Lexus just unveiled its new IS sedan at the Detroit Auto Show, and it's the company's first car to feature a hybrid drivetrain! Lexus let us know that the hybrid is destined only for Japan, Europe and other international markets, where it is expected to make up 80% of the IS mix — a remarkable ratio that illustrates why automakers are much more likely to send hybrids abroad than to the U.S. The new lineup will carry the same engines as last year for the gas models; the IS350's 3.5-liter V-6 will boast 306 hp, and the IS250’s 2.5-liter V-6 will be rated at 204. The hybrid IS by comparison will pack a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with electric motor and 217 hp.
The IS has some interesting tech inside, including electrostatic switches for HVAC and other controls that can be operated by sliding a finger along the surface of the dash. The car also features thinner seat design for better knee room, ergonomic interior design that allows the driver to take advantage of the car’s driving dynamics, and several drive modes for great performance. In front the new IS has a redesigned grille, horizontal lines that streamline the shape of the car and emphasize its rear for a sportier look, and new headlights with the Lexus trademark design. We love the IS hybrid, and hope demand for hybrids will rise enough in the U.S. over the next few years to warrant this baby coming our way in its next iteration.