New IS F rendering based on 2021 Lexus IS
First-gen IS F launched at the 2007 NAIAS
Original car was powered by a massive 5.0-litre V8
The 2007 North American International Show was a big one for Lexus. That’s where the Japanese manufacturer moved away from purely comfortable and refined cars, and jumped into the performance arena with a production version of the Lexus IS F and a second concept of a model that would become the Lexus LFA.
The first Lexus IS F that arrived on the market was something special. The car had been designed by Yukihiko Yaguchi who had previously worked on the Supra and its suspension had been tuned on the Fuji speedway.
A 5.0-litre V8 sent 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels exclusively. That was a lot more than the BMW M3 (414 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque) and Audi S4 (340 hp and 302 pound-feet of torque) of that era delivered. The IS F was actually in Audi RS4/Mercedes-AMG C63 territory, and it had the performance to please even the most hardcore of enthusiasts.
In simpler terms, it wasn’t your typical Lexus. It was wide, low, and its quad stacked exhaust tips were a novelty at the time. They were so impressive that Ferrari took the design for its eventual California.
The Lexus IS F survived until 2014, but was left out of the IS redesign in 2015. Since then we’ve had the Lexus RC F and the Lexus GS F as well as F Sport versions of various IS models, but IS F remains a memory.
With the new 2021 Lexus IS unveiled yesterday, Lexus has a clean slate to start working on a new performance IS. We’re not sure if Lexus would even consider it, the success of the RC F and GS F being mitigated. Still, we can certainly hope.
If they were to bring back the 2021 Lexus IS F, this is what it could look like. We’ve kept the rear stacked tips, of course, as well as the wide body design and bulging hood of the original IS F.
There’s a better chance a twin-turbo 6-cylinder engine would power the IS F, but Lexus could use the 5.0-litre V8 from the RC F with 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque.
Rendering by Nicolas Cavero via FutureCarsNow