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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.
New features for 2010 include an improved optional navigation system with Lexus' Enform Voice Command system, Safety Connect telematics and a new standard premium audio system with USB port and Bluetooth streaming music capability. The IS 250 AWD's optional Luxury Package gains ventilated front seats and semi-aniline leather.
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.
Lexus has long been known for its conservative approach towards automotive design. In recent years, however, the Japanese automaker has rejuvenated its product portfolio with some bold style. The new-for-2014 Lexus IS sedan represents the ultimate expression of Lexus design, and, at long last, poses a credible threat to European rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. Engine choices are largely carried over from the previous IS 250 and IS 350 models, which means middle-of-the-road fuel economy. Still, a higher degree of refinement combined with an exemplary reliability record make the 2014 Lexus IS a solid choice for an entry-level luxury sedan. Meanwhile, a retractable-hardtop convertible and the high-performance IS F – both essentially carried over from 2013 – add diversity to the lineup. That's why we named the IS one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.