Twenty years before the introduction of the 2021 Lexus IS last summer, the iconic rear-wheel-drive compact luxury sedan blazed a trail for the power of performance. This is the car that initiated Toyota President and master driver, Akio Toyoda, into the exhilaration of performance driving, and tapped into the desire for an emotional feel behind the wheel. In balancing a sports car with a sedan, the IS created an ideal synergy for a new kind of Lexus guest.

The IS may have evolved in shape, size, efficiency and power, but it has stayed true to its stimulating heritage, retained the craftsmanship expected from Lexus, and created a culture of style and expression all its own.

Now, the IS launches the newest chapter in its story of innovation at Lexus as the first of the lineup to feature the Lexus Driving Signature approach to design. To chart the course of this groundbreaking driving experience, here is a look back at major milestones for the model that shook up luxury and forged a time-tested bond between driver and machine.

Lexus IS Icons: A Breeze to Drive

Sometimes you just want to feel the breeze—all the breeze. And after nearly a decade, Lexus gave its guests plenty of big air. The 2009 editions of the IS — the 250 C and more powerful 350 C — saw the introduction a two-door convertible coupe. The bond between driver and machine continued its journey, only now it cruised with the top down.

Throwback Facts:

  • Lexus engineers made subtle design changes to the car’s exterior to help ensure minimal wind turbulence in the cabin, allowing drivers and passengers to carry on a conversation comfortably while enjoying the open air.
  • Some sounds, though, were desirable. Lexus implanted an equalizer-tuning feature in the audio system to deliver clear transmission and tone regardless of the top’s position.

The Lexus IS sedan continues to evolve, with the ultimate goal of delivering a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before. Check out the next icon in the making, the new 2021 Lexus IS, here.

Originally published March 11, 2021

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