Sub Model: 350
Options: Sunroof, Leather Seats, CD Player
Power Options: Air Conditioning, Cruise Control, Power Locks, Power Windows, Power Seats
Drive Type: FWD
Lynn Haven, Florida, United States
Long regarded as one of the best driver's cars of all time, the BMW 3 Series has always been targeted by luxury automakers trying to create their own exciting, bang-for-the-buck sport sedan. For years, BMW has managed to ward off would-be rivals to its iconic 3 Series, but the combination of a softened F30 and solid, hard-hitting competitors could soon relieve the car of its crown. While the all-new Cadillac ATS has received the most publicity in this segment since its introduction, the 2014 Lexus IS has come on strong in its third generation to put plenty of heat on the 3 Series as the current-best luxury sport sedan.
The IS might be Lexus' most important launch in some time, as a new, strong attempt to draw younger buyers into showrooms. Rather than taking the same conservative path as the preceding IS, Lexus attacked the new car's design with enthusiasm. Exaggerated exterior styling, while certainly polarizing, definitely gets this car noticed.
We've certainly noticed the 2014 IS, with a couple of first drives (for the IS 250 prototype and the IS 350 F Sport) and a Quick Spin so far. This time around we had a chance to get a little more intimate with a staple of the new IS lineup: the non-F Sport, rear-wheel-drive IS 350.
Take a good look at the image above. That's the US-market Lexus NX 300h, and it looks, well... distinctive. Although the entire NX crossover sports styling that could certainly be described as controversial, it's the front end of the 'ute that seems to draw most of the ire, befitted as it is with Lexus' so-called spindle grill.
Now, take a look at the pair of images just below. The one on the left is from the States (the same model seen above), while the one on the right comes from Europe. Notice a difference? The lower front fascia of the European Lexus NX dips down much lower than the one from the US, and it looks much more refined because of it.
Why the disparity between the two designs? According to Top Gear Philippines, the reason why the US gets the more pointy proboscis is because of its classification as a light truck. It seems trucks are required to have some sort of concession to the car's approach angle - in other words, a truck should be able to clear an obstacle that a car might hit. Why does Lexus care if the NX is a car or truck? Well, that has to do with how fuel economy is reported, as trucks are given less-stringent requirements for Corporate Average Fuel Economy purposes.
Japanese site CarWatch has revealed images of the next-generation Toyota Harrier, known to US and European buyers as the Lexus RX. The new model features a considerably more aggressive fascia in keeping with some of the latest Lexus design trends, while the back features a pair of wide, wraparound taillights.
The profile features a revised greenhouse, with a rather complex rear window treatment, while a subtle character line connects the front and rear taillights. According to the badging, the model shown features a hybrid powertrain, although there's little information on which engine is being used. We'd wager it's an evolution of the same 3.5-liter V6 hybrid found in the current RX450h.
This early look doesn't have a great deal of other info, and there are no images of the interior. We're not yet clear on how closely the North American RX will adhere to the Harrier seen here, but historically the two models have been quite close. That said, we'd expect a more prominent 'spindle' grille on the Lexus version than the baleen strainer on the vehicle shown here.