An exception in a declining sector, the 2021 Lexus faces an uphill battle. Product planners know this, so they rated the new model inferior to most major competitors without compromising on content or performance.
The 2021 IS range that was unveiled in June 2020, includes the 300 entry-level and 350 F-Sport Sport, each of which comes in either a rear-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive. The rear-wheel drive IS 300 starts at $ 40,025, including the mandatory destination fee of $ 1,025, which is just $ 440 more than the outgoing 2020 model. And with the addition of the all-wheel drive system, that number comes to $ 42,025. Drivers who upgrade to the 350 F-Sport will have to pay $ 43,925 if they want to send power to the rear axle, or $ 45,925 if they want to steer it to all four wheels.
Standard feature list includes 18-inch wheels (one inch more than before), multiple electronic driving aids, power front seats (10 driver’s and 8-way front passenger), dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-inch touchscreen About five and a half inches closer to the driver than the previous model. Motorists can pay extra for 19-inch wheels, an electric powered sunroof, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen. Finally, SI is available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Lexus has revamped its hierarchy for 2021 so that the F Sport package is no longer available on the IS 300, but is installed on every IS 350 designed for the American market. It features a cool air intake, a specific exhaust system, a sound generator, 19-inch wheels, and F Sport badging, plus a body kit that adds elements like a rear spoiler and integrated diffuser. In the rear bumper. Heated and ventilated front seats are also included.
The rear-wheel drive IS 300 comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharger, which produces 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While you assume the four-wheel drive model simply acquires a pair of steering wheels, the shift is more complicated. It also gets a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 260 horsepower and 236 pounds of torque under pressure, as well as a six-speed automatic transmission. Lexus reports the system can send up to 50% of the engine’s power to the front axles.
The IS 350 selection brings an evolution of 3.5-liter rated 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or all four wheels at two speeds slower. In its fastest configuration, which consists of a six-cylinder and two-wheel drive, the IS reaches 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
When it arrives in showrooms this fall, the IS will compete in the same arena as the Audi A4 (which comes standard with all-wheel drive), the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In context, these sedans start at $ 40,145, $ 42,245, and $ 42,395, respectively, after destination charges.
Lexus might still have some SI-related surprises up its sleeve. Unverified rumors claim the IS lineup will win a flagship, high-performance model for the M3 and C63. Initially referred to as the IS 500, it will offer the naturally occurring 5.0-liter V8, which we know and love from the IS F retired in 2014 and the RC F.