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Now in its 3rd-generation, the 2014 Lexus IS comes to market with a compelling new design, improved handling and more interior space. In addition, Lexus' revamped infotainment platform makes its debut in the 2014 IS. Also, a manual transmission is no longer available.
With an all-new model due out next year, the Lexus IS has only a few upgrades for 2013. IS models equipped with navigation now include Lexus' latest Enform infotainment system with automatic phonebook downloading via Bluetooth and HD Radio with iTunes Tagging. Additionally, the IS250's optional 6-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.
Having received several upgrades in 2011, including revised front and rear styling, minor interior updates, the addition of an all-wheel-drive option to the IS 350 and an F Sport package for both IS 250 and IS 350, Lexus gives it a rest in 2012. There are two new colors in 2012.
Both the IS 250 and 350 receive a slight exterior freshening, touting new front and rear bumpers, grille and tail light clusters. Interior changes include folding rear headrests, new interior colors and new seat and door panel sew patterns. The IS 250 gains Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM) as standard equipment, while all IS sedans receive improved suspension and steering tuning.
Both the IS 250 and IS 350 carry forward with only minor cosmetic detail enhancements. The sole change of note is that the IS 250 AWD's previously standard semi-aniline heated and ventilated leather seats are now optional, and are replaced by the baseline heated leather units that are fitted to the rear-drive models.
Fresh from a complete transformation in 2006, the sporty and affordable Lexus IS touts an aggressive look, a more responsive chassis and a choice between two potent six-cylinder engines. With its increased interior volume the rear-wheel-drive IS is now better situated to compete with the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35 and Audi A4. While some purists will grumble about the availability of a manual transmission and all-wheel drive only on the less-powerful IS 250, the IS 350's 5.6-second zero to 60-mph time and advanced VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) stability system should go a long way toward pleasing most. The availability of such uncommon options as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) place the IS a step above the competition.