A Peek at the 2021 Lexus IS Shows Us That Fun Sedans Are Not Dead

2021 Lexus Is

I love my SUV but sometimes I just need to drive.

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that sometimes you just need to get out and drive. 

And for that you need a car that is built for driving. For rolling up the windows and singing out loud. For taking the long way to the farmers market because there’s a beautifully winding to get you there. 

So it’s with some joy that we can report that Lexus has announced that the IS sedan will get makeover rather than a retirement date. Yay! 

Related: 2020 Lexus LC 500: Luxury and Style Elevate Your Life

2021 Lexus Is

Rear end of the Lexus IS 350 F Sport ? Lexus

Let me share a little transparency: the Lexus IS is a car that steals my heart. It’s small enough to be fun to drive, but has 4 doors so you can take the kids and the dog. I love a two-door coupé because it’s a car that size fits like a glove, but I hate their often larger doors, a necessity if it has a rear seat. They can be a struggle to close from the driver’s seat, nick the car next to you or even scrape the curb (ouchhhhh!!!). So, a 4 door sports sedan is my ride or die. (Ideally in a 6-speed manual but that’s a moot point for most cars these days.)

Related: You Spoke and Lexus Listened: How the Lexus RX 450 h Is More of What You Want

2021 Lexus Is

A look at the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport exterior ? Lexus

Love a Sports Sedan, too? You’re Not Alone 

Apparently, I’m not the only one to fall in love with a perfectly sized sports sedan. The Lexus IS is the model that made Toyota President Akio Toyoda fall in love with performance driving, both in Japan and at the more mettle-proving Nurburgring track in Germany. While Lexus makes some amazing performance cars — LC, anyone? — the size, the balanced power and the flexibility of space makes a car like the IS not only great for track driving but also, that trip to the farmer’s market.

Related: Exploring Global Dining at Intersect by Lexus

2021 Lexus Is

The interior of the new 2021 Lexus IS in the FSport trim ? Lexus

What’s New for 2021? 

Well, from the advance photos that Lexus shared that the IS takes on a distinct new muscular look – and it will stun you. It’s quite departure from the past which had been more of a right-sized version of other, larger Lexus sedans. The 2021 IS is distinct, with performance DNA showing on the outside as well as from the driver’s seat.

It starts with a wide-wheel stance and a broad-shouldered look that gives the IS a road-confident look. Rear tail lights span the trunk; the standard model has a turned-up trunk lid while the IS350 F Sport sports a carbon fiber spoiler for performance driving (part of the dynamic handling package). A new spindle grille, slim headlights and ‘L shape’ running lights update the signature Lexus look.

The standard model has new larger 18” wheels and there is a 19” wheel option. It also will have a stiffer, sportier suspension but be lighter and more agile. The F Sport trim will feature a 311 HP V6 engine, adaptive suspension and be available in both rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. The standard model, the IS300, will be offered in a RWD 4 cylinder turbo with 241 HP, though AWD will be available; AWD comes with a V6 with 260 horsepower.

The IS will carry the standard LSS+ safety features, which includes pre-emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control (for speeds over 30 MPH), lane departure alert and lane trace assist to keep you in your lane. 

And, it comes in 5 new colors including Grecian Waters —I can’t wait to see that one!— Matador Red Mica and Infrared, which is only available for F Sport models.

Related: Used 2017 Lexus IS 200t F Sport Compact Luxury Sedan Review

2021 Lexus Is

Those lights! Lexus calls the running light ‘L shaped’ but to us it looks more like a perfect winged eyeliner with a glow ? Lexus

The interior of the Lexus IS has been updated to include all the new tech features that Lexus has been rolling out in its updated models, including an infotainment screen that is both touch sensitive as well as touchpad controlled, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa (so, load your maps and playlists from Amazon in your kitchen as you make your coffee) a smart key and a Mark Levinson premium sound system option. So you can belt out your favorite songs to match the drive, whether on Mulholland Drive or just sitting in traffic on the 405.

The 2021 Lexus IS will make its way to dealerships in the fall of 2020. For more about the new Lexus IS check out this video.

2021 Lexus Is

The Lexus IS side by side, 2020 (left) and 2021 (right) ? Lexus

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss