New Model News

2021 Lexus IS gets a performance-focused full body makeover with soft filter looks

Lexus gas completely redesigned the IS sedan for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The Lexus IS has done more than be redesigned. It serves as the nexus of sport and performance, inspiring Lexus to not just build a new sedan, but also a race track to test it on.

Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama is a new test facility for the Japanese automaker. It is an asphalt track that tests even the most expert driver, allowing research and development teams to hone a vehicle's chassis and interaction with control surfaces. Toyota's chief engineer has been tasked with "elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling" with the ultimate goal of delivering "a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before."

2021 Lexus IS The IS has a large grille, just like the ES before it.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota says that this is more than just a vision. It's an evolution that uses what has been learned by the company through the design of the F brand variants of their vehicles and applies it to the future to help push the envelope.

With its redesign, Lexus has taken the edge off the exterior of the IS like putting a soft filter on a photo, but still manages to beef it up. The model is longer, wider, and taller than it was before with a more athletic stance. The grille is large and in charge up front. Traditional models get a three-dimensional polyhedral structure while F Sport cars have block forms that make a mesh pattern and a grille-bottom air intake.

Slender headlamps flank the grille with a new L-shaped signature. Triple-beam LED headlights are available. Side mirrors are clearly influenced by the design of the Lexus LC.

At the back, the car's rear deck has been lowered for the new generation and a blade-style light bar extends across the entire rear of the model.

2021 Lexus IS The car has a bit smoother of an appearance than its predecessor.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Lexus will offer the car in five new exterior colors: Cloudburst Gray, Matador Red Mica, Infrared, Grecian Water, and Iridium. They join Ultra white, Eminent White Pearl, Atomic Silver, Caviar, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 as paint options. Infrared and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 are only available on the F Sport version of the car.

The new, rear-wheel drive IS is more rigid than before and had a weight reduction for this generation. It features coil springs that are 20 percent lighter and A-arms that are made of forged aluminum instead of steel that are 18 percent lighter. The stabilizer bar is 17 percent lighter thanks to a materials change as well.

It rides on standard 18-inch wheels while F Sport grades get the buyer's choice between two different 19-inch varieties. All-wheel drive is available.

2021 Lexus IS The taillights now consist of a longitudinally stretched LED strip across the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In addition to the unique wheels, F Sport models get a unique front bumper, rocker molding, cool air vintage with sound generator, unique exhaust and diffuser, carbon fiber rear spoiler, carbon fiber side mirror caps, and F Sport badging.

Lexus will sell the model in five variants: IS 300, IS 300 AWD, IS 350, IS 350 AWD, and IS 350 F Sport.

The base model IS 300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated to deliver 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The IS 300 AWD gets down the road thanks to a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 236 pound-feet of torque. With all-wheel drive, the model drives 30 percent of its power to the front and 70 percent to the back under dry road conditions. Up to 50 precent of the car's power can go to the front wheels when conditions require it. The engine is mated to a six sped automatic.

IS 350, IS 350 AWD, and IS 350 F Sport variants have a 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. It achieves 280 pound-feet of torque. The IS 350 and IS 350 F Sport have an eight-speed automatic transmission while the IS 350 AWD has a six-speed automatic.

2021 Lexus IS The car now rides on standard 18-inch wheels. Nineteen-inch are available.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Lexus has given the IS F Sport a Torsen limited slip differential. Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Custom drive modes are available depending on trim level.

The seats of the IS are covered in NuLuxe trimmed upholstery in the buyer's choice of Black, Glazed Caramel, or Roja Red. The driver has a 10-way power-adjustable seat while the passenger's is 8-way power-adjustable. Dual-zone climate control, push-button start, an 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.

The Lexus track pad remains.

Available features include a power moonroof, 10.3-inch infotainment touch screen and navigation. The car is also available with a Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System that includes 17 speakers and 1,800 watts of sound. That's two speakers more than the 2020 IS has and more than double the watts.

2021 Lexus IS The cabin of the IS is still wholly recognizable as being from Lexus DNA.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Inside the cabin, F Sport modes get standard heated and ventilated sport seats (available in a new Circuit Red color). They feature two-way power-adjustable lumbar support and four-way headrest adjustment. F-Sport models also have a unique accelerator and brake pedal, and footrest as well as a console kneepad with contrast stitching and a Lexus card key.

Each new Lexus IS comes standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, which includes a forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, bicyclist detection, adaptive cruise control (above 30 mph), lane departure alert, lane trace assist, intelligent high beams, road sign assist, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert.

The car's adaptive cruise control system, called All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, includes a new feature. From Lexus:

"DRCC also includes a new feature that allows for smooth overtaking of slower vehicles. If traveling behind a vehicle traveling slower than the preset speed, once the driver engages the turn signal the system will provide an initial increase in acceleration in preparation for changing lanes; after changing lanes, the vehicle will continue acceleration until it reaches the original preset driving speed."

The 2021 Lexus IS will arrive at dealerships this autumn and will be available for sale in approximately 40 counties around the world.

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Lexus took a different approach to launch the new IS.

Lexus

Lexus knows how to make a good V8. The LC 500, RC F, and even older cars like the SC 400 all feature a buttery, powerful Lexus V8. The IS sports sedan never has been given the V8 treatment, but that's about to change for the 2022 model year. The automaker is jamming a big V8 in the space normally occupied by a four- or six-cylinder engine to create the 2022 IS 500 F Sport. The automaker's new marketing campaign for the car takes a slightly different approach than the "big red bow" commercials it usually makes, starting with a short documentary called "License to Thrill."

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport 14 drivers competed for a chance to be one of the first IS 500 F Sport owners.Lexus

The IS 500 F Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 472 horsepower. It's the most powerful Lexus IS ever, so it's not surprising that the automaker chose to highlight its performance in its launch marketing campaign.



The documentary follows 14 auto enthusiasts who participated in a driving event for a chance to own (buy) one of five early cars. Drivers were taken to the Apex Motor Club in Arizona, where they received tips from Lexus IMSA drivers Townsend Bell, Jack Hawksworth, and Aaron Telitz before hitting the track in an IS 500 F Sport. Each driver had an opportunity to set the best lap times in the car. Top lap times earned a chance to be one of the first to purchase the car, but Lexus also gave away one IS 500 to an unexacting participant.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Lexus gave away one of the cars.Lexus

The IS 500 launch will include other events that involve artists and content producers. Pro driver JR Hildebrand will drive the car for a MotorTrend special, while 100 Thieves and Garagisme will create publications and video content involving the car.

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New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.

Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

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