The rumor mills are churning again. Road and Track magazine are reporting that a new generation of the Lexus IS is in the works and will probably make its debut sometime in 2013. Sources reveal that Toyota engineers have started working on a four-door sedan version of Toyota’s FT-86 with a more luxurious version expected to be sold worldwide as the 2014 Lexus IS.
Toyota had debuted its FT-86 platform at the Tokyo motor show in 2009. The FT-86 can be thought of as the successor to Toyota’s Corolla Levin AE-86, and will make its presence felt from June 2012.
The next-generation Lexus IS will ride on a stretched version of the FT-86 chassis, allowing Toyota to spread the development costs between the two models.
The new IS will reportedly feature a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder mill, both engines based on Subaru’s horizontally-opposed boxer designs. The high-performance IS-F variant will retain a V-8 engine but could additionally feature an optional six-speed manual transmission. The Lexus will miss out on the turbocharged 2.0-liter ‘boxer’ engine destined for the Toyota and Subaru versions of the car.
Toyota chief Akio Toyoda is keen on sprucing Toyota’s image into one with a more determined emphasis on sport and performance, so we expect the next IS will look and perform sportier than the current model.
Since none of these developments have been officially confirmed, we can imagine the new IS could also come with potentially hybrid propulsion and even a wagon variant.
The current IS model’s power source is a 2.5-liter V6, good for 204 bhp and 185 pound-feet of torque.
The standard equipment list is a long one. Naturally, all the requisite safety features are on board, including front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and stability control. Major options include adaptive bi-xenon HID headlights, heated/ventilated front seats, a surround-sound Mark Levinson audio system with a CD/DVD changer, a navigation system with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control and Bluetooth. There’s also an X package, which is essentially a sport package that provides bigger wheels, high-performance tires, firmer suspension calibrations, aluminum pedals and a front lip spoiler.
In the United States, the current model retails in the $30,000 – $35,000 range.