Lexus Malaysia has just teased the 2017 Lexus IS facelift on their website with the header “COMING SOON”. To tie in with the imminent launch of the flagship LC Coupe (reportedly in the second quarter of this year), the IS may come sooner than most of us expected.

This facelift exercise introduced minor tweaks to the compact sedan’s aesthetics, such as a more aggressive front bumper with larger side intakes, horizontal bar grille as well as redesigned LED headlamps and tail lamps. New 17- or 18-inch alloys complete the IS’s exterior packaging.

As standard, the IS facelift is fitted with a 10-speaker 283-watts Lexus Premium Sound System and a 7-inch touch MMI screen with Remote Touch Interface controller with “Enter Button”. Alternatively, a 15-speaker 835-watts Mark Levinson® sound system and a 10.3-inch MMI screen with navigation are available as options.

There are three interior colour themes to choose from – Chateau and Nuance Black while the Black/Flaxen trim is carried over from the pre-facelift. It remains to be seen how Lexus Malaysia will spec our local IS, but we bet it’s going to have most, if not all of the optional extras checked.

Three powertrain choices – unchanged from before – are available on the Japan-spec IS: IS 200t, IS 300h and IS 350. The base IS 200t is powered by a 2.0-litre longitudinally mounted four-cylinder turbo mated to an eight-speed Sports Direct Shift (SDS) automatic, pushing out 241 hp and 350 Nm.

On the other hand, the IS 300h is powered by the Lexus Hybrid Drive System, combining a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol pushing out 178 hp and 221 Nm with an electric motor generating 105kW (140 hp) and 300 Nm of torque. Transmission of choice for the hybrid is an electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT).

Lastly, sitting at the top of the IS range (in Japan) is the IS 350 which is powered by a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 mated to the same eight-speed SDS automatic. Output figures are rated at 314 hp and 380 Nm. It’s safe to assume that Lexus Malaysia will offer both the IS 200t and IS 300h from before and won’t introduce the IS 350.

As standard, all IS models get Lexus Safety System+ as standard, which adds a range of active safety systems such as Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam and Hi-Speed Adaptive Cruise Control.

Expect Lexus Malaysia to throw in an F Sport package to the range. This will give it a meshed front grille with black accents on the front bumper, twin projector LED headlamps, 18-inch gunmetal grey F-Sport design, rear bumper mesh inserts, F-Sport badges, F-Sport interior trim pieces and a LFA-styled Optitron instrument display.

Currently, the pre-facelift IS range retails from RM298k for the IS 200t Premium, and stretches all the way to RM452k for the range topping IS 300h. With the weakening of our Ringgit, how the new IS will be priced is anyone’s guess for now.


Lexus IS F Sport

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Adrian Chia
He believes that the perfect remedy to Monday blues is a mixture of 4 wheels, clear roads and a pinch of twisty tarmac. A hot hatch is the icing on the cake.