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Lexus Says 5.0-Liter V8 Isn't Going Anywhere

Interview / Comments

Hybrids haven't taken over (yet).

Look at the high-performance car segment today and you'll notice one major common denominator: the abandonment of naturally aspirated V8 engines for turbocharged and electrically boosted V8s and V6s. Even Ferrari is guilty of this practice. So is BMW and a host of others. But not Lexus, at least not yet. During a roundtable discussion at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show that included Lexus LC 500 (and LC Convertible Concept) and RC F Track Edition design chief, Tadao Mori, we were told there are no immediate plans to drop the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8.

"We consider the V8 as very important for car guys," Mori-san said. "But we need to consider the environmental impact, such as CAFE (standards) and luckily we can manage the whole brand. We have a good solution with the hybrid (engines).

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We have also considered integration for the future. But we will keep that engine (the 5.0-liter V8) for the enthusiasts, like me." Does this mean the V8 will not only stick around for the rumored LC F, but offer more horsepower?

"If the LC F is there then we need more power," is all Mori-san was able to say. He refused to detail how and where that extra power will be found, but we would not be entirely surprised to see that V8 linked to some sort of electric boost function. There have even been some rumors claiming a turbocharger could be added.

Today's LC 500 and RC F both produce 467 hp while the newly revealed RC F Track Edition, the most powerful production car Lexus has built since the LFA, increases that figure to 472 hp. The long-rumored and still not confirmed LC F could potentially increase that output closer to 500 ponies. We'll see. But at least Lexus has enough hybrids throughout its lineup that can support the 5.0-liter V8's continued existence.