Now that the next-generation models are rolling off the ships, it’s time to schedule a test drive.
6/21/2013—As you can see from the video above, the edgiest, most daring, arguably sexiest model in the 20-plus-year history of Lexus is rolling onto U.S. shores.
We’ve already pointed out that this 2014 IS draws from the Lexus LFA supercar, but it’s also worth noting that the sport-sedan’s evolution plots a line from the Lexus LF-CC concept car revealed at the Paris Motor Show last year.
The 3D spindle grille and optional LED headlight system with integrated heat sink and L-shaped daytime running lights are present on the latest IS. As seen on the LF-CC, the lines originating from the bold-looking grille also offer impressive visuals, while front air-intakes and bulging fender flares constitute a powerful front-end expression.
Marveling solely at the visuals, however, doesn’t do justice to this delightfully beefed-up sports sedan.
“The previous IS had garnered accolades for its overall driving performance,” explains the chief engineer in charge of IS design, Junichi Furuyama. “So, obviously, we had to aim really high, especially to bring its fun-to-drive features to the next level.”
Furuyama-san and his team have made a huge effort to improve the vehicle dynamics so that the vehicle is designed to move precisely as the driver intends. To achieve that end, the 2014 IS prototypes were built from the wheels up, as well as tested on circuits both at home and abroad, including the Nürburgring in Germany, known for its demanding course layout.
During the later stages of development, the prototypes were also tried out on normal roads around the world, with test vehicles completing almost one million road miles over a span of three years.
All that mileage has paid off. Thanks to efforts of Furuyama-san’s team, the redesigned model’s steering feel is especially outstanding: the car’s response to the driver’s input is direct and precise, helping the driver keep the car’s movements in check, even around challenging corners.
As soon as you hit the open road, the eight-speed automatic transmission—available on the IS 350 RWD model—reveals exactly what it’s made of. Capable of achieving more than 300 horsepower, the vehicle’s smooth acceleration hits 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds.
Although much state-of-the-art technology has been employed to develop the latest IS, especially noteworthy is the adhesive joint and laser screw welding, both of which allow body parts to be joined far more solidly than previously possible, helping contribute to the enhancement of the overall body rigidity, which translates to tighter handling.
“We tested these two cutting edge technologies on a prototype during the development stage and saw their real contribution to body rigidity,” Furuyama recalls with a wry smile. “The benefits of these technologies were far more than expected, which ultimately led us to determine that the new IS will be equipped with them.”
Now that they’re arriving in ports, the next stops for the IS are dealerships around the country—plan your summer test drive now.
 U.S.A., Inc. All information contained herein applies to U.S. vehicles only.