Mark your calendars, Lexus fans, because the Japanese luxury brand officially plans to unveil its 2021 IS sports sedan on June 9. Lexus even sent out a teaser of the new car’s rear end prior to the reveal. Acura recently pulled a similar move with its 2021 TLX sedan, one of the IS’s competitors.
As Lexus’s shot shows, the new IS compact luxury sedan incorporates a full-width light bar tail lamp style cribbed from the UX crossover SUV. Despite its all-new uni-taillight, the rest of the car is fairly familiar—it reportedly sits atop the same platform used by the current model. There are improvements, of course, including a wider rear track, but the new IS won’t be “all-new,” just mostly new.
We expect the same four- and six-cylinder engines powering today’s IS to carry over to the new model—likely with small bumps in output. As such, entry-level models once again welcome a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder underhood, while a 3.5-liter V-6 remains an optional extra. Rumors continue to swirl that Lexus may shoehorn the Lexus LS 500’s 416-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 under the updated IS’s hood. Despite its performance bent, such a model will reputedly shun the F nomenclature that adorns the two-door RC F and four-door GS F, as well as the IS F of yore.
Although the IS’s reworked sheet metal (and handsome rear end) may manage to help Lexus keep its sports sedan somewhat fresh, its likely warmed-over mechanical bits will all-but assuredly prevent the model from properly competing with the segment’s most entertaining options, including the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Genesis G70. Still, we’re hopeful Lexus proves us wrong. Adding the LS’s twin-turbo V-6 engine to a hotter variant of the next IS might even manage to make up for the inherent disadvantages of its geriatric (and somewhat small-for-the-class) underpinnings. Regardless, we’ll know more on June 9.