Lexus updated its IS sport sedan for 2021, improving the suspension, safety and infotainment functions as well as the styling, but it left the car on its 7-year-old platform.
Keeping the IS on its existing platform allowed engineers to focus on improvements to the sedan's ride and handling, Lexus said. That should allow the compact IS to better compete in its segment against the likes of the BMW 3 Series.
Engineers reinforced a number of points to improve body rigidity and revised the suspension layout and front pickup points to accommodate larger tires and wheels. They also employed lighter-weight hub bolts, lighter coil springs, forged aluminum A-arms and a new suspension stabilizer bar to enhance handling.
Exterior modifications, including a new spindle grille, will make the 2021 IS just over an inch longer and wider than the outgoing model, with a slight increase in height as well. It will now ride on standard 18-inch wheels, with 19-inch wheels available. Exterior lighting will feature daytime running lights with a sharp, L-shaped signature above, a motif that carries through to the new blade-style light bar across the back.
In the cabin, the IS features a standard 8-inch touch screen infotainment system that has been moved 3 inches closer to the driver to aid access. A 10.3-inch touch screen is optional. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration.
Available in either rear- or all-wheel drive, the base IS 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission delivering 241 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 3.5-liter V-6 is available on some models, with some configurations receiving six-speed transmissions.
The IS will come with the Lexus Safety System Plus suite of crash-avoidance and driver-assist technology.
Pricing for the 2021 Lexus IS was not announced. However, the vehicle is supposed to be in Lexus' 242 U.S. dealerships in late fall.