Customers have been promised a more performance-oriented Lexus IS, and the finished product finally made its public debut at the North American International Auto Show this morning.
Lexus is desperately trying to ditch its sleepy reputation, and made no secret that they would attempt to rid themselves of that stigma in one fell swoop with a truly sporty luxury sedan. When initial photos of the 2014 Lexus IS leaked last week (here), it was clear that the design wouldn't be boring. But how will the car drive?
Today we learned that the 2014 Lexus IS has been significantly stiffened at several points, for more direct steering and handling capability. The double wishbone front suspension has been stiffened by 20-percent, while the new IS borrows the rear multi-link suspension and steering gear box from its bigger GS brother. Engineers used laser screw welding and adhesive bonding techniques to increase chassis rigidity as well.
Engines will include a 2.5L V6 for the IS250 and 3.5L V6 for the IS350, both of which are available as either AWD or RWD models. The IS350 comes standard with an eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission (no manual available) that can be operated in manual mode and will select optimal gear changes based on the G-force being exerted.
As with the LS F SPORT we tested last year (here), the 2014 Lexus IS F SPORT will receive a few slight but important performance tweaks. Suspension and steering have been tightened and tuned, and Adaptive Variable Suspension and Variable Gear Ratio Steering are both available. Mainly, though, the biggest differences are on the exterior design, with added vents and more pronounced curves that widen the car’s stance. Again, just like with the LS F SPORT, it would be nice to see some engine modifications to make it a true sports model.
Now, about that IS-F…
Stay tuned for much more coverage from the NAIAS in Detroit.