Lexus has given its IS range sports sedan a minor facelift, improved handling, and a safety tech upgrade.
The new IS model line-up will remain unchanged, with a choice of hybrid petrol, 2.0 litre turbo, and the 3.5-litre petrol V6 across the 300h, 200t and 350 variants.
External changes are a minor – more Botox than nip and tuck. The front receives updated headlamps with L-shaped running lights, larger air intakes on either side of the large spindle grille, which has also received a slight tweak.
The F SPORT’s new dark chrome grille features an exclusive three-dimensional F-mesh pattern that incorporates functional brake ducts that enhance the vehicle's aerodynamic performance.
The character line jutting forward from the rear wheel arch is more pronounced and enhanced by new multi-spoke wheel designs.
Two new colours have been added to the range – Deep Blue Mica and Graphite Black.
Inside, the multimedia display screen has been increased from 7-inches to 10.25-inches and has higher resolution than before. An 'Enter' button has been added to the side of the fiddly Remote Touch Interface (RTI) on the centre console to make it easier to use.
On the centre dash the audio and ventilation-control panel has been refined to fit completely within the knee bolsters, and a new hairline-finish surface provides both a high-quality feel and improved appearance.
Further enhancements include new cup holders, a new, larger, leather-wrapped palm rest with stitching for the RTI and new dial markings on the in-dash analogue clock, which for some reason is well appreciated in luxury cars.
Unseen changes include safety upgrades including the adoption of the Lexus Safety System +, a newly developed set of active driver assistance technologies featuring a pre-crash safety system with a pedestrian detection function, lane departure alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam (AHB) and all-speed adaptive cruise control.
Handling has also been improved via revised front and rear suspension systems, and new steering settings.
The front double wishbone suspension features a new aluminium lower arm assembly, which offers a 49-percent increase in rigidity over the steel member it replaces and new No. 1 bush with a 29-percent increase in rigidity which Lexus claims has markedly improved steering response at cruising speeds. The rear multi-link suspension has also receives new components and revised damper settings, while ECU settings of the Electric Power Steering system (EPS) have also been revised.
Lexus claims the changes have resulted in a demonstrated improvement standard and F SPORT IS models’ ride quality, body control, rear traction and straight line stability, as well as better steering response and feedback.
The 2017 Lexus IS range will be in Lexus showrooms in the first quarter of next year, with local prices and specs released closer to launch.