Lexus is slowly lifting the kimono, today providing a second teaser ahead of the upcoming reveal of the 2021 IS sedan next week.
And, while the newest teaser pictures don’t show much, they do confirm that a high-performance F Sport package will remain part of the IS family.
We’re hoping the debut finally will go forward considering it has been something of a star-crossed event. Originally planned for an April debut at the now-canceled New York Auto Show, there was a possibility it would instead roll out in Detroit this month.
(Lexus ready to rock with new IS sedan.)
Then, when the North American International Auto Show was scrubbed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lexus announced it would go with a June 9 webinar. That, too, was aborted as the nation erupted into protest over the death of George Floyd. So, the 2021 Lexus IS sedan is now on tap to debut via webinar June 15 at 7 p.m. We can only hope.
For now, Lexus is offering a second set of images teasing the sport sedan which, it hints in a terse statement, will bring to market “brave design, imaginative technology and exhilarating performance.”
The first teaser focused on the 2021 IS sedan’s rear light bar, revealing little else. The new images give a bit more well-lit look at the light bar, as well as the rear of the new model’s fastback greenhouse. If you don’t blink you’ll also catch the car’s new alloy wheel design.
As we first reported last week, we’ve been tracking down a number of rumors and inside reports
on the 2021 Lexus IS redesign and have tried to separate the proverbially wheat from chaff.
(Lexus producing Black Line Edition of GS 350 F-Sport.)
To start with, it appears likely Lexus has decided not to base the new sedan on the TNGA-L platform, a luxury variant of the Toyota Next Generation Architecture that was expected to anchor much of the brand’s product line. Instead, it is believed to remain on the old New-N platform as the outgoing model, albeit with a number of upgrades to enhance performance and handling. Several reports we’ve seen indicate those tweaks were made at the Shimoyama facility near Toyota City, Japan that will be overseeing future performance projects.
What we see with the teaser image here is the back end. It reveals an all-new, arcing taillight teasing that flips to vertical at either corner. There also appear to be some minor revisions to the rear diffuser. While we have nothing visual to go by, indications are that Lexus will tone down the controversial spindle grille design that has overwhelmed the faces of its latest-generation products, reaching an apogee with the LC line.
In early incarnations, the Lexus IS was, to be blunt, intentionally boring. We’re confident the new model will feature a markedly more aggressive makeover. For one thing, it will now have to cover a broader space, what with the demise of the Lexus GS line. And, in a market where sedans are continuing to lose ground, the new model has to really play up the “Wow!” factor or risk being overlooked in favor of the expanded Lexus crossover line-up.
The sedan did punch up the Lexus image when the IS F made its debut for the 2008 model-year, punching up performance with a 417 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 and the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission.
The terse tease suggests we’ll continue to see some real muscle available, And it also confirms that the new sedan will still be available with an F Sport performance upgrade. What’s unclear is what will power that version? There’s an ongoing debate of whether the F Sport will use the familiar, naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 or a version of the twin-turbo 416 hp V-6 found in the LS 500.
There had been some rumors floating that the IS might even get a version of the six-banger from Toyota’s new Supra – an inline package borrowed from BMW. That appears to be highly unlikely at this point.
(Lexus makes changes to LC 500 for 2021.)
For less sporty buyers, the base option will be a 2.0-liter turbo-four making a reasonable 241 hp. Other options may include a 260 hp 3.5-liter V-6, and a high-performance version of that engine punching things up to a more sporty 311 hp.
We’re expecting all powertrain packages to rely on the Lexus eight-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive, we’re advised, will be available only with V-6s, other variants continuing to push power to the back wheels.
If you are interested in watching the web debut of the 2021 Lexus IS, head back here and click on this link at 7 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 15.