New Lexus IS Hybrid Model Announced, But Not Slated For US

Toyota luxury brand Lexus unveiled the 2014 lineup of IS models at the Detroit Auto Show, among them the hybrid IS 300h, which the company says will go to European and Japanese markets, but not to the U.S.

The U.S. market will see the IS 250 that’s powered by a 2.5-liter V6, and the IS350, uses 3.5-liter V6.

Both models will be available in either rear wheel or all-wheel drive. The hybrid IS 300h employs a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid engine, which MotorTrend says produces 217 horsepower.

Lexus says the 300h is the first IS model to feature the brand’s hybrid drive system.

All IS models will be available with the F Sport option that the company says features suspension tuned for more aggressive handling.

Exterior upgrades, like aerodynamic detailing on the bottom corners of the front bumpers for enhanced brake cooling, and styling details in the grille, distinguish F Sport models. An LFA-inspired meter cluster and distinct steering wheel, shift knob, and aluminum pedals, among other items, are part of the F Sport interior.

The IS models use the switchable four-mode Lexus Drive Mode Select system: Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport S+ (S+ available on IS 350 only). The automaker says the various modes allow drivers to optimize the vehicle’s performance to suit their preferred combination of fuel economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.

According to MotorTrend Lexus said it expects that more than 80 percent of European sales of the new IS line will come from the hybrid 300h.