- New IS 350 trim lowers price barrier to high-output V6 goodness
- Special paint and appearance packages limited to just a few hundred units
- Enthusiast-favorite Enkei and BBS wheels now available on several models
With just a handful of changes slated for the 2023 Lexus IS lineup, Lexus appears content to extract the remaining mileage from its current-generation car. Today's IS debuted in 2014 and a full redesign is expected any year now. For now, Lexus has peppered Enkei and BBS wheels throughout the lineup, introduced a paint scheme previously never applied to the IS line, and announced a new variant of the IS 350 for 2023.
The IS 350 F Sport Design subtrim debuts for 2023. It's a few bucks less than the standard F Sport and offers the same styling cues — bumpers, grille, spoiler and 19-inch wheels — minus a few features like a cold air intake, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Most importantly, it does come with the 311-hp V6 engine (a darn sight more potent than the 260-hp V6 available on the IS 300) and a choice of rear- or all-wheel-drive. The F Sport Design starts at $43,660 — $1,250 less than the F Sport model.
The standard F Sport will again offer an optional handling package with an adaptive suspension, limited-slip differential (rear-drive models only) and driver-selectable performance modes. The 19-inch matte black BBS forged wheels showcased on last year's limited IS 500 Launch Edition can also be added to this package. But the bigger news is the IS 350 Special Appearance package, which blends cement-gray Incognito paint with a black roof and hood, 19-inch black Enkei wheels and black synthetic leather interior. Another benefit of this package is exclusivity — Lexus will only make 480 cars with this unique paint scheme.
Moving up to the V8-powered IS 500, the base Performance trim will come standard with the dark-finish Enkei wheels, with the BBS forged wheels an available option. Satin chrome interior trim, which is new for 2023, should add some subdued luxury touches to the IS' aging interior.
Another Special Appearance package, this one for the top-tier IS 500 Premium, combines Molten Pearl paint — or what we'd simply call a vibrant, pretty in-your-face orange — with a set of the matte black BBS wheels. Black synthetic leather upholstery and color-trimmed floor mats round out the package. Just 150 units will be made, so act quickly.
Pricing starts at $40,585 for the turbo four-cylinder-powered, rear-wheel-drive IS 300, moves up to $44,910 for the IS 350 F Sport, and tops out at $62,770 for the IS 500 F Sport Premium.
Lexus is squeezing the orange dry while we wait for the next-generation IS to arrive.