Lexus Trademarks IS 300 and RC 300
Trademarks are often worth just about as much as the paper the company filed them on, but some stand out more than others. Two recent trademarks that stand out are the IS 300 and RC 300 by Lexus.
While it isn’t odd to see a “300” trailing the letters in a Lexus name, what is odd is the lack of an “h” after the “300.” This “h” is a signal that the model is a hybrid, and it follows the only other “300” model in Lexus’s lineup, the 2013 Lexys ES 300h. So what is Lexus doing here?
In all of Lexus’ non-hybrid models, the numbers in the name indicate the engine size; for example, the RC 350, ES 350, IS 350, and GS 350 all have a 3.5-liter V-6, while the GX 460 has a 4.6-liter V-8, and the LX 570 has a 5.7-liter V-8. Logic says that Lexus is working on a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine, right?
This may not be the case, as some reports are indicating that the IS 300 and RC 300 will use an updated version of the current 3.5-liter V-6. While I appreciate the report, I cannot find any logical reason for Lexus to completely mess up its naming scheme by installing a 3.5-liter V-6 engine in an IS 300 or RC 300. It simply doesn’t make sense.
I think the more obvious answer, and the correct one, is the initial thought that Lexus is working on a new 3.0-liter V-6 engine. This makes me wonder if a turbocharger or two may be in order too, helping the IS 300 and RC 300 better match up with the 340i and the 440i (if Bimmer releases one), which produce 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. This is 14 horsepower and 53 pound-feet more torque than the RC 350 and IS 350. Adding in a potent V-6 with a turbocharger seems like the logical move in the near future.
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Why it matters
In their current forms, the IS 350 and RC 350 are slower to 60 mph than the existing 335i and 435i by 0.5 seconds and 1.1 seconds, respectively. These numbers will only get worse once the 340i and the potential 440i hit the market. In fact, we already know that the 340i is 0.9 second quicker to 60 mph than the current IS 350, and I can only assume that the 440i would be 1.5 seconds quicker than the RC 350.
This information makes it clear that the IS and RC are in need of some changes to keep up with the two Bimmer models. The only realistic way to close that gap will be an updated gearbox and a turbocharged V-6, which again seem likely given the new RC 300 and IS 300 trademarks. Only time will tell, but I am feel that this is the most logical move.
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