Underwhelmed by the facelifted C, imminent Three, tweaked A4 or future 159? The next-generation IS series from Lexus has just been unveiled at the Geneva Show – and it should be launched in South Africa during 2006.

Underwhelmed by the facelifted C, imminent Three, tweaked A4 or future 159? The next-generation IS series from Lexus has just been unveiled at the Geneva Show – and it should be launched in South Africa during 2006.


After teasing automotive enthusiasts with concepts like the LF-A (which was the first to offer clues to what the successor to Lexus’ compact range would look like) and LFS (shown at last year’s Auto Africa Expo at Nasrec), the new IS can be regarded as the second production model created under Lexus’ L-Finesse design philosophy and will be crucial to the brand’s objective to achieve a three to four-fold increase in sales on the European market.


As can be seen in the pictures in the adjacent gallery, the next generation IS has sweeping lines that combine with convex and concave body surfacing. It can be argued that the new IS looks more like a performance-oriented-but-nonetheless-elegant executive saloon than its sporty, compact predecessor.


The new Lexus is 90 mm longer and 75 mm wider than the current car. Its wide track and prominent wheel arches combine with short front and rear overhangs and the front-end styling is characterised by twin-barrel headlamp clusters that are positioned on a higher plane than the Lexus’ vertically-latticed grille.


Splayed rear wheel arches taper into a short rear overhang at the back of the car, which, complete with trapezoidal LED light clusters, might compel Honda’s designers to start from scratch when the next incarnation of the Accord is penned.


The interior of the new IS range is all-new, of course. The cabin has numerous aluminium-look highlights and door panel surfaces flow seamlessly into the dashboard, culminating in the protruding instrument binnacle - the focal point of the IS cabin.


The new steering wheel has a redesigned rim cross-section for added comfort, and the gearshift paddles are mounted directly on the wheel. In addition, the rear seat legroom has been significantly improved through the addition of 60 mm to the wheelbase, increasing the distance between front and rear passengers to what the marque’s spokesmen claim is “the highest in the segment”.


The new IS will be equipped with a Smart Keyless Entry system. With the key in his or her possession, the driver has only to touch the inner side of the door handle to unlock all four doors and start the engine via a fascia-located start/stop button.

Original article from Car


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