By on April 25, 2016

Restyled Lexus IS

The refreshed Lexus IS bowed today at the Beijing Motor Show, presenting an even hungrier face than before.

Lexus kept the well-defined proportions of the entry-level sedan intact, but went to town on the front end. The corporate spindle grille now sports a higher cinch point and spacetime-bending three-dimensional mesh.

Redesigned headlamps flank the new maw, with significantly enlarged air intakes poised to inhale the stars and spiral galaxies the grille missed. Performance models receive functional brake ducts.

Restyled Lexus IS

Standard 10-spoke, 17-inch polished wheels brighten up the sedan’s flanks, while enhanced light guides in the LED taillamps and rectangular exhaust tips freshen up the rear.

Inside, the IS sees its multimedia screen grow from seven to 10.3 inches and gain higher resolution. Possibly in response to customer criticism, Lexus has added “Enter” buttons to the side of the center console’s Remote Touch Interface. A larger dose of safety now comes standard, via the Lexus Safety System + suite of driver’s aids.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the IS lineup, with vanilla and F-Sport models carrying over as before. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 (in two flavors) both return.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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58 Comments on “Face Odyssey: Restyled Lexus IS Unwrapped in Beijing...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    That is one Fugly front end and will catch plenty of bugs , the rest looks like a 3 series knockoff.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Whatever you want to make of this, it’s quite uniquely styled, and looks nothing like a 3-Series.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Have to admit, this Lexus has touch of older BMW Bangle-fire in the bulges and swoopiness of it all. Seems like flame-surfacing, but with compromises inherent to badge-ish engineering a common platform.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “but with compromises inherent to badge-ish engineering a common platform?”

          ???

          The front is just too wild for me—and always has been. But I really like the sweeping line where each rocker panel meets the apex of the tail-lamp and rear bumper cover. It’s a very well-executed character line.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Are you confusing the IS with the ES?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Add the Lexus grille to the Camry, add the Camry jowls to the IS. Toyota needs to better differentiate its brands.

    And I still hate the Nike logos on the front of this car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lexus sales are up 74% since 2011. I guess buyers don’t look at the front end.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The whole industry is up 51% since 2011. Lexus is up on top of that because they added the NX.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        In your alternate universe, did any of the other manufacturers add models? +74% against an industry average of +51% is beating the heck out of your competition.

      • 0 avatar
        kit4

        Lexus sales are up because outside of fanboys on the Internet, the market reception has been positive.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I will say GX sales soared when they did the 2014 refresh with the spindle grille. It’s still the oldest-feeling vehicle in the Lexus lineup by way of its last-generation electronics suite…but I’d say buyers have responded positively to it.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      “I guess buyers don’t look at the front end.”

      My parents just took delivery of an ES. I told my mom it was ugly and she didn’t care. They’re riding on the inside, while the rest of us who have to look at it from the outside get to suffer.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The current Lexus grill reminds me of the Tandy Corp. logo. (Tandy was Radio-Shack’s corporate parent.)

  • avatar
    319583076

    Now they’re just daring people to buy this thing.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    …I actually like the Lexus face.

  • avatar
    Canary

    Are they letting kids design their cars?

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I can’t wait until the luxury brands stop pussy-footing around and just make the entire front halves of their vehicles out of grill. That appears to be where we’re going anyway.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Looks like old E60 5-series after a Bob Lutz brainstorm.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    We have Audi to thank for these bumper-less grilles, don’t we?
    I mean, unless you assign blame to the late 90s early 2000s ricers who put those ridiculous wide-mouth fiberglass bumpers on their 3000gts and Eclipses.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I like it, on balance. The grille is too big but at least in the cars that were designed for it from the start it looks coherent. The rest of the car is very nicely proportioned.

    I hope this one drives as well as the last one, and doesn’t succumb to market pressure to make everything numb like the 3-Series did.

  • avatar
    LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

    That goofy grille looks like a flyswatter sandwiched between two largemouth bass mouths.
    Why does Toyota insist on continuing with this ugliest of all front ends?
    Most likely explanation: the stylist in charge of front ends is the spoiled son of someone powerful on the board of directors, and he has been unable to come up with any better ideas.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Not sure about the stylist, but an integral part of being Lexus, is doing things others realistically can’t. To go where “lessers” can’t follow. Very sharp, distinct shapes tapering to almost impossibly sharp needle like corners, glaringly highlights any deviation from perfect execution and workmanship, and ultra tight control over tolerances. Which makes such shapes both a testament to a higher degree of precision, as well as largely immune to successful aping by “lesser” makes.

      Toyota has always cared more about being number one wrt production process sophistication and execution, than about being associated with the latest and “greatest” wrt styling, power, speed, tech features and whatnot.

      And, especially concerning generally “Made in Japan” Lexus, a friendly game of understated showing off, for those “in the know” at Mercedes and BMW, and perhaps nowadays especially upstart Hyundai/Kia, is at least as important as what mere plebes may think about any given model’s “look.”

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    I find it strange that as styled as the front fascia and illumination is, that the door surfacing is extremely minimal, none of the character lines carry from the Yautja front end through the body.

    I love the taillight treatment as of late though.

  • avatar
    kit4

    Looks good and for those saying it’s too aggressive (and you’d complain that it’s too boring if it wasn’t) there is the non-F sport model which is toned down.

    Yet another car that actual buyers will like and bloggers who wouldn’t buy it regardless will whine and moan about.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’d say it’s tied with the 3-Series for second-best driving dynamics in the class (the ATS has first-place, but that car is far too compromised and feels cheap in places). And if you like the styling and the rock-solid 3.5-liter V6 in the 300 / 350 variants, it makes a very compelling case for itself.

  • avatar
    Paco Cornholio

    Looks like it could unhinge its jaw to consume a Smart car whole.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    This thing induces projectile vomitting.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    The shape shifting salt sucker monster that Bones fell in love with in Star Trek.
    Lexus has a special kind of ugly stick with which it beats its cars.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I like it, though I’m not sure why. I think it’s because those scoops that presumably lead to brake-cooling ducts have a very purposeful look, whether they are functional or not.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Will they introduce an all black version and call it the
    Darth Vader edition?

  • avatar
    qfrog

    So much do not want in that front end. The rest is pretty benign if not appealing but the front end is the sort of ugly that pre-internet could have earned a living in a carnival freak show.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    17″ wheels? Is that a typo?

    Very refreshing at a time when FWD 4-cylinder family sedans get 19″ wheels.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This is over-the-top. The Lexus spindle grille was most palatable when it was broken up by the bumper cover. See the 2013 GS 350—which, I believe, was the first car to wear said spindle grille—for an example. Even in F-Sport guise, where Lexus unleashes its wildest, most caffeinated designers, it still looks classy.

    http://st.automobilemag.com/uploads/sites/11/2011/11/2013-Lexus-GS-350-F-Sport-front-three-quarters.jpg

  • avatar
    gasser

    I’ve bought 5 Lexus autos in the last 20 + years. I hate how these grilles look on any and all of their models. They’ve lost me as a customer.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    It gets even worse than this with the new Prius or the Mirai, especially the Mirai.

    Did a whole bunch of CAD files suddenly become corrupted during the eleventh hour?

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I want to like this car, but I can’t get past the horrible front end. Strangely, I feel the same way about another Toyota product, the new 4Runner. This brother/sister combination is just plain ugly!

  • avatar
    05lgt

    This will look extra ugly with a front plate. Anyone else cringe when seeing these bigger more recent spindle grills with a plate tacked off to the side? It just does not work. Please fix it.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    When will the Large Mouth Bass front end look finally go the way of sagging pants?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Well, there is Tesla. At least the fish has kind of closed it’s mouth. I also think that 05glt is right in that some of these cars, including Tesla, will look much better with a license plate on them. Some cars look better in person. For example, I think the Mazdoyotion iA looks better when you’re standing next it – maybe because it’s small.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I have some thoughts on this.

      Audi started the trend back in 2004-ish. I think they’re going to lead the trend away from it. If you see their new models there has actually been a reduction in grille space.


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