Mike Stevens | Dec 5, 2012

Lexus will go head-to-head with Japanese compatriot Infiniti and its new G sedan, when it unveils the new IS midsizer at next month's Detroit Auto Show.

Replacing the second-generation model, revealed in 2005, the new IS will become the carmaker's latest weapon in its assault on the old guard: BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Like the larger GS sedan, the new IS will feature Lexus' prominent "spindle" grille design, while driving and safety technologies, and interior styling and features, will come in for an overhaul.

Lexus has already confirmed the new IS will draw its styling inspiration from the recent LF-CC coupe concept, and reports suggest a two-door model may also join the range.

Recent spy photos suggest the new model's wheelbase will be similar to the outgoing car, although the front overhang looks to have gained a few millimetres - likely to benefit pedestrian safety and aerodynamic efficiency.

Mechanical details remain unclear for now, though the existing V6-only (in Australia) range is likely to be expanded with an efficiency-boosting four-cylinder option.

Also likely is a hybrid version, which could use a rear-wheel drive version of the 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric drivetrain used in the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Watch for more details on the new IS to surface as the sedan nears its Detroit debut.

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