2013 Lexus IS: sharper premium sedan hits the road

The all-new Lexus IS has been spotted testing in Europe ahead of the third-generation premium mid-sized sedan's launch in 2013.
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The new Lexus IS can't come soon enough for the Japanese manufacturer, which is struggling to keep pace with German rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz with the second-generation model that is now more than seven years old.

As our spy images reveal, the 2013 Lexus IS will take inspiration from the Lexus LF-CC coupe concept that debuted at September’s 2012 Paris motor show.

The new Lexus IS is expected to boast the most aggressive version of the brand’s new signature ‘spindle’ grille, as well as a set of piercing headlights and sharp LED tail-lights.

Despite the psychedelic camouflage, Lexus couldn’t disguise the new model’s sporty upturned side skirts, which add extra theatre to the car’s sleek profile.

Underpinned by a shortened version of the new Lexus GS platform, the new IS is expected to grow slightly over the outgoing model and shed some kilograms in the pursuit of improved efficiency and dynamic ability.

The front and rear overhangs of the new model appear shorter than those of the second-generation, while a more heavily raked rear windscreen enhances the coupe-style appearance.

Lexus is expected to launch replacements for the IS250 and IS350 early in 2013, and is also poised to introduce a hybrid variant to the line-up for the first time.

Lexus Australia CEO Tony Cramb confirmed at last month's Sydney motor show that the IS hybrid is on the local division’s wish list, and it appears a good bet to join the rest of the line-up on our shores during 2013.

A high-performance Lexus IS F variant is tipped to follow in 2014, while coupe and convertible variants are also believed to be on the way.

Sales of the Lexus IS (sedan and convertible) are down 18.8 per cent across Australia so far this year, with 1777 units delivered in the first nine months of the year.

Looking purely at sedan sales, the IS (at 1610 units) trails a long way behind the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (4596), BMW 3 Series (3845) and the Audi A4 (2170).