By on January 9, 2013

Here’s the first picture of the 2014 Lexus IS. This example is an F-Sport model, complete with the big wheels and some more aggressive body treatments. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see what the regular and hybrid models look like.

Aside from the IS250 and IS350, there will apparently be an IS300H Hybrid model which won’t be available in North America. The cabin, clearly a riff on the LFA, is said to be roomier – a necessary improvement given the traditionally tight quarters of the IS. The full story will be available on January 15th. Until then, enjoy the photos.

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137 Comments on “2014 Lexus IS And The Big, Gaping Mouth...”


  • avatar

    Nice looking car, even if there are some “bangled” details at the rear side elevation. I hope they’ve created room in the back seat to match the 3-series, even if only the last version. The first two IS’s were equipped with two unnecessary doors, since adults could not use the rear seats unless children were driving.

    • 0 avatar

      “NICE LOOKING”?

      well – to each his own, but this is easily the ugliest car I’ve seen this year.
      I drove the 2013 LS460 recently. It wears this hideous maw slightly better, but when you get inside and realize all they really changed was the infotainment system – which is now even harder to use than before, I just don’t think they’ll be able to outsell a BMW or Mercedes. Probably not even an Equus. youtube.com/watch?v=ssS-qJqBqa0

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        I agree, hideous.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        I agree as well. Except Hideous is not the right word. I don’t think the right word exists for how disappointingly ugly this new IS is.

        Its not often a new model is extremely less attractive than the outgoing, but Lexus did it in spades this time. That corporate front grill is heinous.

        The current IS is very nice looking, and twenty years from now will still be a nice looking car. This thing pictured above needs to be put out to pasture.

      • 0 avatar
        thingamajig

        Last month the new LS’s sales were 1,286 for the month, which bested the S-class and was 3.6x more than the Equus (350). Facts don’t give a shit about your opinions and neither does the buying public.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Also agree. Nice looking does not come to mind. Hideous is strong – a ZDX is hideous, a Cube is hideous, this is just kind of fugly, and not in a cute, oh look at the pug sort of way.

        The rear is better than the front, and the sides are just yawn inducing.

    • 0 avatar

      I am 200 cm tall (6 feet 5 inches in barbaric units), and I fit in the rear seat of 2010 IS just fine. Sure it’s not a limo, but I suspect may critics of the “rear seat room” need to get real (looking at Mr. Dykes as the principal instigator of it here).

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        I think it depends on what your definition of “just fine” is. I thought the rear seats of my IS 350 were tiny and I’m under 6′. The absolutely enormous (but comfy) front seats didn’t help. I’m all for them going more aggressive with the styling, I just hoped they’d do it more subtly (more IS F, less this). The worst part to me is actually the rear. If you are going balls out on the front, you need a rear to match. This one is way too plain and frankly it looks cheap compared to the rest (too much Optima/TSX). Not surprising since I thought the rear was too bland for the front of the LF-CC too.

      • 0 avatar
        Alexdi

        Are you folding your legs behind you? When I set the front seat to where I want it at 6′, it’s impossible to wedge myself into the back. A child would have trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree with Alexdi. I know someone with an IS250 and at 6’2″, the back seat is tight. Knees on seatback no matter what.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        You sure didn’t climb into the backseat of an IS250. My co-worker has one and I’m 6’1″ and I was literally feeling claustrophobic, oh my God, I’m going to stand up right through the roof of this car, claustrophobic in the back seat.

  • avatar
    dwford

    “Enjoy” isn’t the word. Heinous is the word. All sorts of wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      I agree that the grill is hideous but I really am digging the interior, especially the bright red seats and the weirdly colored metal trim. The arrangement also looks relatively practical, but with a good mix of funk. If they fixed up the front just a little it could look really fantastic. I’m saying this all as someone who has generally felt little affection for Lexus save for the original LS. Idk im pleasantly surprised.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        The interior is the worst part for me. I had the first gen IS and while that interior was also “funky” it had some togetherness that this IP sorely lacks. I looks like the Honda Civic design team got hired by Lexus (or maybe they just farmed out the work to 5 different studios for each part of the IP). There’s random things all over the place, and a ginormos steering wheel hub + wheel that looks like it was designed by gamers. An IS doesn’t have to be elegant, but it shouldn’t be random. Paris, Rome and Prague are beautiful cities. Tokyo is not. Tokyo has some nice details, but there is nothing tying it together. Kinda like this car.

