Toyota’s Lexus brand debuted its all-new 2014 IS sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The automaker said it focused on a mix of improving the vehicle’s performance characteristics in the new model along with a new exterior design and interior refinements. The 2014 IS sedan will be available in rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 and IS 350. In Europe, Japan, and select other markets around the globe, the vehicle will be available with the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, which is based on a 2.5L Atkinson cycle engine.
The all-new IS available in the U.S. offers two powertrains: a 2.5L V-6 gasoline engine in the IS 250 and a 3.5L V-6 gasoline engine in the IS 350. The vehicle features a Drive Mode Select system, which allows the driver to switch between ECO, NORMAL, SPORT, and SPORT S+ (S+ is available on the IS 350 model only) modes. The IS 350 rear-wheel-drive model features an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission from the IS F high performance sedan. In addition, Toyota said the IS is the first new Lexus model to adopt the company’s G force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) control in Sport mode. This system automatically selects an optimal gear and downshifting pattern in response to the G forces on the vehicle and maintains the gear it selects through a corner.
Lexus said it focused on creating an enjoyable driving experience in the all-new IS, adn that it revised the double wishbone front suspension to increase sway rigidity, adopted a new multi-link suspension from the GS, and tuned the vehicle for better grip performance and steering response. The automaker added that it based the steering box in the IS on the one in the GS, and that this helps create a smoother, more accurate steering feel.
Toyota’s Lexus brand said the vehicle’s overall look is designed to emphasize a broad stance and show off the vehicle’s rear tires and low center of gravity. The sedan also features a new articulated headlamp cluster with L-shaped daytime running lights located below.
Inside, the 2014-MY Lexus IS features a new driver’s seat design that the automaker said is more comfortable and offers better lateral support. Toyota said the IS’ wheelbase is close to three inches longer than the previous model, which, along with a thinner driver’s seat design, gives rear-seat passengers three more inches of knee room. The IS also has standard lockable, 60:40 split/folding rear seats, new to this vehicle.
Toyota said all IS models come with the next generation, Lexus Display Audio or Remote Touch-controlled Navigation multimedia systems. Each system provides complimentary real-time traffic and weather information, without a subscription, via HD Radio Technology. This is an industry-first, according to the automaker. In terms of controls, climate control switches in the IS are electrostatic and the steering wheel controls allows the driver to control the multimedia system, the meter cluster, and the center console displays.
The 2014-MY IS comes with 10 standard airbags, including rear seat side airbags. Other safety and security features the automaker offers as options include an automatic high beam headlamp system, a lane departure alert system, a blind spot monitor, and a rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) system.
Toyota said the all-new IS will go on sale in mid-2013.