Next-generation Lexus IS will feature new chassis technology

Underneath this test mule purporting to be a convertible Lexus IS-F is actually the next-generation version of the firm’s new IS, due on sale next year.

Lexus has confirmed that an IS-F cabrio is not in the current product plan, and the car was acting as a test mule for another model.

US media who saw the mule up close at its test session at the Nürburgring last week report that there were a number of clues that gave away its identity. Chief among these were the aluminium lower control arms of the test car’s rear suspension. The current IS and IS-F use steel. The new GS, on which the next-gen IS will be substantially based, uses aluminium for the multi-link rear suspension and has the option of rear-wheel steer.

The next-gen IS and the current GS are understood to have been developed largely in parallel, so expect many of the innovations of Lexus’s latest 5-series rival to carry over to the smaller model.

Lexus’s former product planning chief, Karl Schlicht, said earlier this year: “The new GS leads to the new IS.”

Features of the new IS are expected to include a stiffer bodyshell, multi-link front suspension, wider tracks and a new look designed to give Lexus’s small saloon greater visual presence.

Don’t expect four-cylinder diesel power to make it into the new IS, however, as Lexus is adamant that hybrids offer similar benefits. The firm is known to be working on a new four-cylinder petrol-electric powertrain that could appear first in the IS.

Our Verdict

Lexus IS 2005-2013

The Lexus IS is a sleek junior exec that makes for an interesting alternative but lacks a decent diesel option

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27 July 2012

I always liked the idea of a Lexus IS. Nice V6, rear drive, etc, but then they withdrew the manual here (you could still buy them in the states! and we never got the IS350 either).

The new GS is said to drive very well, so if the smaller brother shares much of the running gear things look good (except i doubt we will see the return of the manual box, but i can hope).

A hybrid version instead of a diesel is brave, but it is the lexus way. i hope they use a V6 instead of a 4 pot though

27 July 2012

That looks really, really good. I would have one.

27 July 2012

Without a good diesel, it will not sell to the UK fleet market and will continue to be massively outsold by its superior German rivals.

27 July 2012

Gonna need to run on the black stuff Lexus... Sort it out please?!

28 July 2012

I think we might see a BMW diesel in the IS in a few years

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