The Lexus IS F, Japan's answer to the European BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63, has been with us since its introduction at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. The first-generation sedan is fitted with the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 (2UR-GSE) from Toyota, a powerplant shared with the hybrid Lexus LS 600h. Tuned by Yamaha, the engine is rated at 416 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 371 pound-feet of torque at 5,200. Mated to a wet eight-speed automatic, the current rear-wheel drive IS is good for a 0-60 sprint in about 4.6 seconds.
But natural aspiration and big displacement is so last year. BMW has confirmed that the next-generation M3 will drop its V8 in favor of a turbocharged inline-six, and it is just a matter of time before the C63 drops its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 for the automaker's twin-turbo 5.5-liter. Both engines will supply gobs of enthusiast-pleasing torque down low, and much better fuel efficiency – trademarks of today's advanced forced-induction engines.
The replacement is reportedly much larger than the current IS (with a dashboard inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar), and the new sedan will need to meet or exceed the power of its Euro rivals to be competitive. That means 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, assuming the rivals hold power at their current levels.
We recently asked Lexus about rumors that the next-generation IS F will follow the same path. While nobody would confirm that the range-topping successor would have a smaller turbocharged engine, the executives admitted with a sly smile that such an approach does have its advantages. They didn't need to say more.
As Lexus doesn't have an obvious turbocharged solution in its current lineup, what do you think will end up under the hood in 2014? And, now that Toyota and BMW have inked a new collaboration, what about the possibility of Lexus borrowing a BMW-sourced engine for its next-gen IS F (much like the Subaru deal for the Scion FR-S)? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.