Is the Lexus IS F Being Discontinued?

Lexus IS F

In his review of the 2013 Lexus IS F, James Healey of USA Today claims that the high-performance sedan will be discontinued:

The redesigned 2014 Lexus IS model that’s going on sale this summer will have sport variants, but no F high-performance version. The 2013 is so truly, lovably, enjoyably sporty that it seems quite odd for a brand seeking a sportier image — which it swears it’ll earn through its products rather than its marketing — to discontinue it.

But as a consolation prize, Lexus says it’ll keep the 2013 IS F on sale through year’s end.

Given the context and the lack of an official statement, there’s a few different ways to look at this information:

  1. Healey could be unaware that most high-performance variants (like the IS F or BMW M3) are released a couple years after the standard model.
  2. It could be a guess by Healey, with the thought that the IS F SPORT will replace the IS F in the lineup.
  3. A Lexus source told Healey the IS F will indeed be cancelled.

The first possibility seems unlikely when Healey directly references the unavailability of the BMW M3 in his article — that leaves a guessing game between the second & third options.

For the sake of argument, let’s jump straight to the possibility that there will not be a new super-sedan based on the third-generation IS — why would Lexus cancel its most powerful model when performance is clearly a major focus for the brand?

It could be for a simple reason — rather than a high-performance sedan, Lexus might prefer to center their resources on a high-performance coupe.

Consider these facts — a production coupe based on the LF-CC as been all but confirmed by the president of Lexus International, Lexus has already trademarked RC & RC F as the nameplate of the new coupe, and even the chief engineer was taciturn when answering a recent question about the IS F:

“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]…”

This leads to a bigger question — even if this rumor ends up being false, which model would most enthusiasts choose if there was an IS F & RC F in the Lexus lineup?

[Source: USA Today] (Thanks everyone!)