These are the first official pictures of the all-new 2013 Lexus IS. Challenging the likes of the BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-class and Audi A4, the new IS has gone under the knife and the new iteration has a more athletic and vigorous-looking design, judging by these photos.
Sporting an updated, pleasingly chiselled front end, the new IS takes inspiration from the LF-CC concept shown at 2012’s Paris motor show. The new IS features the new 'spindle' front grille which adorns all new Lexus models, decorated with a new headlamp cluster design and the trademark L-shaped daytime running lights set independently below.
Viewed in profile, the visual bulk of the Lexus IS's cabin has been shifted towards the rear. With the swooping line running from the rear lamp cluster to the passenger sill, it gives the IS a more striking presence.
On this first evidence, we'd applaud Lexus's design: after a spate of disappointing transitions from concept to showroom (CT hatchback, anyone?), the new IS looks like a bold effort that's survived the production process remarkably unscathed.
Has much changed inside the new Lexus IS?
Taking inspiration from both the Lexus CT 200h and the outrageous LFA supercar, the new 2013 IS incorporates hints of supercar trinkets with family-friendly usability. Using the part-analogue, part-digital dials from the LFA and heating arrangement from the CT 200h, the IS also features a Lexus first: electrostatic switches that need just a brush of the finger to adjust the air-conditioning temperature rather than frantic prodding.
An increased wheelbase and wider track create a more spacious cabin for passengers in the back of the Lexus IS, and the boot benefits too. Lexus claims class-leading passenger legroom
What about a cooked-up hot version? Will there be another Lexus IS-F?
Not yet. But for now there's the IS F Sport. Recognise it by its elevated spindle-shaped grille that allows for greater air intake needed for cooling.
The IS F Sport also comes with an upgraded seat design for extra support in faster bends and the LFA inspired driver’s meter with a moving centre ring.
Stay tuned to CAR to find out more details about the Lexus IS when it's revealed on 15 January 2013 at the Detroit auto show in the US.