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by Daniel DeGasperi

Lexus IS chief engineer, Junichi Furuyama (above left), has confirmed that small capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engines are being considered for the new sedan, while a wagon variant has been rejected.

Speaking at the Detroit auto show, where the third-generation Lexus IS made its official debut, the chassis chief said that Lexus “still have some time to consider” whether the existing 2.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 would be replaced by a smaller, boosted engine.

“Turbocharged downsizing engine is something that we keep as one of the options,” added Furuyama-san.

“Currently we are considering whether or not we should maintain the current naturally aspirated V6 engine, or we should shift to turbocharged downsizing.”

Both the 2.5- and 3.5-litre V6 engines carry over from the previous-generation IS, which launched in 2005, but the smaller engine is a decade old, having debuted in the 2003 Toyota Crown Royal.

While the larger-capacity V6 gets both direct and port injection to maximise efficiency, and mates in the new car with an eight-speed automatic borrowed from the GS, the small V6 utilises direct-only injection and retains a six-speed auto.

The 4GR-FSE 2.5-litre engine’s 154kW and 252Nm outputs are unchanged in the new Lexus IS, despite the car being heavier than the old one.

Furuyama-san claims his team “tried to reduce the weight as much as possible [with new IS], but engine to engine comparison, the new one is about 20kg heavier than the old one”.

The outgoing Lexus IS250 claimed 0-100km/h in 8.8 seconds, so the new car will be marginally slower. Without turbocharged boost, the 2.5-litre needs 4800 revs to produce its peak torque; a BMW 320i with its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder makes its full 270Nm from 1250 revs all the way to 4500rpm.

Although the entry Lexus IS250 won’t keep performance and economy pace with its German rivals, the four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid Lexus IS300h will target CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km and fuel consumption below 4.3L/100km, while delivering 162kW – comfortably beating the diesel BMW 318d and Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI.

In addition to considering a smaller-capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Furuyama-san admitted that a wagon version of the new IS was considered, but ultimately rejected.

“The wagon, there is a strong demand in European markets for a Lexus sports-wagon type. We do recognise that.

“However, more than half of Lexus sales are achieved in the North American market, and there is almost no demand or very little demand for sports-type wagon in the North American market, so we examined very carefully and very seriously for the possibility, but we came to the conclusion that this wagon is not viable business option.

“At this moment, we don’t have any particular plan.”

Nor are there immediate plans to replace the current five-year-old Lexus IS F, with Furuyama-san claiming that the company is still assessing its options for the next-generation compact performance flagship.

“Well, IS F, so many people express very strong interest in IS F, and they all ask the same question [when a new model is coming],” mused Furuyama-san.

“For the time being, our plan is to retain the current model for a while. As to what we are going to do next, I’m not in a position of disclosing.

“All I can say is we’re thinking very hard about what we should [do]…”

  • F1orce

    The Hybrid IS300H should be pretty good compromise..

    I don’t see the point of diesels or turbocharged engines when there are Hybrids.

    • Robin_Graves

      The thing is, unless it’s a plug in hybrid, all the energy comes from the ice. If it’s efficiency they are chasing then N/A V6 comes a sorry last.

      • F1orce

        Hybrids are far more efficient than ordinary ICEs

        Fuel consumption is far less and for comparison sake the Camry Hybrid is faster than the standard Camry.

        • Robin_Graves

          Hybrids are driven by ‘ordinary ice’ unless its a plugin. All the energy is going into the car from a bowser. The only difference is regenerative braking and some use atkinson cycle petrol engines. A diesel hybrid is much better than a petrol hybrid. A non hybrid diesel is much better than a hybrid petrol unless its driven in stop start traffic. On the highway hybrid is just an expensive overweight petrol. 

  • Kaas

    Wagon would of been sweet…. ISF Wagon!!

    • Smart US

      im with you… toyota has no wagons in the offer – i mean wagon no SUV… Liberty GT is the only wagon option then… not mention the engine spec – is that serious??? toyota???

