The Lexus IS has come a long way and it’s now an iconic vehicle for the brand. The reason for the vehicle is for a cheaper alternative to the German contingent and it has had its fair share of success over the years. In this article, we will be looking at the Lexus IS has fared over the years. The IS was introduced as an entry-level sport model positioned below the ES in the Lexus lineup.
First Generation (1998 – 2005)
The first generation made its debut in 1998 as a 1999 model. It was first known as the Toyota Altezza because it was sold in Japan before going international as a Lexus. The aim was to compete with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class. It won the hearts of people and it was the smallest Lexus to offer Rear-Wheel-Drive (it still is). Power was gotten from a 2.0-litre both in 4 and 6-cylinder guises and a 3.0-litre inline-6. It is mated with a 5-speed (manual or auto), a 6-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic. In 2000, a 5-door variant was launched and it was kinda a disaster and it had poor sales.
Second Generation (2006-2013)
This generation model was a total improvement from the first as it’s design mimics the brand philosophy at that time. The sedan’s exterior design featured sleeker, coupé-like contours, a fastback profile, and a repeated arrowhead motif in the front fascia and side windows. Lexus took this generation of the IS further by adding a convertible version and a high-performance version called the F. The IS F is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 and it competes with the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63. Other engines in the line up comprise of 3 V6 engines with a displacement of 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 litres respectively. This second-generation model is the most popular among all the IS in Nigeria. The convertible like the 5-door of the previous generation also had poor sales and it was discontinued in 2014.
Third Generation (2013-Present)
Well, the third generation model had so many similarities with the second as they share things in common. All the engines were carried over with the addition of a hybrid powerplant and a new twin-turbo V6 (2021). The coupe version was called the RC and it was radical in design and style just like the sedan. Lexus decided to name the coupe RC so that it will distinguish it from the IS. This worked as the RC has some styling gotten from the GS sedan giving the RC its own identity. The RC also retains the V8 F guise while the IS dropped it and just went with F-Sport. The third-generation IS was restyled twice, first in 2016 and the current 2021 model was heavily restyled. Information about the 2021 IS can be seen HERE.