As the calendar moves inexorably towards autumn, the traditional September and October launch dates for the next model year's cars rapidly approach. Members of this community, naturally, are quite intrigued about what the new model year will bring in the way of variations to the 2nd-generation Lexus IS. As our previous Front Page story informs us,
Lexus has placed the Lexus IS (along with its rear-wheel-drive GS and LS big brothers) on a six-year cycle between major, new-generation debuts, with a freshening (minor front and rear end changes, primarily) in the middle of that cycle. Thus, given its 2006 model year debut, the 2009 model year Lexus IS will see those changes that, while minor, are still the most significant the 2nd-generation IS has seen since its debut (other than the IS F's premiere, of course).
To date, the only official word from Lexus has been in a Vehicle Watch
box that appears on Page 16 of the Quarter Three 2008 issue of Lexus magazine.
Although primarily focusing on and picturing the 2009 Lexus SC Pebble Beach Edition, it also says this about the 2009 Lexus IS: "Also arriving soon: updates for the Lexus IS. Think turn signals in the side mirrors, a new front grille, 17-and 18-inch wheels, and fresh color options, plus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) in the IS 250. Look for the 2009 IS in dealerships this September." A search of the Internet, however, reveals more information. Canadian Club Lexus
member Mr.JPG posted not one
, but two PDF charts
(three, actually) listing the changes for the Canadian market. Building upon this information, Kevin RE Watts, who, under the krew screen name is the author of the excellent The Passionate Pursuit
Lexus fan blog, has written an article that expands on Lexus' officially-revealed changes
and informs us that we should also expect to see new front & rear bumpers; a wallet Smart Key standard on IS 350 and optional on IS 250; Truffle Mica (a deep brown/black) replacing the Desert Sage Metallic green shade that, seemingly, only 2nd-generation Lexus IS Chief Engineer Suguya Fukusato and a handful of other people really liked; and Dark Grey replacing Auburn as the colo(u)r of the available bird's eye maple woodgrain trim.
Intriguingly, Car and Driver magazine
suggests that the 2009 model year changes to the Lexus IS will go beyond the mostly cosmetic. As they inform us: "Both the IS250 and 350 undergo a minor restyling, and interior enhancements include a revised instrument-panel center cluster. For those craving more substance with their style, the cars have retuned suspension and steering for a sportier feel. The most powerful of IS models, the IS F, forgoes the exterior and chassis revisions but gets a modified instrument panel. A new coupe version of the IS is expected in 2009." Anything that will make the IS sportier and a stronger competitor in the entry-luxury sedan class against stalwart rivals such as the BMW 3-Series, Infiniti G37, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 certainly has our support. We are less supportive, however, of Lexus' decision not to use this opportunity to launch a 3GR-FSE, 245 hp, 3-liter V6-powered 2nd-generation IS 300 for North America, Japan and Europe.
The fact that Lexus registered the IS 300C trademark for its upcoming 2-door IS
, however, gives us some hope.
New my.IS member nyjinwoo
, in his very first post, found a link to an Asian website
(it is unclear to this author whether it's Japanese or South Korean) that contains multiple artist's renderings of what the facelifted '09 Lexus IS will look like and posted this on a 2nd-Gen IS250/IS350 General Discussion Forum thread.
The front end shot (which appears at the top of our story) shows that the grille, while maintaining the vertical bar motif, has fewer, thicker and more spread-out bars. The most obvious exterior change shown in these illustrations is to the taillight inserts (see picture at right), with much-enlarged back-up lights which, in the right-side taillight, echo the shape of the "L" portion of the Lexus logo and, for the left-side taillight, wind up looking like a flopped mirror-image of this. We are not vouching for the accuracy of these renderings, and it must be noted that their interior renderings feature Auburn wood trim, contradicting the previous information that it would be replaced by Dark Gray wood. Then again, it is within the realm of possibility that North America will get Dark Gray wood while the Japanese Domestic Market will continue to offer Auburn wood, or that, as with the Lexus GS, the wood colo(u)r will vary according to the interior/seat colo(u)r. On balance, we felt they were interesting and important enough to share at this point, while acknowledging that they may not be a 100% accurate depiction of what is to come.
We also need to thank my.IS member Troubled Spirits
(who just happens to be this author's son) for his technical help in downloading and cropping the renderings that accompany this article.