Chief engineer of the current-generation Lexus IS F Yukihiro Yaguchi has revealed the track-only IS F CCS-R – or Circuit Club Sport Racer – is being used as a benchmark for the next-generation production IS F.
“Next-generation benchmark is this car [IS F CCS-R] … for handling and acceleration performance,” Yaguchi-san begins. “This car is every man can drive it. It’s approachable for a wide range.”
The IS F CCS-R uses the same 5.0-litre non-turbo V8 engine as in the regular IS F, producing 311kW of power and 505Nm of torque, driving through an eight-speed automatic to the rear wheels.
The chief engineer answered “maybe no” to the question of whether the next IS F could downsize to a V6 engine, and completely ruled out hybrid power – answering “no”.
He also, however, refused to confirm whether turbocharging a V8 engine is being considered, though meeting increasingly tightening emissions regulations is, he believes, possible using a V8 engine.
The fellow chief engineer of the entire new Lexus IS program also confirmed that the IS F would still need a raised bonnet to fit a V8 engine, signalling the current car’s ‘power bulge’ would be a maintained styling feature of the next-generation model.
Yaguchi-san, meanwhile, instead pointed to weight reduction techniques as more of a priority for the next IS F.
“We’d like to reduce the weight as much as possible with the next IS F,” Yaguchi-san continued. “Just reducing weight is not the [only] target, having a better feeling of driving is the real target.”
Asked whether he would like to use more carbonfibre technology in the next IS F, Yaguchi-san also confirmed “yes I would like to”, adding that the main aim for the new IS F is to offer “even higher performance to even more people.”
The IS F CCS-R uses high-strength but lightweight carbonfirbre-reinforced polymer material in the front spoiler and guards, bonnet, roof, rear lid and interior trim to contribute to a 1400kg kerb weight – a full 290kg less than a standard IS F (above), which, admittedly, also gets a full interior with seats, proper electrics, sound insulation and glass.
The production racer also gets racing suspension with harder bushings and mounts, and camber adjustable front upper arms.
But Yaguchi-san denied suggestions that basing a next-generation performance V8 sedan on a stripped-out race-ready package would affect the car’s liveability.
“Actually the racing car nowadays, the suspension is really softer and the handling is kind of easier, so in a sense these kind of things can be utilised,” he opined.
“It [IS F CCS-R] uses special parts, but our hope is to have a kind of direct handling this car has in a kind of mass production car.”
CarAdvice tested the IS F CCS-R and a standard IS F at Fuji speedway, south of Tokyo, this week and found phenomenal differences in both their performance and handling characteristics.
The next-generation IS F will also be twinned with an RC F coupe, the latter of which is all but confirmed to debut before the IS F sedan at the Detroit motor show in January – only two months after the RC’s first public appearance at the Tokyo motor show.
Several spy shots also show that Lexus is readying a GS F (above) to follow. Based on the Lexus IS platform, it is likely this model will debut either a turbocharged or hybrid powetrain version of the naturally aspirated V8 IS F.
Asked how the next-generation Lexus IS F program is going, Yaguchi-san replied “very well … it’s proceeding very well” before nodding quietly at the suggestion a production version was about a year or less away…