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Lexus IS (2013) spy shots

By Ollie Kew

Spy shots

07 September 2012 14:00

Sent in from our spy photographer in the United States, these spy shots show Lexus’s next-generation IS saloon testing ahead of a 2013 reveal.

It’s been a long time coming – the current IS has been on sale since 2005, with only mild trimline changes and tweaks to keep it fresh. During the same period, Mercedes has heavily revised the C-class, and BMW has come along with the brand new best-in-class F30 3-series.

So, it’s high time we had a new Lexus IS, then?

Absolutely. The new IS is sure to get Lexus’s current ‘spindle grille’ arrangement, as seen on the LF-LC concept car, and latterly the new LS and GS saloons. An F-Sport version with lowered suspension, sporty wheels and more flared bodykit is also likely too – even the flagship LS limo got the ‘F’ treatment in its recent reveal.

Whether or not there’ll be more than just the saloon seen testing here is up for debate – the first-gen IS also came in a rare estate format, but the current car shunned pet-carrying capacity. It’s not been a one bodystyle range – Lexus does offer a convertible IS with a folding hard-top roof, but it’s so rare we’d forgive you for ever having set eyes on one outside of a Lexus dealership.

As the spy shot camo-striptease continues, there’ll be more clues on what models of IS we’ll see in the UK, so stay tuned to CAR Online. Here’s hoping for a return for the flagship IS-F to keep the next twin-turbo M3 honest…

What about the next Lexus IS powertrains?

The current IS is the sore thumb of the Lexus range – it’s the only model that Toyota’s posh arm doesn’t offer as a hybrid. There are electric motors in their family hatch (CT200h), limo (LS) and even full-size SUV (RX) but the fleet-market-friendly IS makes do with conventional internal combustion only. It’ll be interesting to see if Lexus goes down the hybrid route with the next car.

Or could piston engines depart from the IS altogether? CAR recently scooped a US-market Lexus HS testing a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain – click here for the spy shots and full story. If trials are successful, one imagines there’s no reason why (most likely in the US) hydrogen power couldn’t migrate into the next IS.