The facelifted version of Lexus’s 3-Series-rivalling IS has reached South Africa and the radically-styled sedan has not been toned down in any way, but rather polished up in places.

While retaining its familiar look, including those signature ‘Nike tick’ LED daytime running lights, the IS sports a redesigned ‘spindle’ grille within the new bumper and the standard LED headlights have also been reshaped. The rear bumper has been revised and some new exterior colours have been added to the mix. Furthermore, E and EX models receive new alloy wheel designs.

The cabin gets new colour choices too, along with a revised instrument cluster and improved panel finishes among other minor touch-ups inside while EX and F-Sport models get a larger infotainment touch-screen, which grows from seven to 10.3 inches in size.

The engine line-up continues as before with Lexus offering a 180kW/350Nm 2-litre turbopetrol motor in the IS 200t (sold with E and EX grades) and a normally aspirated 233kW/378Nm 3.5-litre V6 in the IS 350 F-Sport. In all cases, drive is to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with flappy paddles. Lexus has made some changes to the suspension system, which features double wishbones up front and a multi-link set-up at the back, and Lexus claims to have substantially increased overall body rigidity with new laser screw and adhesive body bonding techniques.

The range

IS 200t E – R601 900

Key standard features: LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, eight-speaker audio system with 7-inch display and DVD player, electrically-adjustable steering wheel and park distance control.

IS 200t EX – R659 100

Adds: 10-inch monitor, remote touch interface and navigation.

IS 350 F SPORT – R728 800

Adds: 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, memory function for driver’s seat and steering column, sport seats and Adaptive Variable Suspension.