The 2021 Lexus IS remains a strong contender in the sport-luxury sedan category. It offers Toyota-levels of durability and a posh ride, but it wasn’t the sharpest nor the best-handling of the bunch. Lexus is changing all that in the 2021 IS sedan. The new IS 300 is still available, while the IS350 now comes standard with the F Sport Package.
“What we had foremost in mind in developing the new IS was to make it a car that excelled in communicating with the driver regardless of the road conditions or driving situation,” said Naoki Kobayashi, Chief Engineer of Lexus International. “We aimed to make the new IS a Lexus compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control.”
This ‘relentless pursuit of perfection’ means the newest IS benefits from a host of chassis and suspension improvement. Lexus optimizes the reinforcement structures from the C-pillars to the sides of the roof, while key areas of the chassis were bolstered to improve stiffness.
And by revising the suspension layout and front pick-up points, Lexus had enough room to fit optional 19-inch wheels on F Sport models. the new Lexus IS comes standard with new 18-inch wheels, while F Sport models equipped with the Dynamic Handling Package receive a gorgeous set of 19-inch BBS wheels.
The 2021 Lexus IS also has lighter coil springs, forged aluminum A-arms, and a new suspension stabilizer bar to reduce unsprung weight. Combined with new swing-valve shock absorbers with ultra-low velocity valves, you get sportier reflexes and a smoother ride.
The base Lexus IS300 RWD starts at $40,025, marking a $440 increase from last year’s model. It has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger with 241 horsepower and 8-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, AWD remains a $2,000 option, but you also get a bigger 3.5-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic gearbox to go along with it.
Choosing the IS350 gets you a 311-horsepower version of the V6 engine. With base prices starting at $43,925, it also comes with previously optional F Sport Upgrades and is around $2,400 lower than the outgoing IS350 F Sport. It also has an 8-speed automatic in RWD format, while AWD adds $2,000 to the base price and includes a six-speed automatic.
The 2021 Lexus IS arrives at dealerships this October. Standard feature includes a relocated 8.0-inch infotainment display (a larger 10.3-inch screen is available with the Mark Levinson audio upgrade), Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Alexa compatibility, and Lexus Safety System + (LSS+) driving aids which include automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, frontal collision warning, and dynamic radar cruise control among a few.