Spotted: Next-Gen Lexus IS Testing Under IS F Convertible Skin

Automobile Staff

Hot off the releases of the new 2013 GS, LX, RX, and ES models, Lexus is turning its attention to its LS flagship that will be revealed later this month. Next up? The IS compact sports sedan – and our colleagues at Motor Trend caught one testing on the Nürburgring.

At first glance this may look like Lexus is testing a convertible version of its hotter IS F performance sedan. However, according to our sources, this is actually a test mule for the chassis and suspension setup for the next-generation IS, which is due to be revealed before the end of the year. The new car is expected to be wider than the current car, which could explain the use of the flared IS F body.

Not much is known about the new IS, but it's expected that it will grow to better compete with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and Infiniti G. The current car is powered by either a 2.5-liter or 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic with rear- or all-wheel drive. Customers can choose between a sedan or a hardtop convertible, or the sedan-only IS F, which boasts a 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. (All three variants of the current car are pictured below.)

If this is, in fact, simply a tester for the IS F Convertible, it's a little strange to see such a chopped-up car on the 'Ring. Our source told us that the F-spec droptop was actually ready for production back in 2009, and that there is a slight chance the model could see a limited run as a sendoff for the current generation IS. If an IS F Convertible does surface, expect it to carry over the same upgrades as the sedan: namely, the 5.0-liter V-8, stacked exhaust, and bulging hood. Either way, we'll find out within the next few months as we get closer to the new IS' reveal.

Source: Motor Trend

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