Lexus' compact sports sedan gets a major upgrade as the automaker recently introduced the 2016 IS with new variants and additional extras which 'will continue to delight drivers with luxury, agility and sportiness.

Superficially, the 2016 IS retains the exterior design of the 2015 IS as Lexus only focused on providing new powertrain options and extras. Still seen at the front is the brand's distinct spindle grill and sharp headlights while the rear still gets the angular taillight cluster.

image alt

First up is the IS 200t annnounced by Lexus last month. Under the hood resides a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four that pumps out 245 PS and 350 Nm of torque to the rear wheels. Mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, it can go from 0 – 100km/h in 7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 230 km/h.

Other features of the NX 200t-derived engine include water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and Variable Valve Timing Intelligent – Wide (VVTi-W).

The IS 250 and IS 250 AWD models are now discontinued and have been replaced by the new IS 300 AWD. It is powered by a detuned version of the 3.5-liter V6 that outputs 258 PS along with 319 Nm of torque. Power is then transferred to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.

image alt

The IS 350 has been carried over and is still powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 306 PS and 375 Nm of torque. It is still paired with an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic gearbox and can be had in either RWD or AWD.

As a way to keep the IS updated and meet current safety and luxury standards, Lexus added new features inside the cabin along with a revised chassis.

image alt

Cabin revisions for the IS include: LFA-inspired driver-focused cockpit with bigger rear legroom and luggage capacity, quilted driver's seat, five available interior colors, Luxury Package, Mark Levinson Surround Sound System, and the Premium Plus Package which adds a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers.

As for the chassis, Lexus improved overall body rigidity by using laser screw welding and adhesive body bonding. Better handling and improved steering response was made possible by a new rear sub frame and cowl side braces.