Next-Generation 2014 Lexus IS Mule Spotted!

New spy photos of the next-generation Lexus IS today, by way of

2014 Lexus IS Mule Front

2014 Lexus IS Mule Side

2014 Lexus IS Mule Rear

Much like the photos of the GS mule in 2010, this mule looks like a standard IS with a slightly wider stance — perhaps even with some adjustments to the wheelbase.

Beyond that, I don’t really see any other obvious changes — did I miss anything?

See High Resolution Lexus IS Spy Shots

Update: Edited for clarity.

Update two: Just in case there’s any confusion about what a “mule” is, TLE commenter wasapasserby defined it as “a testbed for future mechanical components, often having a heavily altered current production exterior”.


  1. but we saw it before in 2010 also my guess it is for IS-F or new engine
  2. I hope they dont change the window design of the car, I really like the current design.
  3. I see they have changed the exhaust positioning.
  4. It also looks like it might be a little bit longer, looking at the fitment of the front bumper. 
  5. Outside of manual transmissions on the 3.5, and a bigger back seat, I don't have much of a Wish List for the IS. I have driven the IS350 at A Taste of Lexus, and I learned it was Hella Fast!  But the back seat is subpar..... BD
  6. Not much to see here. I hope more pictures or info arise
  7. Am I the only one who still thinks that we gonna see the new IS this year? They might be trying a new engine option
  8. Why didn't they use the classic silver color duct tape over the brown packing tape... Isn't duct tape stronger?  
  9. Actually the new GS's wheelbase is unchanged from the last-gen, so don't expect the new IS to have a longer wheelbase. And from the pics of the IS mule I fail to see how the new IS has a longer wheelbase either.
    • Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but the wheels seem to be pushed out a little towards the front and rear of the car. You're right though, considering the new GS is at 2,850mm wheelbase and the current IS is at 2,750mm, there really isn't a lot of room to work with.
    • Besides what rumors said was that the re generation of the IS was based on an shrunken platform of the new GS.
    • i will go with that it will have a long version of the Chassis of the FT-86/FRS/BRZ trio
  10. Hey will someone explain to me what a 'mule' is? 
    • A development mule or a test mule in the automotive industry is a vehicle equipped with experimental or prototype components for testing. Mule cars are drivable, often years ahead of actual production.[1] They may come after concept cars that sometimes lack critical mechanical components. They may also have advanced chassis and powertrain designs from a future vehicle that need to be tested, but "clothed with the body and interior of some other car about the same size.[2] Mules are often heavily altered and the exteriors may be disguised as current production vehicles or as completely different models.[3] Some noticeable alterations include simple cylindric shapes for the lamps in the taillights, different rims on the front and back without centrecaps, and a severe amount of added plastic and tape to hide the actual shape and design of the vehicle.[4] tl;dr -- A mule is a testbed for future mechanical components, often having a heavily altered current production exterior.
    • Okay cool! Thats kind of what I figured, THANKS! :D
    • Thanks for this, wasapasserby. I should have defined it in my post.
  11. I'm thinking LA Auto Show reveal with sales in spring, but what do know...
  12. IS needs it,minterior space is lagging behind Look at how far the rearwheels sit in the fenders. I'm guessing somerting like 1.5 to 2 inches longer. It seems to me this is the old body, planted on the new platform. This also suggets this is early road testing and a launch date this year is probably not feesable.
  13. Chances it switches to a (stretched) FRS/BRZ platform, and becomes a 4-door luxury FRS? Tuners have stuffed a 5.0 V8 under the Scion for drifting purposes, so the 3.5 will fit.......BD
    • Aren't there also rumors of the IS riding instead on a shortened GS platform?  I guess we won't know until the actual reveal date...
    • It always has run on the GS platform.  Maybe it's time for a change? A 4-door FRS would make a righteous sports sedan! BD
    • to me wouldn't make sense to base the next gen is on the frs platform. That would go against there new face of lexus. I thought they were trying to move further away from Toyota and build more "Lexus" cars
  14. please have a better engine for the is250. The is250 is way underpowered. Lexus is going to need at least 250+ to take down the current 3-series. Why doesn't lexus offer new generation engines. I mean other companies are offering new gen engines while lexus is still sticking with the same od company v6
    • I read somewhere that they are planning to follow BMW plan for model changes, ie. new sheetmetal  to last 6 years and new engines after 3 years, so very three years there is either new body or new engine alternatively. So I wouldnt expect new engines for another 3 model years, then my guess is that they will go smaller engines with turbos. The outdated 2.5 will battle on for a while yet.
    • That applies to Toyota.  Lexus is a potential adjuster to the parent's formula...... BD
    • And yet, every new model announced by Lexus thus far has carryover engines from 2005 or earlier (2GR-FE, 2GR-FSE, 4GR-FSE). The next IS will likely retain the same engines, albeit with minor tweaks for fuel economy and to eke out a few more horsepower, a la 2013 GS
    • The engine will not be the same. The new IS will have have a new engine and body since it follows in the footsteps of the GS. Launch of the 2014 model will be end of this year/early next year. As you can see from the spy photos, and the current 2013 GS, the F-Sport version will have an aggressive look while the normal version will have a calmer, more standard look. If these don't happen then Lexus would have missed it's chance to make the changes. BMW has already launched their new 3 Series and MB has launched their new C Class. Lexus must deliver. Interior changes will be similar to the GS with new Navigation. Soft and quieter ride until you engage Sport + which will probably be exhilarating as hell.  Imagine the same engine in the GS used in the IS. Immediate power delivery and 0-100 km/h in 5 secs due to it being lighter.
    • Didn't the new gs use the same engine that is currently in the IS350 and all they did was tweak it up a couple HP and Torque along with some shift time? Correct me if I'm wrong 
    • Yeah you're right. I stand corrected. It's a tweaked version of the same engine but it's still the same engine that will go into the IS350.
    • you stand corrected? Your above post says its going to have a "new engine" do you know what the difference between the new engine and a tweaked engine is?
    • Im sorry but you are wrong they might be similar but they are not the same. the IS's is called the (GSE21) and the GS's is called the (26R-FSF) 
    • so just because the changed the code name of the engine makes it a brand new engine then? So what would you consider the ISF engine to be thats revised from the ls600?. You think that every engine that has a couple tweaks makes it a new engine?
    • so just because the changed the code name of the engine makes it a brand new engine then? So what would you consider the ISF engine to be thats revised from the ls600?. You think that every engine that has a couple tweaks makes it a new engine?
    •  so sad lexus is catching up in the handling department but now falling behind in the engine department
    • You do know that the current 2GR-FSE is most powerful in class.. BMW relies on forced induction for power.. Lexus is naturally aspirated 233KW, = NICE
    • PG

