- Automotive Makes & Models
Lexus IS: Taking the Car World By Storm
Japanese cars have come a long way in America, ever since its humble beginnings. One luxury Japanese brand that comes to mind is the Lexus, which has grown into one of the most popular companies that provide luxury vehicles in the United States. Lexus has become one of the most popular names in the car industry. One notable Lexus flagship model is the Lexus IS (Intelligent Sport), which grew exponentially in popularity ever since its inception in 1998 and remained at the top of the list.
The Lexus IS was produced in 1998 as an entry level luxury sedan to directly compete with European and American luxury sedans. The IS was originally sold under the name "Altezza" which is a pretty regal Italian name that denotes royalty. You may still hear the Altezza name thrown around in the present, referring to the iconic chrome taillights that the first generation IS will be forever known for.
The initial Lexus IS from 1998-2005 and spans nearly a decade long. The first generation Lexus IS had styling cues and interior design that wasn't seen on other vehicles at the time. The chrome metal ball shifter and the pop-up navigation screen was really a one-of-a-kind and not seen on other cars. Of course nowadays in the present, there are plenty of cars that come with a pop-up navigation as you rarely see newer model vehicles that don't have the navigation screen sticking out of the dash. The chrome shifter is something that can be seen on a lot of present import vehicles as well. The European model first generation IS actually had HID headlamps, which was something that was hardly ever seen since majority of cars still had stock halogen headlamps. One of the most highly praised stylistic features was the chronograph instrument panel that was reminiscent of the maritime style.
The second generation Lexus IS completely took the auto industry by storm with a whole new facelift and complete style change. The new second gen IS completely blew up the sales for the IS line and increased the sales volume to make it one of the best selling entry level luxury vehicles in its class. As always, Lexus focuses on the interior of the cabin, taking into account all the luxury features to make traveling more comfortable for all occupants. Some of the notable interior features include memory leather seats, light-saber instrument display, and LED interior accents. The push start button and keyless entry make it especially convenient for drivers and was a specialty of its time.
The current and third generation Lexus IS received a full exterior and interior redesign, with an aggressive front combined with an ultra luxurious interior. The new Lexus IS got the Lexus spindle grille treatment, with a fearless looking front fascia with the L-shaped LED daytime running lights. The 12.3 inch LCD display screen provide all of the necessary vehicle traffic, weather, navigation, and entertainment display, giving the user full access right at the fingertips.
A special upgrade that Lexus IS owners can opt for is the F-sport, which has increased handling and performance, with an even more aggressive styling that is quite the step-up from the base model IS. The front grille is a specially designed F-sport front grille, coupled with F-sport logo badges and graphite wheels. The carbon fiber trim, extra bolstered racing seats, gauge cluster are all stylistic interior features that are seen on the F-sport version only. The only difference between the US Lexus IS F-sport and the Japanese F-Sport is the lack of fog lights. The Japanese model boasts a set of LED fog lights that is simply not seen on the United States model. Fortunately, for drivers who feel that the missing fog lights is a bit lackluster, there is an aftermarket option that direct fits into the opening on the lower bumper that the factory fog lights would otherwise have resided. Drivers only need to install these aftermarket Lexus F-Sport LED fog lights and they would have the look specific to the Japanese Domestic Market.
The Lexus IS has definitely come up from its more humble beginnings into one of the most popular vehicles seen on the road today. It's no wonder that the IS250/IS350 is one of the most recognized vehicles with one of the most avid fan followings to date.