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, i normally prefer the wagon version for the better looks (sometimes) and better load carrying capability

  • guest

    hope they keep a manual on the plate

  • Able

    No wagon actually makes me really quite sad, especially when a post on Lexus’ Facebook page almost confirmed it. The original IS SportCross (never sold here) was a fantastic car. The new IS isn’t shaping up to be that.

    • Kipp

      Yeah, they just shouldn’t have done that IS SportCross teaser, without being completely sure that it was going to happen. Oh well, people will get over it.

  • Zaccy16

    either update the 2.5 v6 or use turbo charging or it will be left behind by rivals in the lower spec models

    • F1orce

      The price difference between lowest spec and top engine spec is very little compared with what the Germans charge.

      And now that there’s a third option, that price gap will be further be decreased.

  • Otto

    My friend has the IS250 and despite the small displacement V6 it goes alright

    Nothin groundbreaking but it does go, for 90% of people it’s more than enough

    One area where it rally exceeds is the refinement, very smooth power

    • Otto


  • guest

    Last winter, due to a family illness. I drove my brothers IS250 between Lake Tarawera and the Hamilton hospital 5 times return a week. Over the ranges and on the windy NZ roads , with frost and some ice, this car performed beautifully. Heaps of power , quiet and good handling. To me it was all the car I would ever want. Some people are never satisfied. Id love one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lawrencetlc Lawrence Tay Lee Chen

    they should design a turbocharged 2.5L engine with a hybrid.
    that should be able to make 250kw with 4L/100km.
    if they manage to do this, they would be able to beat the mercedes’ recent announcement of turbo diesel hybrid.

  • Realist.

    If the IS300 is about a $6-8K premium over the IS250 as would be expected then you should be comparing its figures the C250 CDI which will slay it for performance even if it falls behind on power and consumption it still knocks out 500Nm from 1600rpm which isn’t going to happen in the Hybrid.

    • Asdf

      It might be pushing it a bit to say that the IS300 would be at a $6-8K premium over the IS250, especially considering that the IS250 and IS350 currently have a price gap of only $8.5K. Add to this the fact that the C250 CDI starts above the IS350, CA isn’t wrong to compare the IS300’s figures to the C200 CDI.

    • F1orce

      Compare th C200 to the IS300h.

      I would like to see a drag race between the C250 and IS300h

      The base C200 is terrible with that buzzy and thrashy motor.
      Personally I would IS250>>>C200

      • Guest12

        Drag race ?
        Once again you publicly confirm your immaturity.

  • Al Tungupon

    BMW, so far, has done it best with the smaller displacement turbo engines, their masterpiece being the one in the 328i. It has great performance and even more commendable efficiency. It’s also ironic that BMW said they would never ever ever, be building forced induction motors.

    Lexus needs to follow suit if they want to compete with the Germans more seriously. It is great to build luxury cars that are also impeccably reliable, but they also need to match performance and economy. There’s no doubt that Toyota can build turbos again.

  • Maple Leaf

    I would worked from the ISF which is Lexus’s hero car (not counting the LFA). Lexus are trying to build a performance image, surely the ISF would have showcased their abilities. I will take that 2.5 V6 anyday over a turbocharged 4.

  • Joe

    a newer car which is SLOWER and wayyyyy UGLIER….good one lexus…

  • Lee


  • Kzxce

    The thing was that before we made the purchase of IS250 we did drive the C200 and it felt much more sluggish compared to the lex. and the engine was very loud. Even for 4 Cyl standards

  • Jack

    I would say its a wiser move to shift from a 6 cylinder to a 4 cylinder turbo. The engine would more then likely be lighter, more torque from lower in the rev range and easier to tune for future models as opposed to a NA 6 cylinder.

  • Humball

    is250 is perfectly adequate performance wise its actually builds speed before you even know it

  • Sumpguard

    This new IS is growing on me by the day. From some angles it is really stunning to look at. I looked at the previous model from the rear and wondered how on earth they could improve it yet they have managed to do just that.

  • klowik

    Toyota always finds a way to save money in their new cars. Basically, they just need to change th  front and back a bit and the interior, use the same 10 years old engine, that’s why their cars are so reliable…