A look at the development of the Lexus IS.
The Lexus IS was initially introduced by the company as an entry-level sports model and was originally sold under the Toyota Altezza nameplate. This remained the same until the Lexus brand name was established and the second generation of Lexus IS vehicles were released in 2006. The first set of IS models was released in Japan in October 1998 and the vehicle debuted in Europe in 1999 with the IS 200 model.
Second generation models of the Lexus IS featured a D-4S direct injection system with both port and direct fuel injectors. IS safety features at the time varied from multiple air-bags to stability control systems. During this period Lexus also became the first luxury sedan manufacturers to offer a pre-collision system. This generation of Lexus IS models were also first in line to introduce the new L-finesse design philosophy that the company continues to follow today.
In 2006 Lexus announced that it had created high-performance versions of the second generation IS models know as the IS F. The Lexus IS F sedan was launched at the North American International Auto Show and went on sale in North America and Europe shortly afterwards. The vehicle was met with widespread critical acclaim and had an electronically limited top speed of 170 mph. In 2009 Lexus restyled the IS line and improved technical aspects of the vehicle such as the suspension and steering.
During this period, Lexus released a hardtop convertible version which was debuted at the Paris Auto Show. Most recently Lexus refreshed the IS line by lowering the fuel consumption of its diesel engines.