Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lexus IS gets sexier to compete in 2014

The 2014 Lexus IS comes out looking more stylish, appearing more in line with the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi models with which it hopes to compete. Engine upgrades, revised suspension, and a lengthened wheel base all add to the equation, making the 2014 Lexus IS 250 and 350 sports sedans competitive options in the luxury sedan market. The 2014 Lexus IS has a starting price of $35,950.
The Lexus IS is in its third generation with the 2014 model, adding the new "spindle grille" to its design vocabulary.
In a German led design era that sees BMW making controversial styling choices on its ever popular 3 Series, and both it, and Mercedes-Benz, debuted so-called coupe sedans, Lexus faced the the threat of its offerings becoming impossibly drab.
Into this hotly contested luxury car design competition comes the new IS 250 and 350 sports sedans. Each comes with the new love it or hate it "spindle grille," one that extends down into an area of the nose of the car where the bumper would traditionally appear. This style of grille, though evocative of a similar choice made in late model Audi designs, is executed differently enough on the whole to avoid any charge of copycatting.
The 2014 IS represents the third generation of the series and it is evident in the details that Toyota has thrown a lot of technological know-how into it. To increase the dynamism of the IS, the structural rigidity of its chassis and body panels had to be increased. Through the use of more spot welds, advanced adhesive bonding of the body, and a new assembly technique called laser screw welding, the IS was made into a far more rigid platform for an all new multilink rear suspension, a revised front suspension design, and a steering geometry package derived from the larger GS sedan.
The IS 250 is powered by a 2.5L V-6 making 204 horsepower. This engine is mated to a six speed sequential manual shift electronically controlled transmission.
Inside, the 2014 IS benefits from a lengthened wheelbase, offering a better position for the driver as well as upping head- and legroom throughout.
The jewel of the line is the IS 350, which gets a 3.5L V-6 with direct and port fuel injection. This engine produces 306 hp. The IS 350 now features the eight speed, Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission from the IS F model of yore. This transmission comes equipped with paddle shifters and a G-force sensing system which selects the best gearing and downshift choices automatically when sensing the heightened pull of gravity. The IS 350 F Sport model also carries forward with an extra "S+" shifting map for the transmission.
Available for either IS model is an electronic all weather drive system designed to automatically vary the torque balance from 50:50 to as much as 30:70 front to rear, depending on available traction detected. Every AWD model also features a "snow" setting to mitigate wheel slippage on launch.
Every IS now has a lengthened wheelbase which has improved the driver's seating position and available headroom. Ingress and egress to all four doors has been improved, and the rear passengers enjoy 1.6 inches of increased legroom. Finally, the capacity of the trunk been increased as well, a byproduct of the new rear suspension, which intrudes less into the space than it did before.
With the bold IS 250 and 350, Lexus is declaring its intent to compete with its Germanic rivals not only on engineering terms, but with some edgier styling too.