• The BMW M3 Has Lexus Spooked So Bad that there Won’t Be a Next-Gen IS F

Is the BMW M3 and AMG C63 so good that Lexus is afraid to compete?

When Lexus launched the current IS, it completely forgot about the IS F in order to focus on the RC F sports coupe and its various iterations. Now, it looks like that trend is going to continue as Lexus has, reportedly, no intention of introducing a new IS F when the fourth generation launches in 2020 or 2021.

Without an IS F Lexus Can’t Compete with the BMW M3, Mercedes-AMG C63, or Audi RS 4

The BMW M3 Has Lexus Spooked So Bad that there Won't Be a Next-Gen IS F High Resolution Exterior
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With the current crop of high-performance, midsize luxury cars like the BMW M3, AMG C63, and Audi RS4 all raking in crazy sales and profits, it’s mind-blowing that Lexus has no intention of venturing back into this segment again. But, the writing on the wall is clear as day. In an interview with Motoring, Lexus Australia’s Chief Executive, Scott Thompson, was asked about the next-gen IS F and his replay was troubling:

“How do I answer that question? It’s one of my favorite cars that we’ve ever produced, [but] there’s no plans at the moment [to release another one]”

The BMW M3 Has Lexus Spooked So Bad that there Won't Be a Next-Gen IS F High Resolution Exterior
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No plans to release another one. That’s what he said, and there’s no real reason behind it that has been brought forward so far. Lexus previously said that it would bring down the 3.5-liter V-6 from the LC500 into the IS lineup to power the new IS F. It’s also be said that Lexus is working on a twin-turbo V-8 – one that would rival that 4.0-liter V-8 in the AMG C63 – for its hardcore F models, however, that’s pure speculation and Lexus has remained relatively tight-lipped about this.

2014 Lexus IS F specifications
Displacement 5.0 liters (4,969 cm3/303.2 cu. in.)
Bore x Stroke 3.70 in. x 3.52 in.
Compression Ratio 11.8:1
Horsepower (SAE) 416 @ 6,600 RPM
Torque 371 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 RPM
Maximum Engine Speed (redline) 6,800 RPM
Transmission Type Eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shift and manual mode
0-60 mph Acceleration 4.6 Sec.
Top Track Speed 170 MPH (Limited)
Quarter-Mile Acceleration 13.0 Sec.
EPA Estimated Fuel Economy (city/highway/combined mpg) 16/23/18

This still doesn’t answer as to why Lexus won’t introduce a new IS F. Well, the company believes that the RC F, GS F, and LC 500 fill the gap left in the lineup without the IS F in play. The problem is that these models are significantly more expensive, and it begs to reason that Lexus is hoping it can suck in more money by limiting access to the F branded models – remember, the IS F was the entry-level F model.

The BMW M3 Has Lexus Spooked So Bad that there Won't Be a Next-Gen IS F High Resolution Exterior
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Here at Topspeed, however, we have the theory that Lexus is afraid to compete in the high-performance midsize sedan segment. Think about it. The AMG C63 and BMW M3, for example, are the best of the best. For Lexus to truly compete, it would have to be able to take them on with the IS F, and right now it just can’t do that without bringing down power from the LC500. Pair this with the increasingly stringent emissions regulations and targets, and it begs to reason that Lexus is spooked for one reason or another. Maybe it’s the M3 and C63, or maybe it’s the fact that the company can’t build an engine that’s able to keep up while meeting emissions regulations.

Either way, the end result is the same – there is no IS F for the current model, and it doesn’t like there will be an IS F when the fourth-gen IS is introduced in the next couple of years. The IS F was expected to return for the 2022 model year, so I guess we’ll find out for sure then, but if you’re a betting man (or woman), I wouldn’t put my money on there being one then or in the foreseeable future.

The BMW M3 Has Lexus Spooked So Bad that there Won't Be a Next-Gen IS F High Resolution Exterior
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Source: Motoring

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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