Spy Shots of the Next-Gen IS F at the 'Ring
With the launch of the Lexus F marque in 2007, this ultimately became a turning point for performance in the Lexus brand. Since there have been no significant changes to IS F in terms of power and look, we expect that there will be more for the next generation IS and of course IS F. So what exactly is next and what should we expect and when?
What is F?
It all started with a skunkworks team of rogue Toyota gearheads that decided it was proper to inject the Intelligent Sedan with strength. The luxury division of the a little loom works firm is carefully crafting its plan to attack its prey. The prey of course is the BMW M and Mercedes Benz AMG.
The 2nd Generation IS:
It's a given that that the current generation Lexus IS is on the latter half of it's lifecycle but if you take a look at the current 2nd Generation IS history, there has been no powertrain tweaks other than the addition of the 5.0L 2UR-GSE V8 for the IS F. A two door option finally came in 2010 but it came as a convertible only. We've been hoping for a regular two door hard top coupe and a manual transmission for the 3.5L 2GR-FSE V6 variant but that never surfaced.
So when will the 2nd Generation IS lifecycle end you may ask? Thankfully, the current IS has aged very gracefully since 2005 but it's definitely time for the 3rd Generation IS to have more than just a few options. Nothing has been officially announced from Lexus but our guesses for the next IS are for 2014 or 2015. Lexus & Toyota used to follow a very predictable 5 year lifecycle on most of their models, but now it's been stretched out with several mid cycle refreshes.
2nd Generation IS Timeline:
- 2004: LF-C concept surfaced in 2004 at the New York Auto Show, it was a hint at the next IS would be like.
- 2005: 2nd Gen IS was introduced as 2006 model.
- 2007: IS F with 5.0L 2UR-GSE V8 debuted in Detroit as a 2008 model, Limited Edition Nieman Marcus Edition IS F during launch.
- 2009: IS line gets exterior and interior trim tweaks.
- 2010: The IS Convertible is born; Standard Torsen LSD, new wheels and new interior trim for IS F
- 2011: New front and rear fascia designs for IS sedan, suspension and steering revisions for the whole IS line, LED DRL's become standard on HID equipped IS.
- 2012: More IS F suspension and steering tweaks including new BBS Wheel and Exterior/Interior trim colors.
- 2013: Possible carryover from 2012?
IS F Convertible or IS C F?
So what exactly does the IS F Convertible recently spotted at Nürburgring signify? Well for starters, we're confident that the black drop top is some sort of test mule disguised by a IS Convertible body with IS F parts. It's a given that the next generation IS will share modified versions of the current GS' underpinnings. Since the introduction of the IS in 2001, it has shared parts of the chassis and suspension from its bigger brother GS. If our speculation is right, the Lexus engineers are purposely using an IS convertible to develop the strongest and stiffest chassis for the next car. Since convertibles are prone to chassis flex and cowl shake, it would make sense to develop and improve the weakest link. Power is what we want. The next IS F should have more power. Sources have speculated a new IS F V8 with 450+ horsepower and hopefully a transmission that is properly mated to the V8. The current IS F 8 speed auto is great, but there are simply too many gears. It is a modified version of the Aisin AA80E which originated from the LS 460 flagship. The MPG's are great but IS F needs a proper performance gearbox. DCT, SMG, or even a conventional 6 speed manual transmission, we know Aisin makes those and have done so for Toyota & Lexus in the past!
The competition for the IS is growing and we feel that the next IS should include specific "F" versions of every variant they make. Be it a sedan, coupe, convertible or wagon, we want to see a real coupe first! With all this buzz about It this IS F Convertible, it makes you wonder if it has anything to do with what's to come at the upcoming 2012 Paris Motor Show starting at the end of September.
So what do you think? What do you want to see with the next IS F? Lets talk about it! >>