        The exterior doesn’t bug me so much, but the lack of a usable rear seat was a major problem with the last one, so hopefully they at least took care of that blocking-and-tackling.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I agree, there are too many textures/shapes/layers in that interior, and it would get boring to look at. It wouldn’t be a soothing environment.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    That’s one unfortunate looking and useless front bumper.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Does this thing morph into Jet Jaguar, or is it the other way around? And I can’t wait to see the dash. Think: JVC boom-box with some shiny lacquered wood accent strips.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The ” Darth Vader” front end is ugly enough. Then I looked at the side view.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, but I just can’t get over that horrendus interior. Kudos to them for trying to brighten it up with the red seats, but the design of the dash, wheel, tasteless.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        I actually really like the interior, but have to agree that the exterior is a big miss. I liked the way the old IS looked, but this front end, with the local of the driving lights and the way the grill and entire front clip mate to the rest of the car, looks stretch and out of proportion, as well as just being not very attractive in general. I get the need for an intimidating front to match the compensating-for-indequacy front-ends that are found on all other premium sedans and all trucks. I just completely disagree with the premise.

        The premium cars which I always loved hinted at power while emphasising restraint. At this point luxurry cars have gone from Dr. Jekyl to a full-time Mr. Hyde, and are not the better for it.

        I think the modern mid-size family sedan-class manages generally to look more luxurious than the premium sedan segments in general (with a couple notable exceptions).

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    It’s a bottom feeder, just needs whiskers.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Garish interior. Seriously, it resembles a 70’s Volare that Murilee could find in the junkyard.

    The nose reminds me of the old MiG-15 or F-86:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USAF_MiG-15.jpg

    Such a nose is cool and functional on jets, but not on the IS.

    The tail is a grotesque copy of the attractive Optima.

  • avatar
    morbo

    A summer of bug crushing is going to make Lexus rethink the all black plastic mesh grill.

    I know all cars are moving towards the gaping maw front end design because of pedestrian protection regs, but do they all have to be so fugly? My 300C and the new Fusion are the only 2 I’ve seen that aren’t completely fugly.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      But Morbo likes baked insects off of the grille of a Lexus. They are tasty and feed his numerous and belligerent children.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The gaping maw front end in general will just suck-up insects, and if the car makers were smart they’d offer an optional anti-insect grille.

      I like grilles when they’re between the lights and just there, not when they dictate the cars presence.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I like it, but can I get a steering wheel that doesn’t look like it came out of Speed Racer?

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      OR give me the automatic jack, extra grip tires, buzz saws, bulletproof top, infrared lights, periscope and homing robot. Just don’t make it too heavy.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    It makes me want to see Predator.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    When did their motto change to:
    The Relentless Pursuit of Laughingstock?

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Muy feo.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    Whenever I see the Lexus grille, all I can think of is the logo of Sigma, the main villain from the Mega Man X series. And people gave Mazda grief over the “gaping maw…”

    http://i.imgur.com/Zg7S6.png

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Hmmm. I think the only thing this car has on its predecessor is a bigger backseat. The current car is better looking inside and out. I think I’d pick up one of the outgoing IS350s instead of waiting for the new one.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    Looks like the Japanese are entering their ‘malaise’ era.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the same thing. Seems like when you get into a market predominance position you ride for 20 years then hubris, or whatever gets you. I think the Germans will be similarly affected in the next 10 years (it has started already at BMW, I think the modular thing will break Audi). I wonder why is that?

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Management that can take you to the promised land of business success has no idea how to keep you there. Management that knows how to stay in the promised land does not know how to react to challenges as it is based around conservatism in thought (not making any changes that rock the boat), thus losing the dynamism that created the success.

        I think that a successful large corporation needs a dynamically threatening personality to lead the company as it forces the rest of the company to react and maintain a dynamic approach.

        Steve Jobs provided that threat for Apple, I’m not sure who has that personality in the car industry. Akio Toyoda might, but we’ll need to see the next generation of Toyotas before we can really judge that. Right now, only the Toyobaru and Aqua/Prius C show where he wants to take the company.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        “I think that a successful large corporation needs a dynamically threatening personality to lead the company as it forces the rest of the company to react and maintain a dynamic approach.

        Steve Jobs provided that threat for Apple, I’m not sure who has that personality in the car industry. Akio Toyoda might”

        Seems to me that Mulally would fit that bill to a tee, however since its ford, he could never be mentioned. The reality is that Toyota and Honda have signigicant sturctural cost issues in thier captive, (though dying demographically, home market), while trying to subsidize those structural disadvantages through building in other markets and that is significantly impaired by currency issues) The costs have to be made up somewhere. and scarely enough they are taking the old GM process of making the cars cheaper allowing them to live off the glory day reputations as opposed to Nissan, which blew up the “as is” business that existed in Japan for far too long and they are the best now. Toyota and Honda are now faced with the same situations Ford and GM faced for so long in the US (tructural cost issues), lets see how much better they are at executing the plan (and if they aren’t willing to significantly restructor Japanese operations, in 10-15 years they will be the dying brands)*

        People whine about all of the new engines and tech, that Ford is implementing into thier mainstream cars (of course it’s called a failure because its ford, if Honda was doing this, it would hailed as the greatest thing ever, ford has effectly become what Honda once was in the US market (The technological leaders when it comes to small and mid-size cars, i.e engines, transmissions, interior qualities, which as it allowed the J2-3 to sell equivelent cars at higher prices, it seems to be doing the same for Ford).

        *10-15 years was how long GM was able to milk its reputation, in todays information era, that time frame is reduced to half if not less (So first toyota and Honda (I beleive Nissan would walk away from Japanese manufacturing (as well as French) if required). Have to deal with the Structural issues in Japan, or continue to make thier cars cheaper and I think we all know how that will work out.

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      Completely agree, wish I’d thought to say that.
      I think “malaise” is the blandness that separates periods of crisis. If you look at the late 30’s in America they seem to represent another malaise era. Between the disasters of the Depression and WWII, automakers recovered, innovated and reached a boring sameness.

      Intense disruptions like a war, a depression or an oil-shock seem necessary to spur the outrageously rapid innovation that reorders the playing field and brings new players to the forefront. Luck, too, plays a role. The oil crisis of ’73 gave the already well advanced Japanese auto industry a golden opportunity to enter what was then the world’s most profitable market and, my God, how they pounced on it.

      Crisis, recovery, over-supplied stagnation…. seems to be a cycle we can’t shake. But I think North America will never again be the primary market. That part bites.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        But consider this, does “malaise” also have something to do with economic times. Auto makers definitely phoned it in during the 30’s with only a few bright spots. You can count the first couple of years post World-War II because auto makers could only swap over to what they were building up through January 1942 and could finally focus on new designs and features.

        With the highest standard of living, and the anything is possible jet age, cars took on (right or wrong) the design elements of the time. Fins, lighting and grilles all to create the illusion of speed and jet aircraft. It reached its apex with the start of the space race, and the design went either over the top or to heights of glory depending on your view.

        The muscle car era brought further innovation with improvements in transmissions, engine output, brakes, tires, materials, building processes. Then – the bottom dropped out.

        Detroit phoned it in, and the Japanese came in actually doing what Detroit is doing today.

        They built them smaller, with better equipment, and it wasn’t really until the 80’s with much better quality (anyone REALLY want an automatic tranny aluminum engine equipped ’78 Accord today???) [ - the problems Japanese entries faced in the 70\'s were different that Detroit sleds, but still hurt long-term endurance just the same, death thy name is rust - ]

        Look at what appears to be happening today. Honda/Acura is clearly phoning it in (TTAC love for the maligned 2012 Civic aside). Toyota was phoning it in, I think there are some definite signs of life, but there is also a fair amount of, “what are they thinking.”

        I find it interesting that Ford/GM and to a lesser extent Chrysler are taking a page from the 1981 Japanese playbook as we enter another period of malaise.

