To promote its facelifted 2017 IS sedan, Lexus decided to shamelessly appeal to foodies. It commissioned West Coast Customs — one of the shops featured on Pimp My Ride — to build a Sriracha-themed IS, which debuts this week at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The resulting car is really just one big collection of puns.
Take the steering wheel, for example. It is made from a “Sriracha-like liquid” that was cast in resin, then molded into a wheel that wears a warning label for “Hot Handling.” The climate control settings go from cold to “Sriracha hot.” The car also comes with oven mitts that serve as driving gloves, you know, because the Sriracha IS is so hot. Lexus also commissioned two custom jackets with hand-embroidered images of the Sriracha IS to match the gloves.
Lexus stocked the IS with plenty of actual Sriracha, too. The trunk contains 43 bottles for “emergency condiment situations,” the Toyota luxury brand said. For those who cannot live without spicy food, the key fob can also dispense Sriracha from a small nozzle. Because walking back to your car to get one of those 43 bottles can be such a hassle.
Like most custom cars, the Lexus Sriracha IS is not shy about what it is. The exterior paint color was designed to mimic the look of Sriracha in a bottle, and the leather seats feature the logo Huy Fong Foods, the maker of the condiment. Both the interior and exterior also sport green accents, referencing the green tops on Sriracha bottles. As if all of that didn’t provide enough of a hint, Lexus also gave the Sriracha IS special badges.
Other than a “Sriracha driving mode” that sharpens throttle response and allows for quicker gear changes, Lexus didn’t make any mechanical changes. Lexus offers the IS with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. For 2017, the IS gets some styling updates, a 10.3-inch central display screen, and the Lexus Safety System+ bundle of safety features. It is a recipe that makes for a decently satisfying meal, but even covering it with hot sauce probably won’t pull most buyers away from their BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans.