The segment of luxury sedans compact is more popular than ever, and here is a category where all players must be impeccable. Among Japanese luxury carmakers, Lexus is the closest brand to German manufacturers.
The 2017 version of the IS represents a mid-cycle refresh for the current generation, and at first glance, one immediately notices that the front has been redesigned, as have some elements at the rear. Inside, little change in the layout of the cockpit, except that a large 10-inch horizontal screen is now available on some versions, while the seats have been revised, and they are super comfortable .
Mechanically, the calibration of the suspensions and the chassis was revised to obtain a more sporty behavior. The engines remain the same. At the base, we have the IS 200t, powered only, where the four-cylinder turbocharged engine provides 241 horsepower, coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The IS 300 and IS 350 versions, all-wheel drive, use a 3.5-liter V6 producing respectively 255 and 306 horsepower, coupled with a six-speed gearbox.
On the road, the IS, no matter the version, offers the comfort of a luxury car, and the sportiness that is expected of this category. However, Lexus is confident about its product, and during the launch of the IS 2017, we spent half our time on a very technical circuit on Vancouver Island.
On track, the IS 200t version has to deal with too many electronic systems and an imprecise direction, constantly giving us the impression of fighting with the car. In addition, its engine lacks force, while the eight-speed gearbox changes gears without the driver\’s consent, even in manual mode.
The version IS 300 AWD appreciates a little more the track, but still there, its 255 horses are not sufficient to compensate the additional weight of the integral gear train. However, the six-speed automatic is behaving better than the IS 200t, especially in manual mode! The IS 350 AWD version saves the bet, but barely. The 306 horses are welcome, especially at the end of the turn, and we must salute the work of the integral system which allows us to accelerate aggressively even when cornering.
So this is what to remember about the IS 2017. On the road, it is a comfortable car, carefree, and refined. But hey, why talk about the track, when almost all buyers in this segment will not make track with their luxury compact? If you were thinking of buying this model, go ahead and enjoy it.