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Lexus’ alternative to the highway-cruising, track-pounding executive sedans of Europe never enjoyed the champagne showers of its Bavarian brethren. Yet, its proper aggressiveness for the segment through its muscular fenders and slender lightning signatures make the Lexus IS a superb choice.

For 2023, the Lexus IS 500 gains a glitzy orange paint color, and the IS 350 gets its own two-tone appearance package. F SPORT variants have brand-new handling packages and other improved visual and performance cues. If attention is to be paid to Lexus’ midsize sport sedan, all eyes are on the IS this year.

2023 Lexus IS performance figures

A 2023 IS 500 FSPORT in Cloudburst Gray driving
2023 IS 500 FSPORT Cloudburst Gray | Lexus

In its base form, the 2023 Lexus IS 300 will provide 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It cleverly boasts a Variable Valve Timing intelligent–Wide (VVTi-W) system, trading Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles for efficiency. Lexus says power is driven to the rear wheels through a G-force Artificial Intelligence-laden eight-speed automatic transmission for optimum gear selection.

Those wanting all-wheel drive (AWD) must opt for the 260 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Lexus’ AWD maintains a 30:70 front-to-rear torque split but sends 50 percent to the front wheels in certain conditions. More grunt comes with the IS 350 F SPORT, which increases power figures to 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

For passionate drivers, however, look no further than the naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 in the IS 500 F SPORT. Under the exclusive raised hood lives old-school performance measured to the tune of 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. Power is put through the rear wheels—in front of the dual-stacked tailpipes—using the eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SDS) transmission.

2023 Lexus IS trim levels and prices

A 2023 IS 500 FSPORT Infrared driving
2023 IS 500 FSPORT Infrared | Lexus

With standard Nuluxe leather-alternative trimmings, all Lexus IS models come luxuriously appointed. Power front seats grace all trim levels with dual-zone climate control and a power moonroof. The base IS 300 gets an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display, with a 10.3-inch unit in more expensive trim levels. Yet, with the extra money comes extra tuneage with a 17-speaker premium surround sound system. 

Per Lexus, the IS lineup will hit showrooms with the following estimated prices.

  • IS 300: $40,585
  • IS 300 AWD: $42,585
  • IS 350 F SPORT Design: $43,660 (RWD), $45,660 (AWD)
  • IS 350 F SPORT: $44,910 (RWD), $46,910 (AWD)
  • IS 500 F SPORT Performance: $58,270
  • IS 500 F SPORT Performance Premium: $62,770

2023 Lexus IS safety features

Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Lexus IS a Top Safety Pick+. While the institute hasn’t released its test for the 2023 model, it’s likely to prove a near-perfect safety pick again. Nevertheless, Lexus is putting even more safety tech in the latest version of the IS.

New for 2023 is the standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, providing a suite of active safety features. Available on all trim levels, the tech set will ensure drivers are protected from unwanted distractions. Its intelligent All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) can perform vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls to a stop, then resume speed. Additionally, DRCC can smoothly overtake vehicles by engaging the turn signal.

Further features for the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Emergency Steering Assist (ESA)
  • Frontal Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Pre-Collision System (PCS) with pedestrian and bicyclist detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA)
  • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
  • Intelligent High Beams
  • Road Sign Assist (RSA)

When is the 2023 Lexus IS available?

Lexus says the refurbished IS lineup will arrive on dealer lots this fall. Only 150 units of the Molten Pearl orange IS 500 paired with 19-inch matte-black BBS wheels will be built. Moreover, only 450 examples of the Incognito gray IS 350 with an Obsidian Black hood and roof will be sold.

The Lexus IS will put wind in your step for those wanting a breath of fresh air in the performance sedan segment. Since V8s are a fading breed these days, picking one up in a limited paint scheme isn’t a bad idea for future classic prospects.


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