Come next year, things may get interesting for the Lexus IS, a car that currently is not the first to jump to mind when one thinks of compact, rear-wheel-drive sports sedans. The IS is rumored to be getting a major makeover for 2021, the most notable element of which is said to be the arrival of a V8-powered version. Don’t call it an IS F, however; the model instead will be known as the IS 500.
None of the above is official — the source of the V8 rumor is an Instagram post from allcarsnews, as surfaced by thedrive.com. As has been previously reported, the IS is going in for a major makeover for 2021, one that this outlet characterizes as being less than a complete redesign. It will, however, bring revised sheetmetal mirroring the look of the Lexus LS as well as a new interior. While the current engine lineup is said to carry over, this report says it will be joined by the brand’s naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. That engine powered the IS F, which was dropped after the 2014 model year, but in the 2021 car it, strangely, will be sold as the IS 500. That’s the rumor, anyway.
In the IS F, Toyota’s 5.0-liter V8 made 416 horsepower and 371 lb-ft of torque. Currently, in the RC F coupe, it’s putting out 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. The IS 500 and its V8 would join an IS engine lineup that consists of a 2.0-liter turbo four with 241 horsepower and a 260-hp 3.5-liter V6 in the IS 300, plus a 311-hp 3.5-liter V6 in the IS 350. Today’s sportiest variant is the IS 350 F-Sport Blackline Edition (pictured).
If true, this could be a brief last hurrah for Toyota’s 5.0L V8. Previous reports have claimed that by 2022, Toyota and Lexus plan to eliminate V8s from any vehicle costing less than $90k, and as part of that move, Toyota will drop its 5.7-liter truck engine as well.