Originally Posted by Drive.co.au
July 9, 2013
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Will it be a coupe, SUV, wagon or something completely different?
Lexus says it will be flat out over the next two years with a range of new models under development.
But Lexus IS chief engineer Junichi Furuyama says the brand is still trying to figure out what whether a new small SUV, sporty IS-based coupe or wagon - or something completely different - will be the next new model from the Japanese luxury car maker.
“There are many jobs for us, many shopping lists for the new development of vehicles,” says Furuyama-san. “So, how to manage the priorities of the new vehicles: coupe, we need a coupe; wagon, is a strong request in Europe; and a bigger SUV is a strong request from the US. There are many requests from the global [market].”
Furuyama-san says Lexus is in discussions with its distributors from around the world to gauge feedback on which model would be the most effective for each market.
“Of course, US say ‘oh, the bigger SUV is number one’, and Europe says ‘no, no, no - we don’t need a bigger SUV, we need a wagon or small SUV’; so we have to manage many requests from global, and make a decision which model is the first priority and which model is the most efficient,” he says.
Furuyama-san says in an “ideal” situation, the brand would be able to offer a number of IS variants.
“That is the ideal. I want to have all variants - like BMW, or Audi, or Mercedes-Benz - they all have sedan, wagon, coupe, convertible and also the Gran Turismo,” he says referring the the 3-Series lineup's latest addition. “I can’t believe why they can produce such kind of many variants. We don’t have such resources.”
Furuyama-san says he would personally like to see a coupe version of the IS model most, similar to the LF-CC concept model, or some sort of “hot” model to bring more emotion to the brand.
He says a coupe (for its “pure” appeal), convertible (“very emotional”) or an all-new IS-F model are all on the table.
“I understand that IS-F model for the Lexus is very important. I will carefully investigate how to create the next F model,” he says, but he wouldn’t be drawn to comment on timing for the new performance hero model.
“I cannot say exactly when right now. At least I can say right now that the current IS-F [will] continue to sell for a while. But in future, I don’t know.”
It’s uncertain whether the next-generation IS-F will again be offered with the potent 5.0-litre V8 engine with 311kW and 505Nm, partly because the styling of the new car - in particular, the bonnet, which features a pop-up mechanism for pedestrian crash protection - may limit the size of engine that will fit.
Furuyama-san says using the current V8 could be “difficult”, and claims the brand will “have to change the shape of the hood”, as it has done with the current, bulging version on the sporty model.