        Build them SMALLER, with the EQUIPMENT buyers want to provide high value, and focus on quality. The gap from top to bottom has never been this narrow. Almost any new car sans a Rover or a couple of other bottom dwelling outliers will give the buyer 150K to 200K miles of life without a major problem, regardless of make/model.

        Japan went austere (Civic, Corolla exhibit A and B) and Detroit went upscale (Focus, Cruze, Verano, certain flavors of the Dart) and look at what happened.

        I think we’re in another period of malaise for the entire industry. I just think the responses are different, and it is fascinating to watch.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I wouldn’t say that the domestic auto makers were “phoning it in” during the 1930s. That decade was a time of great progress in automotive design and engineering in the United States.

        The styling advances brought about by the Chrysler/DeSoto Airflow, Lincoln Zephyr and Cadillac Sixty Special erased the vestiges of the “motorized horse-drawn carriage” look.

        All-steel construction eliminated the wood and fabric used in body construction, making bodies stronger, quieter and more durable, while the adoption of independent front suspension improved ride and handling.

        People point to the Great Depression and the great economic hardship it caused as the reason for the demise of the multi-cylinder, custom-bodied luxury cars. The real reason was that lower-price cars (particularly the medium-price makes) got so much better in the 1930s that the old-style luxury cars weren’t worth the extra expense. A 1940 Chevrolet was a better car in almost every way than a 1930 Packard or Cadillac.

        I wouldn’t be so quick to write off the Japanese. This new Lexus, for example, may not be attractive (and that is largely limited to the front), but that has nothing to do with its build quality, reliability or performance.

        Honda performed a major makeover of the Civic only a year after it debuted, and less than two months after it introduced a new Accord that has earned very good reviews.

        I’m not writing them off yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I think the Japanese have been watching too much anime. Between the Mazda 3 clown face, Acura beak and now this. They must be thinking that they’re drawing some kind of animated creatures.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I agree. Honda and Toyota are the worst offenders; Nissan might be an exception for some of its lineup.

      Maybe the Japanese malaise explains some of the success of Hyundai/Kia.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      As the resident Lexus defender around here, I’ll say this about the new IS: I wouldn’t buy this over any of its competition. My original love of this brand was how timeless its designs were. An early 1990’s ES, LS, or GS still looks great inside and out. I’m predicting sales cratering for the IS.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’ll disagree with this point, and say that while the LS and GS have aged well (because you see them less often), the common ES is too blatantly Camry-related. The paint colors haven’t aged well either.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Is this the same Lexus that did the GS and ES? What happened???

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      So those designs are “good”? (They’re just less worse.)

      Not sure if there is a flattering angle to the new IS (the rear might be it).

      The front is WAY overly busy with not only the grill, but that headlight casing/LED strip.

      Even the greenhouse is a step down from the outgoing IS.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    Kind of hot.

    Like those F mirrors.

    Great taillights.

    The best Lexus ever?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, the interior and the exterior match — they’re both kind of grotesque.

    Too bad, the current car is not unattractive, even if it rivals the BMW 1-series for inadequate back seat room in a supposedly mid-sized car. And the engine choices appear to remain between too much and too little (the anemic 2.5 liter V-6).

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    Is there a single word in the English language to describe such an ugly, grosteque, hideous object as this car? Perhaps, lexusis?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    LeBra is still alive and with all these fugly ass cars on the market, they’ll be cleaning up!

  • avatar
    suspekt

    Great looking car. What a fresh energetic design.

    Best application of the new design language to date.

    The current IS is one of their best designs to date and this car continues that trend.

    I think those of you that are chastising the design need to spend more time absorbing the complexities and nuances of the exterior surfaces more. Look at it from different angles for a few minutes. This is simply a great design. The headlights are a little off-putting especially compared to the LF-LC and LF-CC.

    This car really does the best job to date of incorporating the LF-LC spindle grill.

    Can’t wait for the full on F model.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Look at it from different angles for a few minutes…”

      I see what you mean. I wonder if LeBra makes back end covers???

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      “spend more time absorbing the complexities and nuances of the exterior surfaces”

      Back in the day I bought that advice for dry wines and 12-tone music. Didn’t work for them, either.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      @ suspekt: Either you are joking, or being paid by Toyota/Lexus to post on the virtues of this car?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Yeah, the red seats are timeless beauty.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      The complexities and nuances? I beg to differ. I find the complexities and nuances reinforce the poor proportioning and overall effect of the stylistic theme as a whole. The spindle grille concept does not translate into production car form, much like Mazda’s Nagare design language.

      It is another example of the automotive community’s obsession with distinctive front ends for brand identification leading to styling decisions which create bad design. Everyone tried to follow the idea which Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Rolls-Royce exemplified, but by trying to be different for the sake of different they wound up with awkward, aesthetically disasterous front ends. Audi did it first, and possibly best, but even their work is unattractive.

      It is far better to be simple and handsome (and accused of blandness by elitist journalists) than distinctively hideous.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Well spoken juicy, I’d also like to add that most of the more iconic cars of the 80’s-90’s tended to be “simple and handsome”, like the Honda NSX.

        They also didn’t get face-lifts every three years.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    Hopefully the non F-sport won’t look so cartoonish up front. Sorry, even if I loved the spindle grille shape (which I’m getting used to, but still don’t like very much), only the bottom 1/4 is an open to airflow, and I can’t get past that. Also, the sharp headlight corners don’t play well with the rounded center of the spindle shape.

    The back is better, the red bulldog teeth marker lights are interesting.

    And I seem to be in the minority in liking the interior. All of the new Lexus interiors seem like an upgrade from the previous models, all of which were unremarkable.

    Any one else think the ES is the best looking of the new Lexus models? Other than the unfortunate hood cut line, I can’t find much to object to on the ES.

  • avatar
    redav

    I don’t mind the spindle grille.

    The tail lights, however, are just foul.

  • avatar
    Burger Boy

    Whether or not you think it’s ugly or not, Lexus has been doing something right. They’ll sell a zillion of these. Seems like a case of complain for the sake of complaining to me. I can just hear the critics back when the Cobra was introduced,” Look at that huge fish-mouthed grill, that bulbous back-end, and what? no roof?” Ah, to have a few copies squirreled away in a warehouse today…

    The Lexus isn’t ground-breaking, nor is it a great departure from what all the other manufacturers are doing. Give it a rest. My wife loves her ’07 IS. With 70,000 miles on the clock with never a hiccup. THAT makes it better looking all the time…try that in an Audi (had two) or BMW, (won’t, ever).

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Five years ago, TTAC and the commentariat did much whining and complaining about the Audi front grille. Since that time, Audi US sales have increased by about 50%.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      If Audi hadn’t increased U.S. sales by roughly 50%, they’d be in the same category as Suzuki. That is, dead. When you’re selling at Lincoln levels, the only place to go is up. Especially if your two main competitors have badly damaged the exclusivity of their brands.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “When you’re selling at Lincoln levels, the only place to go is up.”

        Lincoln sales are at Lincoln levels, and they’re declining.

        In addition, Audi’s US sales were higher five years ago than Lincoln’s sales are today, so your numbers are off.

        In any case, my point remains that the styling critiques by those who post in the comments section here are often off-point.

      • 0 avatar
        Macca

        Pch101, I’ve been reading this site for several years, and I have to say, your comments are always on point.

        Seems like most modern styling cues are met with incredulity and disgust by a large portion of the B&B – be it overly large grilles or LED headlight adornments. I’m not saying I’m a fan of all of these elements, nor their implementation on every model, but the commenters here typically display a “get off my lawn” disposition toward anything remotely flashy, and flashy (usually) sells.

        You could almost forecast sales as being inversely proportional to B&B approval.

        The spindle grill has grown on me, especially on the ES and GS, although it is a bit garish here.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Toyota will be facing a whole new crop of lawsuits the first time that the driver’s airbag goes off and that planet-sized emblem sheers through someone’s skull.

    The rest of the car is just as tasteless and me-too as anything else Lexus has offered over the past decade.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      Maybe they can ask Ford on how to deal with those lawsuits. After all, they have plenty of experience after dealing with the fire bird Pinto.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Toyota doesn’t need help with safety. They already have the NHTSA in their back pocket.

        The only people that need help are the families of Toyota customers that were killed. And the Lexus dealers trying to unload all those unsold LF-A’s.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        Oh you mean the tiny miniscule amount of families “killed” because they didn’t know how to install a floormat in their car, out of the thousands of car accident deaths every year? They’re in good company with the Exploder Firestone deaths and the Pinto Car-B-Ques.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        What does something that happened over 30 years ago have to do with Toyota’s problems now?

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Not all design is matter of personal opinion. There are good and bad line convergences, shadow projections, panel forms, sculptured surfaces, and so on. There are good and bad interiors with regard to clarity, arrangement, contrast, features, tactile sense, and ergonomics.

    All I can say about this attempt is that maybe the Lexus team should soften its pride a little bit and contract a good Italian design house to do their next car. There certainly are enough of them (e.g., Ital Design; Zagato, Bertone, Pininfarina, etc).
    (See http://www.cardesignnews.com/site/directory/design_services/)

    While the current vehicle is attracting, it may not necessarily be attractive. One criterion of beauty (independent of the eye of the beholder) is esthetic endurance. That’s the sort of thing that allows someone to look at a 20 year old Ferrari F355 and still say, “Wow, that is gorgeous, well proportioned, and balanced.”

    Does anyone in the TTAC community seriously think people will make that comment about this Lexus IS in 2030?

    ——————

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Automobiles are fashion. Looks go out of style. With out fresh new looks car lines fail to sell.
    This is simply one more example of a current trend that I label in my mind, the big mouth bass look. Audi for example. The big mouth bass look has been around before. The 70 & 1/2 Camaro rally sport comes to mind.

    Full-size pickup trucks for the past many years have all tried to provide the most absolutely vertical, and square feet of front facing surface, with the most gigantic grills possible. I would suppose this is because for pick up truck buyers, the semi-trailer truck is their inspiration and aspiration.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    This thing is all kinds of hideous. The interior is especially cheap and garish.

  • avatar
    Dynasty

    It seems the consensus of the regular posters is this car is hideous.

    But there seems to be a few NEW posters on this thread saying how great looking this car is.

    Who want’s to bet they are shills?

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    The lines of the front end remind me of an update of the grill on the 1961 Plymouth .

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Call me a hater but the Japanese simply aren’t very good at designing good looking cars. Nissan, Honda, Toyota all are behind both the Germans and Americans when it comes to looks.

    This is unsurpising if you know something about the Japanese culture and motor vehicles. About half the cars they buy are the supremely practical and innovative Kei cars. The styles we like here waste space..so at best the Japanese cars are decent knockoffs – like how NSX knocked off Ferarri or how the Miata knocked of an english roadster.

    • 0 avatar
      solracer

      Mazda seems to do a decent job, I really like the new Mazda 6. But the designs from the other Japanese auto companies these days seem to range from blah to butt ugly.

  • avatar

    I try to reserve judgment about a car until I see it in person and since I’ll probably see it next Monday at the Detroit show, I can wait. Two dimensional photography just doesn’t capture a car as a whole, it often forces a particular perspective and you aren’t really seeing shapes, but rather the way shapes look in a flat photograph or drawing, which isn’t the same thing but rather a simulation.

    Since I’ve been playing around with 3D one of the things that I’ve learned about stereoscopic vision is that depth is only one of the things that it allows us to see. It also gives us shape and space. Your brain takes two flat images, does a lot of very complicated math in a very short period of time, and lets you see the sensual shape of a Jaguar E-Type’s haunches. When you look at a mono photograph of the same view, your brain uses cues, mostly from lighting and reflections, so you get an idea of what the shape is, but you don’t really see the shape the way you would in stereo.

    So things just look different in real life than they do in regular photography. Yes, the Porsche Panamera is a bit awkward, but it’s not as ugly in person. The same is true for the Honda Crosstour. Sure, they’re both a bit like a plum shaped woman, which is why, I think, that people don’t find them attractive, but they’re not hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Ronnie,

      That’s a very wise analysis and deferral of judgment. You are absolutely right about the “3D” effect, in that it lends additional 2D information that was not anticipated: sometimes favorably; sometimes not. Watch “Hobbit” or “Avatar” in 2D and then in 3D, if you need dramatic examples.

      Could you return to this post after you see the Lexus IS in Detroit, and update us on your impressions?

      —————-

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Hear hear!

      Like many here on TTAC, many of my first impressions of new cars come from 2D photos that distort their true 3D form inside and out.

      As a result, I always try to step back and temper my initial reaction – however strong it may be – with an acknowledgement that these are just four polished photos of a car I’ve never seen real life.

      I’ll reserve final judgment on the IS and any other polarizing design for when I see it in person, either at the Philly Auto Show or on the streets.

      One thing I’ll say about the new IS is that it is more daring in its design than the previous generation, while maintaining consistency across the Lexus range.

      However, giving every model precisely the same grille (or other design element), as many marques are wont to do, often serves to curtail the novelty of that element faster than if only one or two models in the range sported it.

      Thus even an audacious Predator grille can become monotonous and rote if every Lexus sports it.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I blame Audi for the basking shark look of today’s “grills”. Painting the bumper black so that it looks like one big opening was not a thing that I expected to live long.

  • avatar
    solracer

    Looks like they snitched some designers from Acura. Is it proper to call a car with an ugly nose “butt ugly” or are we going to have to come up with a new term?

  • avatar
    dtremit

    What an odd refresh. Everything between the A and C pillars (inclusive) is nearly indistinguishable from the current car — but the rear quarter stamping is different. And the front and rear fascias don’t really relate stylistically in any way to that carryover sheet metal. Bland in the middle, frantic on the ends.

    I will say that if those weird forward points on the taillight make it to the mainstream model, I’ll have to respect their self-confidence, at least.

  • avatar
    kmoquin

    The swoop on the side and back doors is reminiscent of my 2002 Saturn SL2

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    It’s not nearly so hideous if you think of the “mouth” as a “moustache.”

    In fact, it’s downright dashing.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “The cabin, clearly a riff on the LFA, is said to be roomier”

    With the red seats and split red/black door panels, it’s clearly a riff on the interior in my Charger.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I know 84cressida is probably going to swoop in here and tell me my opinion is wrong, but I don’t at all care for the oddly shaped grille blackout, just like I don’t on the other Lexii.

    The curves of the sides and quarters are distinctly BMW 1-series which isn’t really a good or bad thing for me. Makes the car appear tighter and smaller than it might actually be.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh look, they stored their extra cocaine inside the headlamp lenses.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Man that car is as ugly as sin. But I bet they’ll sell a bunch of them considering all the other eyesores that are on the road these days.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Gasp, I didn’t realize that anyone had the talent to out-ugly BMW.

    I was obviously wrong.

    Bring back the original Lexis 400 – a truly classy looking car. I’d purchase one of those.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Chances are since you misspelled Lexus, called it the 400 instead of the LS or LS400, and used the word “classy,” that you wouldn’t be purchasing one.

      • 0 avatar
        BigMeats

        @CoreyDL

        When I was selling high-end acoustic guitars our best customer for special edition Martins looked and spoke like the guy who comes to tow you out of a ditch. He owned a big rural trucking company, built from scratch.

        Wide as he was tall, clean, sturdy farmer clothes were his business formal, he would drop 40-50 large without a second thought. When Martin announced a new commemorative model, we ordered one and gave him a call. He’d strum it with his thumb for 10 minutes and then write the check. Often he’d let us keep it in the store a while for its halo effect.

        If we had transmitted your presumptuousness the first time he walked in…..

  • avatar
    geee

    Looks like your basic idiotic response to Audi eating their lunch. Yes, Audi has big front grills, but they aren’t heinous, and on many models look quite nice. This thing, on the other hand, is astonishingly ugly. It’s remarkable that this even exists, and says a lot about how clueless some folks are. Unless of course, they just dont want to have a Lexus brand anymore. But I suppose some folks have no taste, and would just take it because of the name. But ZOMFG, this is quite possibly the worst design I can think of.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see what the regular and hybrid models look like.