       In the end the consumer wants power and cares less about how that power is made. The future seems to be forced induction, whether you want it or not.
    • But the IS350 is most powerful in class.. So your point is?? The future is not forced induction.. Cars with forced inductions are not reliable and need too much servicing Naturally Aspirated motors will just continue to advance.. Luxury cars will be powerful N/A All others normal vehicles will be a combo of Hybrid/electric etc Diesel will slowly die off.. Hydrogen will eventually take over In your case lets say every car now downsizes their engine and adopt some form of f/I be it supercharger, turbo etc.. All cars will be 1.8, 2.0L etc.. Then again displacement will increase with each automaker wanting to make more powerful cars, so we'll be back to 3.0L+ in no time if forced induction is the future as you say.. And the N/A IS350 will whoop the Fords, lincoln Ecoboost larger 3.5L displacement candy ass.. Despite the Ford's with their overstated figures.. Remember the Lexus IS350 can do 0-60mph run anywhere from 4.6-5.2sec.. The Ecoboost 3.5 twin turbocharged cannot.. So I wouldn't go as far as you think.. And lastly cars with turbo have delivery issues, you have to rev hard to get boost, problem with that is you waste more gas then you would but you have no choice as in the ecoboosts 3.5 case they're sluggish of the line..
    • Ain't going to lie I have two Lexus at home, but to be honest aside from the LFA and ISF the lexus engines can't match BMW engines with the power delivery. Wish Lexus can put some more tech in there engines to make it more exciting.
    • This is my expectation as well.
    • Ev

