driving Performance the selling point of the new IS?
With the latest iteration, it seems that Lexus has an even stronger emphasis on driving performance :
The Lexus philosophy of continuously improving meant no stone was left unturned. Countless test hours at the Shimoyama track and other test facilities were conducted on various road surfaces and conditions to identify ways to increase responsiveness and reduce unnecessary movement from unsprung mass.Lexus
Some enhancements to the new Lexus IS to support it’s driving dynamics includes reinforcing the radiator side supports, increasing the number of front-side-member weld points, and optimizing reinforcement structures from the C-pillars to the sides of the roof.
The increased rigidity not only helps reduce unwanted noise and vibration, but it also helps improve riding comfort and driving performance with enhanced response to steering input.
The 2021 IS also comes with bigger rims than before, with larger 19-inch wheels to improve cornering force and provide a greater contact patch with the road. Lexus engineers also revised the suspension layout and front pickup points to help accommodate the larger tire-and-wheel package.
19-inch wheels are available on F SPORT models, while standard 18-inch wheels will replace the outgoing 17-inch wheels on all other models.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you that Lexus has placed an emphasis on driving performance, they even took rigidity enhancements one step further by employing lighter weight hub bolts to secure each wheel to the new IS, and coil springs which are 20% lighter than the one in the outgoing model.
The use of hub bolts allows for improved fastening strength and therefore an increase to rigidity to further enhance braking and handling. What’s more, the move to hub bolts sheds approximately 2 pounds of total unsprung weight. The new bolts also feature a black coating so as not to draw any attention away from the attractive new wheel designs.
The rear-wheel drive IS 300 features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter engine is updated for 2021, featuring an adaptive transmission control that helps determines the most appropriate gear for each driving situation based on driver input to achieve linear response.
Rated to deliver 241 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque, It’s not only powerful, it’s efficient, too, thanks to a sophisticated Variable Valve Timing to maximize efficiency. It comes equipped with an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission.
Lexus IS F-Sport
The IS F SPORT lineup is restructured in the 2021 model year, as F SPORTs will only be offered on the IS 350 powered by the 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine.
The F SPORT features a host of visual and performance cues that immediately set it apart, including a unique front bumper with functional aerodynamic enhancements, rear bumper, grille surround, rear lip spoiler, rocker molding and more. Along with F SPORT 19-inch wheels, a unique center cap and larger rear tires for added performance (265/35R19), they are also equipped with a cool air intake with sound generator and an F SPORT exhaust and diffuser. In addition, unique F SPORT badges adorn the sides and rear of the vehicle as well.
The RWD F SPORT models with the Dynamic Handling Package (DHP) are equipped with a Torsen® limited slip differential (LSD) that improves handling and performance thanks to enhanced traction when cornering or exiting turns. The LSD helps maintain straight-line stability as well.
F SPORT models equipped with the DHP receive a unique carbon-fiber rear spoiler and side-view mirror caps, center console knee pad with contrast stitching, and a Lexus Card Key.
The only disappointment I can see from the 2021 IS is the interior. Even though Lexus has made some improvements to it, it still looks largely similar to the outgoing Lexus IS.
2021 Lexus IS gallery :