With its evolutionary styling and carryover engines, the 2014 Lexus IS sedan may not be a full-scale redesign. But the IS was last reworked seven years ago, so "redesign" is how Lexus describes the car to be unveiled this week at the Detroit auto show.
The new compact luxury sedan -- Lexus' challenge to the BMW 3 series -- will keep the 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V-6 engine families, and add a hybrid variant.
The hybrid has been named IS 300h, meaning it should borrow the 2.5-liter V-6 engine from the ES 300h, mated to electric motors that generate a combined 200 hp and around 40 mpg. Because the IS is sportier than the ES, expect the hybrid system to be tuned for more power at a slight mpg sacrifice.
The spindle grille, which announces the entrance of all Lexus models these days, is new. But the redesigned IS shares a strikingly similar stance, silhouette, beltline, greenhouse and overall design language with its predecessor. There are subtle design cues that enthusiasts will notice, but overall there is little exterior change.
Inside, Lexus brings the horizontal instrument cluster and center stack from the GS and ES to the IS line. Lexus also claims an industry-first application of subscription-free, real-time traffic and weather information on its integrated audio systems.