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Spot the difference: facelifted Lexus IS saloon revealed at Paris 2016

Published: 29 September 2016

Light facelift for premium saloon
Tweaked interior, bigger media screen
Revised suspension and steering

If it ain’t broke,don’t fix it. Lexus has taken the wraps off their (very) subtly facelifted IS saloon at this year’s Paris Motor Show. The updated model features new headlamps, larger air intakes in the front bumper and a revised spindle grille design.

Buyers of the full-fat IS F super-saloon also get a fancy new 3D-effect ‘F-mesh’ pattern grille, incorporating new brake ducts designed to improve aerodynamic performance. 

Step around to the back of the car and the updates are similarly clandestine. New triple-layered rear lights and chromed rectangular exhaust tips the only differences from the current model. 

Lexus admits the changes are minor, pointing to the ‘success’ of the existing styling as a reason for keeping things subtle, though we reckon most drivers won’t even notice the difference.

Is there anything we will notice?

Biggest changes are inside the cabin. In the ongoing race between manufacturers to see who can make the biggest multimedia screen, Lexus has upped its entry from a piddly 7 inches to a Mercedes-Benz rivalling 10.25 inches. The antiquated software of old has also been brought up to date, matching that seen in the Lexus RX SUV. And there are new cupholders, too.

Lexus’s ‘Safety System+’ now features on the IS, with Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Adaptive Cruise Control and autonomous emergency braking all included within the package.

Will it drive any better than previous IS models?

Possibly. The front and rear suspension has been redesigned with new materials to give greater rigidity, plus shock absorber and damper settings have also been tweaked. A power steering software recalibration rounds off the dynamic changes.

When can I buy one?

Those desperate for those new cup holders and chromed exhaust tips are going to have to wait until next year, unfortunately. Lexus promises a release in early 2017 with UK-specific details coming soon. The existing hybrid and petrol engine powertrains will carry over to the facelifted car.

Click here for more news and pictures from the 2016 Paris motor show

By James Dennison

Manager of Parkers' video content and contributor to CAR

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