|Lexus IS F SPORT onstage at the Detroit Auto Show. Click to enlarge.
Lexus unveiled the all-new 2014 IS sport sedan at the North American International Auto Show. IS will be available in rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 and IS 350; in a hybrid version, the 300h, for Europe, Japan, and select international markets; and with a further evolution of F SPORT available across the entire model range, including the hybrid. The 300h is the first hybrid for the IS line; the all-new Lexus IS will go on sale in mid-2013.
Every aspect of the IS was engineered with a renewed focus on engaging performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.
I adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the all-new IS. Specifically, it was to make an entertaining driving experience a major premise behind all aspects of performance.
The conventional approach involves developing each individual aspect in the hope that they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience. By contrast, development of the new IS flipped this process on its head, first establishing the pleasurable driving experience owners desire, and then developing the individual performance elements to support it.—Junichi Furuyama, IS chief engineer
Engine/Transmission. Rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 are powered by a 2.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 350 features a 3.5 liter V6 gas engine. The IS 300h, which will be available in Europe, Japan,and select international markets, will employ the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, based on a newly developed 2.5L Atkinson-cycle engine.
One of the key benefits of having a global product portfolio strategy is that it gives us the flexibility to offer the right vehicles, at the right time, in the right markets, in direct response to customer needs. A prime example of this approach is our first-ever IS Hybrid.
The IS 300h will be available in Japan where a majority of the vehicles we sell are hybrids and in Europe and other international markets where CO2 emissions drive buying behavior.
The full hybrid system combines a powerful electric motor with a newly developed 2.5 liter, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine featuring a new D-4S fuel injection system, Dual VVT-I and a high-efficiency Exhaust Gas Recirculation system. While we can’t disclose actual numbers until later this spring, I can tell you that we’re targeting CO2 emissions lower than 100 g/km and fuel consumption of less than 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers [55 mpg US], while delivering total system power of 162 kW [217 hp].—Mark Templin, Group VP and General Manager, Lexus Division
IS adopts the Drive Mode Select system which offers up to four switchable driving modes—ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT S+ (S+ available on IS 350 only)—to optimize vehicle systems to suit the driver’s preferred combination of fuel economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
The IS 350 RWD features the eight-speed, Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission from the IS F high performance sedan with quicker shifts, full torque converter lockup and throttle blips in manual mode. The new IS is the first Lexus model to adopt G force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) control in Sport mode. This system automatically selects the optimal gear and downshift pattern in response to G force, and maintains the selected gear through a corner.
Chassis/Body/Suspension/Brakes. New, laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding techniques, along with additional spot welding, have increased overall body rigidity. This enhances stability and also allows for a more comfortable ride without compromising handling agility.
The double wishbone front suspension system has been revised, offering a 20% increase in sway rigidity. The rear adopts a new multi-link suspension system from the GS. Fine tuning has resulted in outstanding grip performance and excellent response to steering inputs. Separate mounting of the spring and shock absorber maximizes trunk space.
The new IS benefits from a steering gear box based on that of the GS sedan, incorporating a variety of tuning techniques. The structure and rigidity of each gear box component has been revised to create a smoother and more accurate steering feel with enhanced input response and greater driver feedback.
F SPORT. F SPORT models not only benefit from exclusive, exterior and interior design features, but also dynamic enhancements. Both the front and rear suspension systems and the Electric Power Steering (EPS) are exclusively tuned for F SPORT, enhancing handling performance. An Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system is tuned for F SPORT models, while Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) is also available on IS 350.