2021 Lexus IS



It’s been nearly 20 years since the Lexus IS debuted stateside, and in that time it has become one of the most popular compact luxury sport sedans on the market. Things are getting exciting in the world of Lexus now, since this next incarnation will be considerably redesigned. The 2021 IS was developed with Lexus Driving Signature, a game-changing design developed almost exclusively on the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama race-track. It was here where Lexus engineers and researchers developed chassis and suspension improvements that, paired with a more rigid body, create a more engaging drive. Lexus Driving Signature will promote uniformly high standards for handling, ride quality and overall performance across the automaker’s lineup, to ensure every driver’s enjoyment of their Lexus vehicle and uphold the brand’s stellar reputation.

Performance aside, the 2021 IS will also debut a new multimedia layout with an available 10.3-inch touchscreen, and the enhanced Lexus Safety System+2.5 suite of active driver aids will be found standard on all trims. This much-anticipated refresh will bring some interesting changes to a sedan that hasn’t experienced any major updates since 2013. As for when you can expect it to arrive at dealerships, mark your calendars for this autumn.

Power and Performance

Lexus is making the 2021 IS in a trio of trim levels: the 300, the 350, and the 350 F Sport. Rear-wheel drive versions of the 300 have a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but all-wheel drive versions get a 260 hp 3.5-liter V6, as does the 350 trim. Under the hood of the 350 F Sport, that same V6 puts out 311 hp instead, thanks to the performance tuning of that trim. Rear-wheel drive versions of the 2021 Lexus IS 300 and 350 get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and AWD versions get a six-speed automatic.

Exterior and Interior Design

The 2021 Lexus IS will not just be more athletic and sleek, but it will be an inch longer and wider as well, with prominent fenders that accommodate wheels up to 19 inches. The different trims present separate new aggressive grille designs and sharper headlights. The F Sport edition swaps the chrome grill detailing for a more imposing dark finish. F Sport models are eligible for two different 19-inch wheels and a Dynamic Handling Package that contains adaptive dampers and other chassis upgrades.

Inside, most of the 2021 Lexus IS’s cabin has been only modestly updated. The upper portion of the center console is now draped with a gloss black finish instead of the previous brushed-metal look. On the technology front, the 2021 Lexus IS replaces the less-intuitive mouse-like infotainment controls with a user-friendly touchpad. The standard infotainment touchscreen is 8 inches in diagonal (replacing the 7-inch screen from last year), but a 10.3-inch version is available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be included on all three trims as well.

Driver-Assist Features

The 2021 Lexus IS will introduce the latest Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of active safety technologies. This consists of enhanced capabilities for the automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection technologies, a more sophisticated dynamic cruise control system that can read speed limit signs, and the standardization of blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.