Debuting with the familiar IS 250 and 350 variants, the launch of the new IS range also sees the introduction of a new powertrain option, in the form of the four-cylinder IS 300h hybrid.
On the styling front, the new IS continues the themes launched by its own predecessor and evolved by the latest version of the larger GS.
The sports version of the new midsizer also draws on the look of the recent LF-LC and LF-CC concepts, including the large single-piece 'Spindle' grille, a wave-styled headlight design and separate LED running lights.
The profile is dominated by typical Lexus style, with understated character lines and the familiar coupe-like upkick to the rear door's window line.
The CC concept's theme continues at the rear, sharp new tail-lights wrapping around the corners and terminating half-way to the wheel arches.
Three engine variants will be offered in the new IS range, including the familiar IS 250 and 350 options, and the anticipated new IS 300h hybrid model.
Power in the IS 250 and 350 models comes from a familiar pair of V6 engines, the 250 driven by a 2.5 litre unit, and the 350 by a 3.5 litre mill.
Output figures remain unchanged for both, with the 2.5 producing 154kW and 253Nm, and the 3.5 delivering 233kW and 378Nm.
The 250 hangs onto its six-speed automatic transmission, but the IS 350 has been upgraded to to the Sport Direct Shift eight-speed automatic found in the current IS F performer.
In the new IS 300, power is supplied by a 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor, offering a combined system output of 162kW.
Fuel consumption in the hybrid model is listed at a low 4.3 l/100km, nearly half the figure of the current IS 250 model.
Lexus says it has developed a stronger body for the new IS, and a new double wishbone suspension package brings a 20 percent improvement in sway rigidity.
The new GS lends its multi-link rear suspension arrangement to the IS, along with its steering system, and adaptive variable suspension will be offered for the first time with certain IS models.
As before, the F Sport variants also get specially tuned suspension packages and electric power steering for enhanced handling.
The new suspension system will be further enhanced by an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) on all F Sport models and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) on 3.5-litre engine F Sport models.
"We adopted an entirely different approach to the development of the new IS," Chief Engineer Junichi Furuyama said.
"Rather than develop each individual aspect in the hope they will combine to offer an engaging driving experience, we first established the kind of driving experience owners desire. With this as our initial premise, we then developed the individual performance elements to support it."
"Every aspect of the new IS has been engineered with a focus on sporting performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback," he added.
The new IS sits on a 70mm longer wheelbase, and it is also 10mm wider - both contributing to a larger interior space and luggage capacity.
Along with a thinner front seat design, Lexus promises 85mm of extra knee room in the rear.
The cabin also offers a familiar scene, largely mirroring the interior of the new GS with a multi-tiered dash layout, strong lines and satin silver highlights.
There's a large integrated centre display and a tall raked centre console design. In the F Sport models, there's also a large LFA-inspired digital instrument cluster.
A new Drive Mode Select system features up to four switchable driving modes - ECO, NORMAL, SPORT/SPORT S and SPORT S+ - enabling the driver to select their preferred combination of economy, comfort, performance and handling characteristics.
Safety advances include a new pop-up hood design for pedestrian protection, and there is also automatic high-beam, blind spot monitoring and a lane departure warning system - the latter will be a first for Lexus in Australia.
Watch for an Australian debut to occur in the third quarter of 2013, including the hybrid-powered IS 300h.
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