      Yeah I agree the IS250 is underpowered, but people who get the IS250 really don't care and it's enough for them.. IS350 is the one to get.. Well worth the extra penny
    • Thing is that Lexus engines are way more focused on driving comfort rather than sporty or dynamic drive. Lexus is not BMW and they are not that sporty oriented. With the spindle grille and this new restyling direction Lexus is sure catching up with BMW (IS F Sport, GS F Sport, RX F Sport, CT F Sport, etc). Lexus maybe doesn't have engines like the ones BMW does, but sporty cars are not just about horsepowers, weight and handling really matter, and so even if the new GS350 on the 0-60 is lower than the 535i, people and motor reviewers like the GS more than the 5 Series just because of the driving dynamics and handling.
  15. Wouldn't this be the new IS in more of an evolutionary update(NOT facelift)?
    • I'm kinda confused about this as well since if we are right the production model is already finished so it's actually nonsense testing a mule. I believe we had a discussion here with a Lexus worker who stated that the production model of the next generation was already finished. He also gave some hints about the engine (petrol and hybrid) and a little bit about the exterior as well as interior (new IS will be based on a shrunken version of the platform the new GS uses and the interior will be like the one we've see on the GS and ES). Perhaps, they are just testing a new engine instead of the model itself?
    • I think they are testing the new model codenamed "XE30", not just the engine. The IS (XE30) design was approved in 2010-early 2011, so you're right about that. The pictures I posted are definitely the next model, even though it looks similar to the current one. I'd say it's very much an evolutionary redesign like the second generation LS400 was. While it may look the same, bear in mind how the 2009 BMW 7-series barely altered the headlamps of the 2006-2008 facelift 7-series(E65). It already seems that the LS teaser shows an evolutionary redesign as well as against revolutionary.
    •  The first picture turns out to be an amalgamation of the GS grille and upcoming IS. The IS grille is totally different from the 2013 GS. Look below.
  16. That is not a new IS. If lexus were to be creating a new IS, they would make more substantial changes including the front grill and bumper, front and rear lights. In my opinion the existing IS is getting tired and work needs to be done on the front and rear. Unsure what this vehicle actually is. It must be a new engine or transmission.. Lexus have already face lifted this car.. and a new version would have to have greater changes than this photo.  
    • its a test mule...not the new sheetmetal...
    •  Were you referring to the mule or the photo I posted? That image I posted was presented by Lexus themselves in a teaser video alongside the next LS, the 2013 LX, RX, ES, GS, and 2014 CT F-Sport. They are doing an evolutionary redesign for 2014.
  17. Man I wonder why lexus cars like keeping out from horsepower aside from the isf and lfa. I mean it wouldn't hurt to have a couple more horsepower and torque every once in a while. I just hope there going to come out with a better engine for the isf, it be huge disappointment if they want to battle the m3 it comes out with a new engine every model. While lexus cars are stuck with the same old same old.
    • I'll be shocked if it doesn't have at least 430HP. I'd go to 450! BD
    • The next m3 is gonna be a disappointment since BMW is dropping the 8 cylinders and opting for a turbo V6
    • PG

