The All-New Lexus IS Is Boldly Designed to Thrill

Lexus & Sharp

“Genchi Genbutsu” is probably not part of your vocabulary – it’s Japanese for “go and see” – but it’s a practice used every day by Lexus designers and engineers. For them, and, indeed, for us too, the best way to be creative or solve problems is to go and see for yourself, to be hands on and experience things firsthand.

Thanks to the miracle that is augmented reality, you can go and see the new 2021 Lexus IS from your couch, or wherever else you happen to be.

What you’ll see is bold design that is impossible to ignore; it’s design that is daring, fresh and free from vanishing trends. As a result, the new Lexus IS makes a statement, whether it’s just sitting in traffic, parked at the valet or out burning rubber on a racetrack. People will take notice.

The Lexus AR Play app (which you’ll find on Apple’s App Store and Google Play) lets you check out an interactive 3D model of the new sport sedan in real space. Just like you would with the real thing, you can walk around it, pop the trunk and open the doors. You can even do things you couldn’t do with the actual car, like see 3D cutaways and change the paint colour in real time.

Photos can’t do justice to the new IS, but in augmented reality you can appreciate the attention-grabbing design work that has gone into making the new IS stand out in a sea of sameness.

As it is on any bold design meant to perform at a high level, nothing is extraneous. Think: a Louis Vuitton trunk, the OG Yeezy sneakers, a Panerai dive watch, or one of the awe-inspiring vacation homes by the Toronto/Halifax-based firm Omar Gandhi Architect.

Lexus IS

What each of those items has in common is a level of human-centered design. At Lexus, it’s a core philosophy employed by designers in everything from the new IS, to the magnificent Lexus LY 650 yacht, to the award-winning “Loft” lounge at Brussels Airport designed by Lexus and Brussels Airlines.

Moving around the car, you can see the carefully controlled reflections coming off its crisp edges and sculpted forms. The new spindle grille is an intricate, three-dimensional piece that required six different cutting tools just to create its mold; it looks more like something from the Museum of Modern Art than a car part. Note also the sharp lines carved into the side and shoulder of the new IS. It might as well have been hewn from solid marble. And, the razor-like L-shape signature lights mean the IS stands out even when seen in the dark.

The new shape is a true original, unlike anything else on the road. It’s deliberately provocative, meant to evoke an athlete’s silhouette. The car is slightly wider than before, with a low stance and muscular fenders wrapped around larger available 19-inch BBS alloys and wider tires. The more you look, the more you realize that – like the fenders – every piece of the design serves a purpose.

That philosophy is especially evident inside the new IS even in details you might not even notice, such as the new 10.3-inch touchscreen option that’s moved slightly closer to the driver and the Silver Wood detailing exclusive to IS 350’s F SPORT Model 3. We are, however, quite sure you will immediately notice the Ultra Luxury Package’s Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System, which now has more speakers – 17 in total – and 1,800 watts of hi-fi power.

That killer Levinson stereo is, unfortunately, one thing you cannot experience from the Lexus AR Play app. In that case, you really do need to Genchi Genbutsu.