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Detroit Motor Show 2013: Lexus IS

Challenging looks for the 3-Series rival...

Lexus has revealed the all-new IS model ahead of the public unveiling at the Detroit Motor Show on Monday, and it’s fair to say that the looks will divide opinion. Taking a few cues from the LF-CC concept car shown in 2012 and the latest LS model, the IS has been shown in sportiest F-Sport trim which brings with it a very distinctive front grille design.

The front grille takes the form of a large rectangle, ‘pinched’ in at the sides to make a pointy hour glass shape. There are arrow shaped DRL LED’s under the complex shaped headlights, and vents and air intakes flank the large grille. It’s a challenging front end for sure, but the effect will be lessened somewhat by the addition of a front number plate.

Moving around to the sides, that’s pretty much business as usual with a normal flat-sided design, that is until you get to the rear quarter. Here the tail lights blend right around and extend downwards to a point, which to these eyes just doesn’t work. It seems like design for design’s sake in this case and will date rather quickly. It will be interesting to see what the normal mid-range models look like.

Inside, the IS gets a much nicer design, with a raised centre tunnel between driver and passenger and high quality materials. The controls on the centre console are touch-sensitive. Rear legroom is improved over the previous model too.

The engine lineup will strangely be all petrol, with Lexus dropping the diesel model in favour of the hybrid model. There will be the standard IS250, using a 2.5 litre V6 producing around 220 bhp, while the IS300h Hybrid model will team a smaller 4-cylinder petrol engine to electric motors to provide a total of around 240 bhp, but teamed with sub-100 g/km CO2 ratings.

Without a diesel engine, it seems that the IS is destined to stay a minor player in the 3-Series/A4 market...

Images courtesy of Lexus

 

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more