      Could you elaborate why a turbo V6 will be a disappointment? You do realize that the M3's roots are in 4-cylinder power, do you?
    • The current 335i is a turbocharged I-6.. So the next m3 is gonna have the same performance as the old 335i LOL Lexus makes 306HP with just a n/a V6, 3.5 (2GR-FSE) We all know n/a cars have better performance, refinement, drivability etc.. Take the twin turbochargers out of the 335i and the IS250 will give it a run for its money..
    • I wouldn't bet on that one thing bmw does well is know how to build there engines. During the M3 reign how many times has it dissapointed. Just hope Lexus chief engineer has something good up his sleeve for the next ISF
    • thank you. i totally agree i keep saying it wouldnt hurt for a extra new horsepower
  18. Ev

    Test drove the 2012 or 2011? Lexus IS350 F-sports yesterday and that car is very very nice.. The car is sharp as a knife, the car is nice and quiet, too quiet but floor it and you get that beautiful roar and get pushed back into your seat.. power delivery is velvety smooth.. The interior is awesome, has nice quality and everything looks nice & luxurious or premium Honestly I really cannot see how they could further improve it, performance is best in class, handling is best in class, comfort is best in class, the F-sports looks best in class, has best features in class.. And most reliable in class.. I feel that people who get 335i & C350 have not taken the F-sports IS350 for a drive..
    • Is the power delivery spot on quick. All the Lexus I drove before when cruising and when I floor it theres always a little delay before the power actually kicks in.
    • Ev

      Yeah the power is always instant and raw, unless you are traveling at 110km/h and you floor it then theres just a split seconds delay.. I know what you mean with the ES350 (2GR-FE) there is a delay when you step on it.. The is350 (2GR-FSE) doesn't have that problem.. And the engine of the IS350 sounds so much better then the ES350.. When it first started up I thought it was a V8, had a nice growl to it.. Just take the IS350 for a drive and you'll know what I mean.. Same size engine as ES350 but much better.. The IS350 is..
    •  Yes that's what I mean I wonder what is with that delay in the engine, I'm sure Lexus has had complaints about it but is there a reason why theres a little delay. I test drove other cars in its class they don't seem to have that little hesitation.
  19. The near future lies in the path of the French builders are doing, hybrid diesel, splitting the two motors to both front and rear axils, fuel economy in the 4 to 5 liter range per 100km, but would prefer the reverse arrangement of drive train to what they are using in the Citroen and Peugeot, this would be my first choice for buying another IS diesel. After 6 years it is time for a new look, but after seeing the new GS which looks like a enlarged photocopy of the current IS, my hopes for new styling my be disappointed.
    • Toyota before going for the hybrid petrol they also tried the hybrid diesel and didn't perform as they expected so they just dropped that project. Besides, if you took a look at the French hybrid diesels you would have realized that they are not better than the hybrid petrol in terms of comfort, fuel economy and price.
  20. MT

    I guess in NA the IS will get the 300h powertrain from the ES. And the 350 will carry over fromthe current with the same tweeks as in the GS. The IS-F will be cancelled. In Europe we will get the 250 again as carryover and the 300h.
  21. Hopefully they will make the spindle grill flow a little bit better with the IS.  Not feeling the Darth Vader look on the GS-F Sport.  Power should definitely increase to the 333-350 HP range.  Match that with top handling and you have a 3 series beater.  Whether its turbo charged or not, it better have power and top MPG to match.  For those of you that frown upon turbo V6 engines, one car comes to mind that puts anything with more cylinders to shame.  It starts with a G and ends with an R...
    •  Did you not see the picture I posted? That is 100% legit.
    • Nope.  The pic quality is not great.  Hopefully, the real deal comes out looking killer.  The current IS (especially mine) is the best looking Lexus has :0)
    •  Sorry about the blurriness, but it is 100% the real deal. IDK why they refused to show it in any full-size teasers like the new LS, but this came from corporate Lexus back in January at NAIAS and was part of a display of teasers at the LF-Lc debut. They also showed a CUV in the video presentation. I suggest watching any info on the LF-Lc NAIAS debut and locate anything concerning teasers, as that's how I found the XE30 front fascia.
    • Idl

