Review and photos by James Bergeron
2014 Lexus IS. Click image to enlarge
Austin, Texas – I’ve never been to Texas before, so I obviously had my preconceived notions of vast flat plains, a dusty dry climate and pickup trucks lining the highways. But Austin is different; it is located in a very hilly and picturesque part of Texas and is a revitalized and growing city for the affluent. Yes, there are pickup trucks aplenty but, surprisingly, luxury vehicles seem to outgun them. In two days, I witnessed more Aston Martins, Lexus GX/LX luxury SUVs, Jaguars and Porsches than I’ve seen in years on the road. It now makes perfect sense that Lexus would choose Austin, Texas for their media launch of the new 2014 Lexus IS sport sedan.
On sale this summer, the new 2014 Lexus IS has been redesigned both inside and out. This includes chassis enhancements, new bonding and welding techniques, new suspension designs and a larger, more supple and luxurious interior.
The 2014 IS will be available as either a 250 or 350 model, but with more trim choice than ever before and with nearly double the number of configurable trim levels compared to the outgoing model. Both the 250 and 350 models are available in a standard rear-wheel-drive configuration, the IS250 sporting a 2.5L V6 engine rated at 204 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The IS350 models are powered by a 3.5L V6 engine rated at 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Both the IS250 and IS350 models can be optionally equipped with all-wheel drive; a six-speed automatic transmission drives both all-wheel-drive configurations.
With 22 available trim and model configurations, the new 2014 IS gives customers more choice then ever. And with F Sport–design at the heart of the IS, Lexus has created F Sport–infused trim packages at all levels; from the IS250 standard model to the IS350 AWD with executive package – no longer do you have to buy the top level trim to experience the F Sport enhancements.
The new exterior styling may be a little polarizing for some – it certainly is a bold design. But the new 2014 Lexus IS is one case where pictures do not portray the true detail in the vehicle. When witnessed first hand, the new IS has so many details and small nuances that make the new Lexus spindle grille stand out with a striking and dynamic design treatment, the LED daytime running lights in particular accentuating the wide, stable stance. F Sport models are distinguished with a unique front bumper and mesh grille and bolder body styling. New IS tail lamps feature the familiar Lexus L-shape design cues in light pipes, while the lenses wrap around the side, forming a continuous line with the rocker molding, presenting a sharp, dynamic look in sync with the flow of the entire rear design.