LOS ANGELES -- As modern-era sage Vincent Vega says, "It's the little differences."
So it is with the redesigned 2014 Lexus IS sedans that will debut next week at the Detroit auto show.
Aside from the spindle grille that announces the entrance of all Lexuses these days, the redesigned IS shares a strikingly similar stance, silhouette, beltline, greenhouse and overall styling language with its predecessor. One could wonder if the exterior design team Photoshopped the new grille onto the car, went out for a three-martini lunch and forgot about the project.
That's unfair, of course. It is those little differences that make such a big difference to designers. The headlights and taillights sweep more forcefully away to the flanks of the car, and the subliminal language of the lamps is more of a scowl than a squint.
The hood line is more stoic than the current tapered version. The shoulder creases are crisper, and continue to rise into the rear deck after the C-pillar, rather than tapering toward the finish. The base of the rear door cut sweeps upward before the rear wheel arch, rather than intersecting with it.
But all of that is inside baseball among us car geeks. It's a safe wager that most Lexus shoppers couldn't tell the difference between the new and old IS. Even BMW took a bigger swing at the design plate for its hallowed 3 series last year. That's the car everyone in this segment is trying to copy, remember.