Lexus gives IS a major refresh for 2020

Lexus gives IS a major refresh for 2020

Rear-drive 3 Series-challenger gets new exterior and tweaked platform but same engines and interior design.

Is this all-new or minor-change?

The Lexus IS has been on sale in fourth-generation form since 2013, so being seven years is a too old for a facelift.

Which is why Lexus has decided the overhaul the exterior design of its junior executive sedan rivalling the BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, all of which also has a rear-drive format.

Although the 2.8mm wheelbase length is the same as before, the new IS is 50mm longer and wider than before, plus gaining 5mm in height.

A new bodywork has also allowed for more stiffness than before to improve ride comfort. Lexus also claims some other tweaks to the chassis and suspension components have been made for easy handling, as well.

Glance over at the interior pics and remains basically the same like in its predecessor. The most immediate change is the large central touchscreen first seen in the facelift RX.

The engine range is the same, too: four-cylinder electric (RX300h) or petrol-turbo (RX300) and V6 petrol (RX350). Eight-speed torque-converter automatic stays on non-hybrids; the sole hybrid has CVT type.

Having said all that, the IS not really considered all-new and is more like a heavily revised version of the fourth-gen one.

Tough times, it seems…

It certainly does, due to a combination things ranging from economic factors and the engineering costs for rear-wheel drive.

As the IS has a floorplan allegedly unrelated to the latest one used in the LS sedan, LC coupe and some fancy Toyotas, you can see why the IS has to make good use of existing stuff.

Despite having driven wheels appealing to enthusiasts, the IS is still comfort-oriented. And Lexus has confirmed again that it will be with this new one.

The IS300h should still give that easygoing attitude and the IS300 a sporty edge when it actually doesn’t feel like that. The tax-heavy IS350 is best kept for the US market.

Will there finally be an IS500 of some sort?

It would be nice if Lexus considers one because it never has so in the past. Although the previous-gen IS had a naturally aspirated V8 called IS F, the continuing IS was never granted the 5.0-litre V10 of the GS F, RC F or LC500.

European rivals have long been playing with high-performance variants, the maddest one currently being the BMW M3 CS, Mercedes C63 S and Jaguar XE SV Project 8.

The IS takes part in a more sensible price bracket of some 3.5-4.5 million baht with its four-pot engines.

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