    It will look pretty much the same as last year’s model save the hideous front end treatment and the revised interior or “All new 2014 Lexus IS same as the old car edition” just as you quoted for the new 2014 GM trucks.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    These are anything but sporty. Why do they call them F-sport? Is that F implying Fail-sport or F**k-sport? Not a fan.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Feed it three squid daily, and it’ll be OK.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Toyota spends a f-ton on R&D, so why are all the latest Lexus introductions just light MCAs to slap a new grill on, update the infotainment and a few cosmetic changes? What are they spending on if they are starving Lexus like this?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Its the predictable outcome when any Asian car maker tries to make design a little edgier. At least its not as anonymous as the last one and I am sure it would look better in a darker color. However, they may very well alienate a bunch of their existing customers that quote liked the anonymous design. But I also said that about the 2002 7 series so I’m probably wrong.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    As a Lexus driver I am kind of loving all the hate expressed. It means somebody is jealous of my car! Lexus big mistake was drawing attention to the “spindle” grille, and giving it a name. Having said that, I am growing to like it, but that’s mostly because the overall envelope shape, proportions and stance of this (and the GS) is very good. What I don’t like are the slab sides and the wheel flare design, they look no different than much cheaper cars. My second-gen GS has lovely fender blisters reminescent of sports/racing cars of the 50s to 70s. I wish the current crop of designers could get away from the CAD machines and go back to clay modeling by hand. I’ve driven the new GS and have to say Lexus has their mojo back on interior materials and build quality. Finally, get used to this IS, they are going to sell and ton of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      You’re right. And GM sold a ton of the 1973 body-styles as well, even though looking back the 72s were much prettier. And still are.

      Personally, my biggest gripe with this design is the spindle grill. Just hideous. Why does it need to be so aggressive? Why do auto manufactures think every one of their cars have to have the same front end? Why do luxury cars have to have letter designators for the model rather than a name? Why is Lexus just being a “me too”?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’ve got the same car as you, and nowhere along the line of reading all these comments did I think “This means someone’s jealous of my old GS!”

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      What does disliking the design of a new IS-F have to do with your 2nd gen GS? It’s rather hilarious that you’d see that as jealousy of your GS.

      Btw, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen GS are more attractive than the 4th gen (from which this IS-F steals design language, e.g. grille shape, door swoosh).

      • 0 avatar
        Lightspeed

        Gents, I should have been more clear. Meant the generalized hate for all Lexus in the enthusiast community. No, their sporty cars, like my GS, are not as sporty as they think, but lots of people are happy with just sporty enough, especially when it comes with reliable quality. I do believe though, that the new IS and GS, as polarizing as they are, signal Lexus has woken up and is aware that they needed to gain some focus.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        In that case, you’re projecting your own bias there and knocking your own chip off your own shoulder. As far as I can tell, people were talking about design/appearance specifically, not the sportiness of the car.

        As to your “generalized hate” point, enthusiasts would probably take Lexus more seriously if they had wider stick-shift availability, and Mercedes gets dinged for the same reason sometimes (in addition to the fact that many of their sport models mostly go fast only in a straight line).

  • avatar
    gasser

    An ugly, ugly car. If it sells, it will be in spite of its looks.
    I’ve owned 5 Lexus autos in the last twenty years. Each time it gets harder to justify the price premium over cheaper, better looking competition.
    The entire Lexus experience is changing. Service now pressures you to take “premium maintenance” with needless filter changes and useless oil additives. Crowded service departments keep you waiting and miss fixing your complaints. Yes, I’ve tried other dealerships, same story.
    Too many areas of disappointment for Lexus to maintain, let alone build volume.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Every luxury marque stealership service department pushes their “premium maintenance schedule” (which is not required for warranty work). It’s strictly for profit, so they can charge you book rate on a bunch of garbage you don’t need. Is Lexus different from everyone else in this regard?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    As hacked up as my old ’89 Toyota Tercel was, it still looked better than this new Lexus all the while being far cheaper.

    I’ve seen these new predatorSigma Lexus’s in person, and trust me when I say that they’re even uglier and more disproportional.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Beautiful car!

    But I won’t buy it due to my own family needs. Will probably end up with an RX instead.

  • avatar
    kevlar

    the front of this car is a mess, especially the daylight running lights and the headlight cluster. they seem to have been designed by a completely team and tacked on like cheap after market parts. i’m shopping for a sport sedan right now but this isn’t even going to be considered.


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