Lexus pulled the digital sheets off of its 2021 Lexus IS at a recent virtual event, revealing a significant refresh. The sporty sedan received a good deal of tweaks to its chassis, steering and suspension, as well as some notable tech additions. Let’s take a look:

The 2021 Lexus IS rides on the New N platform that has been adjusted to provide an enhanced linear driving experience with more direct driver inputs. Working at the Nurburgring-inspired test track at the Toyota Technical Centre Shimoyama, engineers brought extra rigidity to the IS’s body by strategically reinforcing and welding various points and adding lighter weight hub bolts to the wheels, among other practices.

“What we had foremost in mind in developing the new IS was to make it a car that excelled in communicating with the driver regardless of the road conditions or driving situation,” said Chief Engineer Naoki Kobayashi of Lexus International. “We aimed to make the new IS a Lexus compact sports sedan that provides high-quality riding comfort while offering a high level of vehicle control.”

Suspension was adjusted to accommodate the available new 19-inch wheels (18-inch is now the standard instead of 17), which include a BBS unit unique to the F Sports with Dynamic Handling Package. Lighter coil springs and forged aluminum replacements for steel parts further reduce weight and improve suspension, as do new swing-valve shock absorbers running ultralow-velocity valves.

The 2021 IS is powered by either one of three engines. The base IS 300 comes equipped with the brand’s 2.0-litre, turbo and intercooled inline four-cylinder, updated for 2021 with an adaptive transmission control for better gear changes. That passes 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission. The IS 300 AWD model, meanwhile, gets a 260-horsepower, 236-lb-ft, 3.5-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

At the top of the range, the IS 350 rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models are powered by a 3.5-litre V6 good for 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Visually, the new IS is wider and longer than its predecessor. Revised spindle grilles for the standard models and F Sports grace the fronts, framed by more slender headlamps. New rocker panels and lines carry the eye and draw it to the low-slung rear end. Inside the 2021 IS, a new 8-inch infotainment screen (10.3-inch optional) runs point for the car’s smart programs including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Audiophiles will revel in the upgraded sound system: a Mark Levinson Surround Sound System with 17 speakers and a new amplifier pumping an impressive 1,800 watts.

The 2021 Lexus IS will be available at dealerships including Northwest Lexus this fall. Book a contact-free test drive here.