We’ve heard rumblings that the new 2014 Lexus IS would soon spawn a two-door coupe variant for quite some time. Now, our spy photographer caught what appear to be two 2015 Lexus IS F coupes testing in Germany on the hallowed Nurburgring.
Rumors of a new IS coupe date back to 2012, when Lexus previewed the revamped 2014 IS range with the two-door LF-CC concept at the Paris Motor Show. That car proved to be a template for the 2014 IS, but these two IS F coupe mules are even closer to the original show car. The rakish roofline smoothly transitions into the rear decklid; quarter windows curve upwards into the C-pillars, while the pillars themselves gently fold over around into the rear backlight.
A number of cues indicate these prototypes are the performance-oriented 2015 IS F, and not a less-powerful IS 350 coupe. The projector headlamps and dark bezels are similar to that used on the 2014 IS 350 F Sport, but the lower front fascia – complete with giant lower air intakes patterned after the LFA supercar – is all-new. The small hood scoop is a new touch, but our photographer indicates it appears to be a functional duct.
Out back, the test cars also sport a small ducktail spoiler on the decklid, and a quartet of diagonally-stacked exhaust tips – both IS F hallmarks since the model’s introduction in 2007. All fenders appear to be flared in order to accommodate a wider wheel/tire package, but the rear fenders are absolutely gargantuan, bulging from the coupe’s flared sheetmetal like Marty Feldman’s corneas.
What we don’t know, however, is what lurks within the IS F’s engine compartment. Given the new 2014 Lexus IS’ 2.5-liter and 3.5-liter V-6 engines were carried over to the third-generation car with little change, one school of thought holds the next-generation Lexus IS F could soldier on with its 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. Another school of thought holds Lexus could use the IS F to showcase a performance-oriented hybrid driveline, similar to that rumored to be under development for a production version of the LF-LC concept.
Judging by recent comments from Junichi Furuyama, chief engineer of the latest Lexus IS, either option seems unlikely to become reality.
“That V-8 is a little difficult to meet Euro 6 [emission standards],” Furuyama told Australian outlet The Motor Report. “The engine has a high performance focus, so the combustion condition is more severe than normal engines. To produce more power and torque it runs leaner. That is the problem. We probably need a new engine for the F model.”
Could that engine be a downsized engine – say a six-cylinder – fitted with some means of forced induction? After all, BMW’s next M3 will sport a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder, and the forthcoming Cadillac ATS-V is rumored to make use of GM’s new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6. Furuyama seems open to such a solution, but told Motor Report his team would have to combat against turbo lag. “Natural aspiration is one of our strong points,” he continued, “and is a more pure experience.”
As for an IS F hybrid? Furuyama concedes the Lexus IS F could become a hybrid “in the future,” but suggests that transformation won’t happen for this generation of IS F.
As if there wasn’t enough speculation surrounding these 2015 Lexus IS F prototypes, there’s talk that they may not even bear the IS F name. Lexus has recently filed trademarks for the RC 350 and RC F names, potentially indicating the next-generation IS two-door may pull a BMW 4 Series and be sold under a different name.
Source: Motor Report, Motor Trend