2021 Lexus IS: Take a Virtual Tour

The model arrives later this year, but you can explore it now via augmented reality

Posted: Jul 2, 2020

As you look ahead to spending more time on the road for pleasure, here’s another sign that the Lexus driving life is moving forward—one of the first 2021 Lexus models, the updated Lexus IS, has debuted.

It’s expected to arrive in dealerships this fall, but you can tour it now via Lexus AR Play, an immersive augmented reality app designed for exploring the vehicle through a smartphone or tablet (it’s available for download for iOS and Android devices in the App Store®* and Google Play™ store*).

Here are a few things to look for in the new model, either via Lexus AR Play or an in-person test drive (whenever you’re ready later this year):

First things first—the 2021 model adds five new color options: Lexus AR Play allows you to try out different color options*, so this is a fun vehicle feature to explore. For 2021, the model offers five additions: Iridium, Cloudburst Gray, Matador Red Mica, Infrared*, and Grecian Water (and the vehicle still comes in Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, Atomic Silver, Caviar, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0*).

And then there’s the impressive tech lineup: The 2021 Lexus IS gives drivers a standard 8-inch touchscreen that’s been positioned a few inches closer to the driver for convenient access. There’s also an optional 10.3-inch touchscreen that’s available with the optional navigation system.* Plus, the 2021 IS offers an updated multimedia system that includes Amazon Alexa integration*, Apple* CarPlay® compatibility*, and Android Auto™ compatibility.*

There’s also an enhanced sound system: When the vehicle arrives in dealerships this fall, we highly recommend trying out its optional Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System.* The system delivers an intense surround-sound experience, and it includes a long list of technical features designed to help eliminate interference and maximize sound quality for all passengers regardless of their cabin location.

Notice the revised look: One thing you’ll notice when touring the model via Lexus AR Play is that the vehicle is a little wider and lower to the ground. This is both a performance-minded feature (it lowers the center of gravity to help improve agility) and a design feature that heightens the vehicle’s aggressive, athletic look. Other design updates include new side rocker panels and a blade-style light bar that spans the rear of the vehicle.

Here’s something you’ll feel—this model benefited from Lexus’ new test track: The 2021 Lexus IS is one of the first vehicles to be fine-tuned on Lexus’ new research and development circuit in Shimoyama, Japan. This 3.3-mile course, inspired by the storied Nürburgring circuit in Germany (where Lexus developed such vehicles as the LFA supercar), is now being used to develop an ideal driving feel—or “signature”—for Lexus models, thanks to the track’s array of curves, corners, elevation changes, and road surfaces.

The IS now more rigid to help enhance agility: Rigidity in a performance vehicle is a good thing. The more a vehicle can resist bending and twisting when subjected to the laws of physics, the better it responds to steering input and eliminates vibrations for smooth handling. For the 2021 IS, engineers focused on increasing the model’s stiffness, such as reinforcing the radiator side supports, increasing weld points near the front end, and adopting the LFA supercar’s strong-but-light hub bolt design.

The F SPORT version comes with striking enhancements: For 2021, the IS F SPORT is an option for the IS 350. Many of the special F SPORT features are both visual and performance-oriented, such as a unique front bumper with aerodynamic enhancements, a rear lip spoiler, and a grille-bottom air intake that collects air flow to help cool the brakes (a feature inspired by the Lexus RC F). Inside the vehicle are unique design features that include special F SPORT front seats, and the vehicle also comes with a Dynamic Handling Package—performance enhancements that include an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and 19-inch* forged alloy BBS wheels finished in matte black.

By Brian Gill