The new benchmark: How the Lexus IS was born to be the definitive sport sedan

The most thrilling and aggressive iteration of the Lexus IS sport sedan is the one that awaits you at the Lexus Manila Showroom today. The new IS is a catalyst for future Lexus models.

All IS models are crafted with the Lexus Driving Signature in mind: Balanced and linear, while giving the driver utmost control and confidence on the road. The new IS is agile and provocative, and it will suit both weekday and weekend drives. Your senses will be stimulated, thanks to the beautifully designed exterior; the exceptional and luxurious ride comfort; and the sharp and responsive handling worthy of an all-around sports sedan.

The arrival of the very first IS 

The very first IS made its debut in 1998, ready to challenge its competitors in the luxury midsize sedan category while strengthening Lexus’s values within the luxury car segment.

The creation was a true driver’s car. The inline 6 cylinder under the hood paired with a six-speed gearbox was breathtaking; the chronograph-inspired gauges added a touch of surprise and sophistication to the interior; and the handling was top-notch. Accolades were to follow, including Japan’s Car of the Year award for 1998, as well as praises from the international motoring press. 

The IS continued to evolve throughout the generations, with the addition of bigger and more responsive powerplants. As befitting an executive saloon, the IS range was primarily powered by smooth, six-cylinder engines–now direct injection V6 units rather than straight sixes. In some markets an entry-level four-cylinder petrol engine was available. But it was the arrival of the IS F in 2007 that changed the game, engineered in secret by a small engineering team that placed a 417hp 5.0-litre V8 under the hood.

The third generation IS made its debut in 2013, with an engineering brief that further sharpened the edge of this noteworthy driving machine. Rather than develop each individual aspect in the hope they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience, Lexus first established the kind of driving experience owners desire.

The New IS Lexus Driving Signature

Today, the new IS’s development was very unique. The model was born and bred at the Shimoyama Technical Center Test Track—where the toughest and most challenging roads in the world have been recreated. Every facet of its performance was developed on that extremely challenging on-road course, all for the sake of delivering an experience like no other to drivers around the world.

“With the aim of making ever-better cars, we have continued to make various efforts in “feeling the road” and “conversing with cars” through driving tests around the world, including our Five Continent Drive Project and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race,” said Lexus Master Driver Akio Toyoda. “Based on such experiences, we have replicated a variety of roads in the world at the new test course. In addition to conducting driving tests all over the world, and with the replication of severe driving conditions at the new test course, we intend to thoroughly hone every one of our models and develop the types of cars that epitomize the true joy of driving.”

The IS can adapt to the needs of the driver because of its dual personality and can deliver ride comfort while in city, but when the situation calls for it, it can also offer superb response and handling during sporty driving situations. This thrilling suspension responsiveness and all-out performance is a result of thorough engineering.

Of course, a huge part of the performance equation is what is under the hood. The F Sport variant boasts a 300hp normally aspirated V6 engine that delivers 380Nm. This is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission for mesmerizing power delivery worthy of a proper sports sedan. Meanwhile, the IS 300h is powered by a  2.5-liter Inline four-cylinder hybrid power plant mated to a Lexus E-CVT intelligent transmission for optimum efficiency during every driving condition.

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