The Lexus IS benefits from more attractive exterior styling for 2021, but its powertrains remain the same as before and the chassis and interior are only tweaked slightly. Lexus is reorganizing the somewhat confusing lineup to go with this update: it still includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V-6 in two different states of tune, but the trim levels are rearranged, with the most powerful IS350 (pictured) coming standard with the F Sport package and the lower-powered IS300 models not offering that upgrade at all anymore.
The base rear-wheel drive IS300 now starts at $40,025, a $440 increase, and comes with a 241-hp turbo-four. All-wheel drive is a $2000 option, but the IS300 AWD has an entirely different engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 with 260 hp.
The IS350 has a 311-hp version of that same V-6 and now comes standard with the previously optional F Sport upgrades, meaning its base price of $43,925 is $2475 lower than last year’s IS350 F Sport. AWD is also a $2000 option for the IS350 F Sport. To add to the complexity, rear-wheel-drive IS300 and IS350 models have an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive IS models have a six-speed automatic.
If you can decipher all this and decide which 2021 IS model is for you, Lexus says the updated sedan will start arriving at dealerships in October.