      Thetruth; You do realize the the current IS350 has more power then the BMW 335i.. The IS350 is more impressive then what some  people here think.. What really matters is off the line performance and the IS350 is a killer at that, from 0-60mph with trac off etc the IS350 can do it in 4.6 seconds to less then 5 sec.. 0-60 run the IS350 easily outruns..  Nissan 370Z BMW 335i Mercedes C350 Infiniti G37 Acuru TSX etc If the V6 Camry can do 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds then wouldn't you think the IS350 would be better then that? 
    • I have an IS350 F-Sport with the F-Sport Intake and Nvidia exhaust.  Its fast, but not as fast as the twin turbo bimmer...
    •  I agree the IS350 might have the 335i from 0-60 but after that the 335i starts pulling away
  22. I see a lot of negative comments on forced induction.   I used to think this.  However, while most populated places aren't at signifciant altitude, some are.   At about a mile high, approximately 15% horse power is lost.  That means that an IS-F loses ~ 60 horsepower at the crank.   A turbo can spin up faster to account for the lack of oxygen, assuming that the turbo designed to be efficient at the higher turbo RPMs.  Also, if the turbos are low mass, lag is neglible while delivering much lower torque than any N/A motor does for the equivalent displacement, potentially providing a flat torque band.   At a mile high, a 335i will destroy the IS350 and gets competitive with the M3 and IS-F.   I would much rather half the 335i drive train then trying to keep that silly M3 N/A V8 in a decent band.  I have driven them both at altitude and would much prefer the instant torque of the 335i.  I can only hope that the next IS-F is a turboed car, though I doubt it would be a buttery smooth I6 or a V8.  
    • Gu2

      It's simple, larger engine = more torque V8's are the king of torque, their torque is very down low.. A 335i can barely keep up with IS350, let alone ISF.. You have to be literally on a mountain to have any atmospheric pressure differences..  the 2GR-FSE (IS350 engine)  has a very unique design, especially the intake runners, Camshaft angles and everything else, Toyota makes pretty advanced engine design that mitigate issues and hence why the IS350 is very powerful with the benefit of being Naturally Aspirated Take a look at the 2GR-FSE, now that looks like something.. Also injection in the third photo the left injector is the dual fan spraying pattern of the D4-S imporved injection of the 2GR-FSE engine where as the right one is the D4 system used in the IS250 (4GR-FSE) engine And the engine combines both port&direct injection ;)  
    • I'm with Will on his comment even though I own BMW and INFINITI, and no LEXUS. After testing IS 350, I'm just amazed how Lexus can deliver a V6 smoother than BMW I6 (Note: lots of people confuse the smoothness of BMW trans w/ engine) and more powerful than VQ35. The fuel efficiency of 3.5L tieing 3L engine is even more remarkable achievement when compared to VQ35 in my G35. While LEXUS has some steering and suspension tuning to catch up w/ BMW or INIFNITI, they have however made a great engine nobody else can for now, not even when INIFNITI adds VVEL to VQ37, except maybe Porsche, which however has much less weight and needs more fuel. That's exactly why BMW turns to turbocharging...
    • Gu2, You are mistaken on a couple counts.  1.  Lower torque -- 2012 335i delivers its peak torque starting at 1250 RPMs.  That is very low. 2.  Atmospheric pressure differences -- every 1000 feet above sea level is worth 3%.  Keeping the same temperature, that's 12 crank horsepower per 1000 feet for the IS-F.   There are significant horse power losses in Denver, Salt Lake, and Albuquerque, no name a few cities with significant population.  It's enough to make a 12.7 car drop to about 13.4 at a mile high.
    • Gu2

      Super Sedan, yes the 335i does have impressive torque figures.. But i have taken the torque figure of the IS350 below, you can see that literally from 2000 all through to 4700 RPMs the torque is pretty flat.. Big jump in torque from 1000-2000 RPMs then pretty flat all through to 5000RPM.. In comparison i have the torque figure for the Lexus ES350/V6 Camry (2GR-FE) engine (same 3.5L displacement) .. And you can see that the torque is peaky and no where near as instant as the IS350, just from looking at the performance figures below it  gives anyone an idea of the difference between driving an ES350 & IS350 :D You could sure expect the transmission of the ES350 to be up shifting & downshifting quite often, that's one of the reason above Ev was explaining to buddy how the IS350 was much more responsive and without hesitation when you drive it hard... 
    • Gu2

