The reengineered 2021 Lexus IS sport sedan will offer improved handling and responsiveness with an upgraded suspension, plus newly enhanced safety and infotainment functions. However, the premium brand's sporty compact will stay on its current third-generation platform — which dates from the 2014 model and was last freshened in 2017 — instead of being redesigned onto the automaker's global architecture.
In addition to cost savings, keeping the IS on its current platform allowed Lexus engineers to focus on improvements to the sedan's ride and handling, as well as make styling and interior refinements. The new IS 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 optional 19-inch wheels available.
Sales of the IS in the United States were down 37 percent through May to 4,313, with the decline exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in 2019, its U.S. sales were off 35 percent to 14,920.
The updated 2021 IS was scheduled to debut at the New York auto show in April but was instead revealed online Monday.