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pre­vi­ous model but failed to throw the facelifted ver­sion off line or in­trude into the cabin.

Power from the 2.0-litre turbo is more than ad­e­quate and the eight-speed auto is rarely caught in the wrong cog, some­thing we have ac­cused it of do­ing in the past. It’s no Camry, folks, but it still won’t chal­lenge a Mercedes C-Class through a suc­ces­sion of sweep­ers. It won’t be far be­hind, though.

The im­proved driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence comes down to rel­a­tively mi­nor front sus­pen­sion changes. It’s a clas­sic case of the whole be­ing more than the sum of the parts.

The ex­tra weight and power of the V6-mo­ti­vated IS 350 means turn-in isn’t as quick and pre­dictable but that’s com­pen­sated by a much quicker cor­ner exit.

The adap­tive sus­pen­sion found in the F Sport is largely un­nec­es­sary, given the nor­mal drive mode irons out most road ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and still lets the car sit flat in the cor­ners. Sport marginally im­proves han­dling but there’s a com­men­su­rate drop in com­pli­ance that all but makes it re­dun­dant.

The drive mode se­lec­tor is a ro­tary dial but Lexus per­sists — for now — with the square mul­ti­me­dia con­troller. It is telling that the brand’s new­est car, the LC 500 coupe on dis­play at the IS launch, has ditched that unit for a touch­pad.

VER­DICT

The IS takes a dif­fer­ent route to de­liv­er­ing a pre­mium ex­pe­ri­ence to the con­ven­tional pres­tige sedans but it fi­nally feels as if Lexus is con­cen­trat­ing as much on the drive as it is on the styling de­tails.

Com­pe­ti­tion im­proves the breed and it’s good to see the IS grow­ing up.

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