With <A HREF="http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/6F30D6EF6D301FA3CA257A2A0080EEAD">a rumored January 2013 Detroit Auto Show debut</A> for the 3rd-generation (2014 model year) Lexus IS, this author began to wonder if the brand's sports sedan line would follow the example of the 2013 Lexus GS and LX and skip the previous model year. That is emphatically not the case, however, as Lexus has just released information on the barely-changed 2013 Lexus IS models in the United States.
As in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-c-f-2010-united-states-396135/">the 2010 model year</A>, the most notable changes for 2013 are centered around audio and telematics. On all navigation-equipped models (IS sedan, IS C and IS F alike), the standard Bluetooth wireless phone technology adds automatic phonebook download capabilities; the SiriusXM satellite radio adds Fuel Prices information to its previously-included suite of NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports and Stocks functions (subject to fee after a complimentary one-year trial subscription); and HD Radio with iTunes tagging is finally available. Lexus Enform with Safety Connect (included on navigation-equipped models and subject to fee after a complimentary one-year trial subscription) adds an App Suite. Via your smartphone, you can conduct local searches through Bing, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, tap into internet radio, including Pandora and iHeartRadio, search business reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook places.
Perhaps the most significant change for 2013, however, is that, for the first time since the 2001 premiere model year, a manual-transmission Lexus IS will no longer be offered in North America. Significant, yes, and somewhat sad, but hardly surprising. The truck-derived RA62 6-speed manual in the Lexus IS 250 and IS 250C was plagued by <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/return-alternate-lexus-bodystyle-389880/">less-than-stellar feel and precision</A>, and IS manual transmission take rates had plummetted from almost 15% in the IS 300's heyday to less than 2% for 2012.
IS 250 and IS 350 sedans
What you see above is the extent of the changes to the 2013 IS V6 sedans. After <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-announces-price-increase-2012-v6-sedans-441918/">a May 2012 bump of $200</A> in base MSRPs (Manufacturers' Suggested Retail Price) for the last of the 2012s, the 2013 models see a further $100 increase in their base prices. This puts 2013 base prices at $35,065 for the IS 250 RWD; $37,525 for the IS 250 AWD; $40,320 for the IS 350 RWD and $42,780 for the IS 350 AWD. Please note that all prices exclude a delivery, processing and handling fee of $875.
Expected to go on sale in November is a rear-wheel-drive-only IS 250 Special Edition, with dedicated interior trim and exterior styling cues.
IS 250C and IS 350C convertibles
Unlike their sedan counterparts, the 2013 IS convertibles see a number of detail changes. A redesigned 18" wheel option (as shown in the photo at the top of our story) is <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/2013+lexus+is+convertible+coupe+aug12.htm">described by Lexus</A> as having a "split-five spoke design", but we see a 10-spoke design highly reminiscent of the base 17" wheel. A red semi-aniline leather interior option is new, while, on the exterior color front, Cerulean Blue (paint code 8U9) is discontinued, and Tungsten Pearl (paint code 1G1) is replaced by the Silver Lining Metallic hue (paint code 1J4) from the 2013 Lexus RX, ES and CT color palettes.
More significant is that, finally, an F Sport version of the IS C is no longer relegated to a stray <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-introduces-2010-350c-f-sport-special-edition-408346/">Special Edition</A> or <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-350c-f-sport-special-edition-v2-426069/">two</A>, but is now a full-fledged regular option package as on the V6 IS sedans. Package content is essentially the same as on the sedans, minus the rear decklid spoiler but adding a ventilation function to the heated front seats, and with full leather seats instead of the sedan's microfiber-and-leather combo. Two of the eight IS C exterior color choices are exclusive to the F Sport Package: Ultra White and Ultrasonic Blue Mica. The former is a new, F Sport-exclusive shade of pearl white that straddles the line between non-pearl "refrigerator" bright whites and milkier, off-whitish pearl hues such as Starfire Pearl. It bears the 083 paint code and is also offered on the new-for-2013 Lexus LS F Sport in lieu of Starfire Pearl. Ultrasonic Blue returns to the Lexus IS C color palette for the first time since its 2010 initial model year.
Lexus IS C pricing had remained <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-announces-prices-increases-vehicles-scheduled-may-arrivals-427973/">unchanged since May 2011</A>, but the 2013 model year sees a $150 jump in base MSRP numbers, bringing them to $42,510 for the IS 250C and $46,790 for the IS 350C.
As we've noted several times in the past, the Lexus IS F is the quintessential example of the Toyota philosophy of kaizen, or continuous improvement, for rare is the model year that it doesn't receive some sort of minor chassis tweak to make it ride and/or handle better. 2013 is apparently no exception, with <A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/2013+lexus+is+f+sedan+aug12.htm">word of "refined suspension tuning"</A>. What, precisely, that consists of is unclear, but we've reached out to Lexus for further clarification, and you'll know as soon as we do.
The balance of 2013 IS F changes are exterior paint-related, with the aforementioned Ultra White replacing Starfire Pearl; the 2013 Lexus GS and LS-exclusive Liquid Platinum (paint code 1J2) replacing Mercury Metallic (paint code 1F2), and all exterior colors receiving a scratch-resistant clearcoat paint treatment.
The IS F for 2013 receives a $300 price increase versus <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f41/lexus-c-f-2012-including-u-s-pricing-433939/">2012</A>, bringing the base MSRP to $61,600.