Lexus Could Bring Back the IS F in 2020 With a Strange Engine
The last IS F had a 5.0-liter V-8 that was also taken from the LSby Michael Fira, on
Currently, Lexus’ top performance offering for the IS is the IS 350 F Sport, but things may change in three year’s time as the next-generation IS is rumored to spawn a proper IS F version like the 416 horsepower one we had up until a few years ago. This new model should have about as much power as the old one, which sounds a bit disappointing, but things could change.
The Lexus IS XE30 is a good-looking car, a car that is well-suited for a track-oriented version like the IS F once was. Sadly, the IS F didn’t live on past the XE20 generation, so if you want muscle, your only choice right now is the IS 350 F Sport with its 311 horsepower and a base MSRP of about $45,000 if you go for the RWD version. Meanwhile, you can grab a decade-old IS F with a 416 horsepower V-8 for less than $30,000. The next generation, that won’t be here before the second half of 2020, could address the people’s need for speed.
The Potential Revival of the IS-F Model is Good News, but Let’s Hope it’s Not Vaporware
The original Lexus IS-F was a machine praised by car guys for its big, loud engine, for its apparent love affair with sticking its tail out of a turn, for its mountains of power and torque, and, now, there could be a new one around the corner. The downside?
No V-8 this time around and, apparently, the same amount of power as before.
Motor1 quotes Japanese automotive outlet Spyder 7 that basically states that the range-topping 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 taken from the LS will sit under the hood of an F-badged IS when the next generation rolls out in 2020. Previous reports said that the 416-horsepower unit could be featured in the IS 400 instead. All that power should be sent to the wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. In comparison, the soon-to-be-replaced M3 puts out 425 horsepower from a turbocharged inline-six engine at an MSRP of $66,500. The C63 AMG, meanwhile, has 45 more horsepower from its 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 at a similar price.
We haven't got a whole lot of details on the new IS F, but we do know that the new generation will be based around the modular Toyota New Generation Architecture and it will be bigger than before.
Besides the 3.5-liter V-6, there will also be a not-so-mundane 2.4-liter turbocharged four-pot engine capable of 318 horsepower as well as a 2.5-liter hybrid unit that will only offer 183 horsepower but better mpg.
All this comes after reports this summer stating that the IS might be slashed from Lexus’ lineup altogether with the automaker instead looking to put out more SUVs and crossovers and also be "more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves”, according to David Christ, Group Vice President and General Manager of the Lexus Division.
Still, what’s certain is that the RC F GT/Track Edition is coming to the 2019 NAIAS that opens its gates on January 14th. Lexus already teased this model by releasing a shadowy image of the car’s carbon fiber rear wing with the F badge engraved in the nearly-triangular endplates.
The hood is also made out of carbon fiber and, looking at the spy shots; the bumper is more aggressive than on the standard model with bigger inlets to feed the engine that could put out as much as 500 horsepower from the 5.0-liter V-8 lifted off the LC500.
Talking about the LC, that too will spawn a sporty version in the form of the LC F. Again, we’ve already seen spy shots of the meaner LC, sporting a new bumper with huge chunks cut out of it to let air pass through, while testing in Germany. It has four exhaust tips at the back in the style of the original IS-F and some taillights that are oddly similar to those of the new Supra.
Performance wise, the LC F could boast the same naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 but with more oomph.
However, to differentiate itself from the RC F, it must come with even more power. Considering that the stock LC500 cranks out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet, the F version must have well over 500 ponies to impress. Word’s out that Lexus might actually outfit the car with a new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that might vault it in Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe territory with upwards of 600 horsepower. The Merc has 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque while the new BMW M8 is slated to offer over 600 horsepower.
Looking back, the original IS F had the same 416 horsepower that could urge on the new model and 371 pound-feet of torque. It had an 8-speed transmission and was described by the New York Times as "one of those cars whose limits are high enough to warp your perception of speed." In the article, it was also pointed out that "standing alone among the pragmatic Camrys, Corollas, and Highlanders is the uncouth IS-F, a car that proves Toyota still knows how to have fun." Now, though, things are different with Toyota bouncing back into the performance territory with the new Supra, a variety of upcoming TRD and Gazoo Racing-tuned models and much more. But still, a new IS F would be cool if done right, in the vein of the old one!
Read our full review on the current 2018 Lexus IS.
Read our full review on the previous 2014 Lexus IS F.
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lexus RC F GT.
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lexus LC F.