Face Odyssey: Restyled Lexus IS Unwrapped in Beijing

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 05lgt 05lgt on Apr 26, 2016

    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.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 26, 2016

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

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Apr 26, 2016

      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.

  • Theflyersfan I wonder how many people recalled these after watching EuroCrash. There's someone one street over that has a similar yellow one of these, and you can tell he loves that car. It was just a tough sell - too expensive, way too heavy, zero passenger space, limited cargo bed, but for a chunk of the population, looked awesome. This was always meant to be a one and done car. Hopefully some are still running 20 years from now so we have a "remember when?" moment with them.
  • Lorenzo A friend bought one of these new. Six months later he traded it in for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He already had a 1998 Corvette, so I thought he just wanted more passenger space. It turned out someone broke into the SSR and stole $1500 of tools, without even breaking the lock. He figured nobody breaks into a PT Cruiser, but he had a custom trunk lock installed.
  • Jeff Not bad just oil changes and tire rotations. Most of the recalls on my Maverick have been fixed with programming. Did have to buy 1 new tire for my Maverick got a nail in the sidewall.
  • Carson D Some of my friends used to drive Tacomas. They bought them new about fifteen years ago, and they kept them for at least a decade. While it is true that they replaced their Tacomas with full-sized pickups that cost a fair amount of money, I don't think they'd have been Tacoma buyers in 2008 if a well-equipped 4x4 Tacoma cost the equivalent of $65K today. Call it a theory.
  • Eliyahu A fine sedan made even nicer with the turbo. Honda could take a lesson in seat comfort.