      ***** The photo on the right is the Performance curve of the IS350 & the left is the ES350******
    • Fair enough.  However, the 335i can maintain it's 300HP at a mile high. I don't have a link but the N54 turbos were efficient up until there.  It may not matter to most people but an IS350 makes about 265 crank HP in Denver.  It's a big difference.
    • Gu2

      First the IS350 has 306HP 2nd, even turbocharged cars lose power at higher altitude, the turbochargers work a lot harder and in BMW's case, 2 small turbochargers it becomes a bigger problem..
    • First:  Stand corrected.   Second:  MKIV Supra.   No big issues.  Third:  Turbo cars are easier to tune for bigger HP. Fourth:  I don't know how to put it more plainly, turbos will compensate.  Even if the 335i could only compensate for 2000 feet (or 6%), the IS350 will be about 288 at that point.   More often, they do better than this.   Yes, they too lose horsepower but in general, not nearly as much.   Jet engines and turbo props are have variable positive feedback for this reason.   Fifth:  I am still a Lexus fan.  I will probably never own a BMW because I keep cars too long.  BMWs are best leased.
    • Sorry, 85% of 300HP is 255.   Even a bigger difference.  
  23. A magnificent engine the 2GR-FSE from a magnificent company. I find it interesting that the engine ties the 330i's combined fuel economy, while still edging the BMW in power. No wonder BMW added more turbos to produce the 335i. ;)
  24. Cm1

    The only reason BMW went Forced Induction is because they know that they cannot compete with Lexus and he rest with Normally Aspirated engines.. They're incompetent and so they simply just add Twin turbochargers to their cars.. Where as Lexus/Toyota have magnificent engineering feat to produce more power than even forced induction BMW's ;)
    •  That is seriously the dumbest comment I've read here all day. You're claiming that BMW is incompetent when it comes to engine design? Do you realize that some of the best engineers in the world work for car companies in the engineering departments that are assigned to design, improve, test and create new engines and update existing engines. BMW didn't just slap two turbos on an inline-6 and call it a day. This engine was in development for a number of years now before hitting the market. That's a FACT. Furthermore, BMW has a strong motor sports heritage that Lexus can only dream about. And they've produced engines with some impressive horsepower per liter outputs - naturally aspirated. The only incompetent thing here is your silly claim.
    •  agree with this 99% BMW makes some incredible engines no doubt about that, but if they can them more reliable would be awesome, if Lexus tuned all there engines like they did with the LFA i'm positive that they will match BMW or even surpass there engines. To bad Lexus keeps using that company V6 since forever.
    • Indeed, reliability is the key.  The E46 M3 had at least a couple years of block cracking as well as many SMG tranny failures. The 335i with the N54 engine had at least a couple years of fuel pumps failing with the "solution" apparently reducing the fuel throughput --> less HP.   I can't trust BMW, though they make cool stuff, and they use inline sixes, which I definitely like.
  25. Here slightly different pics of the front end of the 2014 IS(ACTUAL MODEL in teaser) that show the spindle grille more.
    • Hopefully the real deal looks better than that..
    • That's a really blurry image, we can't judge based on that.
    •  Well, have you seen more real photos of it? Lexus sneakily presented this car themselves, not me. No one has provided any legitimate official material from Lexus corporate, so since this is the best anyone will get until the prototypes are running, I posted it. None of the current lineup looks like this(including the next LS and CT F-Sport) and since it is heavily reminiscent of the current IS, it's the evolutionary redesigned 2014 model.
  26. I see they pumped the rear bumper out a bit. I wonder why?
  27. no spindle grille?