Having been unveiled earlier this year, the 2021 Lexus IS has started arriving at dealers across the United States. But does it deserve your attention, or would you perhaps be better off with a BMW 3-Series, an Audi A4 or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Despite being a mid-cycle refresh, the revisions are quite extensive, from the new spindle grille, headlights, side skirts, curvier trunk and so on, to the revised double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension and enhanced body rigidity.

Related: How Does The 2021 Lexus IS Compare To The Outgoing Model?

In the IS 350 F Sport top spec, which starts at $42,900 and was the one tested by TheSmokingTire, you will get a 3.5-liter V6. The naturally aspirated engine makes 311 HP (315 PS / 231 kW) and 280 lb-ft (379 Nm) of torque, directed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

So, how does it feel on a twisty canyon road? Quite good, for the most part. Even if the engine isn’t the most exciting one out there, it is a good combo with the auto ‘box, especially in the Sport+ driving mode. It feels quite lively on the go, even if the reviewer calls it an evolution rather than a revolution – which is to be expected as it’s a (thorough) facelift and not an all-new model.

Before moving on to the video that reveals some of the secrets of the 2021 IS, we should note that this was a pre-production car, with Lexus advising the reviewer to go gentle on the interior.