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A V8 Engine for the Regular Version of the Lexus IS in 2021?

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While the trend in recent years is to reduced displacement, a surprising rumour has it that a V8 engine is being planned for inclusion in one of the regular versions of the Lexus IS for 2021. This would in fact be an IS 500 variant, to join the lineup when the model gets a major upgrade for the 2021 model-year.

Not so long ago, the IS was available in an IS F version, which came with a thundering V8 engine. Despite its undeniable qualities, that variant generated little interest and was cast aside by Lexus. The F version as such wouldn't be brought back to the catalogue as such; only the engine.
Let’s keep in mind that none of this is confirmed, In fact, the source of the rumour is an Instagram post from the Allcarsnews site, dug up by That's a lot of middlemen, but then that doesn’t mean the rumour might not be true.

As for what's expected for the IS in 2021, the model will surely get cosmetic upgrades to harmonize its styling with that of the grand dame of the Lexus lineup, the LS; the interior will also be redesigned. Remember that the latest redesign dates back to 2014, so a makeover won't hurt the model going forward.

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Lexus IS, trois quarts arrière
Photo: D.Heyman
Lexus IS, trois quarts arrière

If the current engines were to be renewed, certainly the arrival of a V8 engine would invigorate the IS family, especially since it's impossible to find a V8 among competing models unless you go for downright high-performance versions. With the RC F coupe, the two-door version of the IS, this unit offers 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque.

As for the other powertrains that might return, they include a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 241 hp, as well as a 3.5L V6 with output ranging from 260 hp with the IS 300 version to 311 with the IS 350.

If the rumour is confirmed, the adventure could be short-lived, though. Toyota and Lexus plan to eliminate V8s from all vehicles costing less than $90,000 by 2022. Even the Tundra's 5.7L engine would be sacrificed.

Still, thoughts of a V8 give us our dreams sustenance.

Stay tuned.

Our review of the 2019 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport