When we last met the Lexus IS, we praised its commendable performance, and the impressive amounts of comfort that lurk beneath the surface. But it was also no secret that some of the finer elements of the car were starting to ungracefully show their age. With the current generation car being on the market for seven years, it was no secret that a replacement was indeed imminent. Lexus has finally revealed that one is coming, with the Japanese luxury brand releasing one lone teaser image ahead of its debut June 9th.
While the teaser does not tell us very much, the lone clue here is that the IS will get an all new taillight design, with an all new full-width motif that is similar to the Lexus UX crossover. While the trend towards full-width light bars has been accelerating over the past few years as automakers try to jazz up styling cues of their models, it is not the first time that we have seen this type of lighting, with full width bars enjoying a brief golden period in the 1990s when they were a prominent design feature on Buick models of the period. But moving back to the present, Lexus claims that the IS is “dressed to thrill” which could indicate that the IS is aiming to be one of the sportier entries in the luxury sport sedan category by ditching some of the more polarizing elements of its current design. Along with the design change, some big changes could also take place underneath the skin, with engine offerings being potentially reworked. At the moment, the IS’s hottest engine is an aging V6, but rumors suggest that while a formal F model is not in the works (for now at least) an IS 500 model would appear that would be powered by a V8 engine.
But the underpinnings of the IS appear to still be up in the air, with some rumors suggesting that the 2021 IS could either be built on the TGNA-L platform or perhaps be carried over on the current platform. Either way, look for the IS to make a big push upmarket with the discontinuation of the GS mid-size sedan. This would help fill a noticeable void in the lineup, and allow the IS to be viewed as a more serious contender amongst the luxury car ranks. Lexus is not revealing key details just yet, but look for a few more tasty appetizers to emerge over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, look for all of these questions and more to be answered at the car’s virtual unveiling on June 9th, when the world will see whether the 2021 Lexus IS has the chops to perhaps dethrone segment stalwarts like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, as well as the Audi A4.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.