Lexus Wants To Rejoin The BMW M3 Fighting Business

Rumor / 11 Comments

But it will come at a cost.

The current generation Lexus IS never spawned a BMW M3-fighting IS F variant, and that was really a shame. Instead, Lexus focused on the GS F and RC F, the former being an M5 fighter. Neither experienced stellar sales and it doesn't appear that they'll be replaced when their respective product cycles come to an end. Fortunately, that's not the case for the IS.

According to Lexus Enthusiast, via Japanese language news site Response, the luxury brand not only wants to bring back the IS F, which was last sold back in 2014, but wants to do it right. That means horsepower and potentially lots of it. The report indicates the new IS F could come powered by the same 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the current LS 500 flagship sedan, where it produces 416 hp. This is the second time we've heard this rumor and we're happy to also report Lexus has yet to deny it.

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Clearly that won't be enough to effectively challenge the next M3, the Mercedes-AMG C63, or the Audi RS 4, so Lexus will definitely need to increase output but sources indicate that won't be a problem. And because the GS and GS F will very likely soon be gone completely, Lexus will increase the size of the IS in order to help fill the segment gap.

The latest BMW 3 Series has also grown in size compared to its immediate predecessor, and Lexus apparently has no problem doing the same. But while the new M3 is due to arrive in about a year, we likely won't see the reborn IS F until around 2022, at the earliest.

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The reason for this is because the next-gen IS has to arrive first, likely for 2020. Expect it to ride on Toyota's new TNGA platform and come powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four with 185 hp connected to an electric motor for higher total output. A newly developed turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four with just over 300 hp is up for consideration as well. A 10-speed automatic transmission will likely be paired with at least one of those engines and, possibly, the twin-turbo V6.

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