Lexus IS: Third Generation

Next-Generation Lexus IS Sedan to get Twin-Turbo V6 F SPORT?

Lexus GS F Next-Generation

The Australian website Driving Enthusiast is claiming the next-generation Lexus IS sedan will be available with the 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine from the LS flagship:

The rumoured 2020 Lexus IS 400 isn’t set to be a full-cream performance model by F division, but more of a sub-performance version by its F Sport sector. It’s believed it will feature a range of performance-inspired features, such as large wheels hiding big brakes, sports suspension, and the usual F Sport treatment for the interior.

As for that engine. Lexus introduced its first turbocharged petrol engine, codenamed ‘V35A-FTS’, with the LS 500. The 3.5-litre twin-turbo unit essentially comes in to replace the naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6.

Let’s just be upfront — this news is coming from an unsubstantiated source, there’s nothing to back up these facts. However, the V35A-FTS twin-turbo V6 makes perfect sense in the next-generation IS sedan.

That said, 416 horsepower seems excessive in the standard model, and Lexus has yet offer serious performance upgrades with their F SPORT models. If the rumor is correct and the TTV6 is not meant for the next-generation IS F, then what powers that car?

(We could stack rumors on top of each other, and suggest a detuned version of the much-hyped twin-turbo 600-horsepower V8 for the IS F. Also, the image above was a rendering of the next-gen GS F and unrelated to the IS at all.)

Comments
CIF
The 2GR-FKS is a very poor fit for body-on-frame or heavier duty applications. I've driven the 4RX with the 2GR-FKS engine, and the engine is barely adequate for the unibody RX. It's not slow, but it's not fast at all and doesn't even feel powerful. It is merely adequate. Same thing with the fuel economy. It is not terrible, it is not amazing, it is only adequate. The 2GR-FKS in my opinion works fine for unibody applications, but definitely not body-on-frame.
This reminds me of what I said about the 1UR in the Tundra. It's fine in a smaller, lighter car (LS460) as the -FSE variant. The neutered -FE variant has lower compression and lacks direct injection. As such, it is an underperformer in the full-size truck.

More specific to the 2GR, as well as the 1UR; they are both oversquare. This leads to more rev-happy high-power engines. The problem is they then tend to lose some low-end torque. The Dynamic-Force engines are all undersquare (tall-narrow cylinders) and could correct some of the torque deficit without increasing displacement or resorting to turbocharging.
TheNerdyPotato
This reminds me of what I said about the 1UR in the Tundra. It's fine in a smaller, lighter car (LS460) as the -FSE variant. The neutered -FE variant has lower compression and lacks direct injection. As such, it is an underperformer in the full-size truck.

More specific to the 2GR, as well as the 1UR; they are both oversquare. This leads to more rev-happy high-power engines. The problem is they then tend to lose some low-end torque. The Dynamic-Force engines are all undersquare (tall-narrow cylinders) and could correct some of the torque deficit without increasing displacement or resorting to turbocharging.
The Dynamic Force is a less power dense design than the GR/UR. It loses quite a bit of peak torque (100N.m/L) compared to the older GSE (close to 110N.m/L). However the usable torque should be comparable in real world usage. Still the DF motors will struggle against turbocharged competition for hauling and towing.

Turbocharging just makes sense for utility vehicles. We shouldn't be surprised that every heavy duty combat vehicle out there has a turbodiesel. And modern turbo gasolines are basically turbodiesels that rev higher and burn cleaner.

Joaquin Ruhi
might its 4th-gen successor be the first to use a naturally aspirated V35A-FKS in North America, Japan and Oceania?

I agree with ssun30 that a turbocharged A24/25A-FTS would be better suited for China's engine displacement-based laws than the V35A. and I imagine that Europe's primary powertrain lineup will continue to be hybrid, most likely the latest Toyota Crown's choice of A25A-FXS and 8GR-FXS.
Whether the US market definitively want a naturally aspirated V6 is somewhat debatable. After all, the best sellers in the segment are all equipped with forced-induction. I don't see 3-series buyers complaining the N55 and B58 are not naturally aspirated.

The problem is, again, what new capabilities can a hypothetical V35A-FKS bring? If, as many on this forum suggest, the current IS350 lacks power compared to the competition (which is true), will the V35A-FKS solve this problem at all? The 2IS introduced the 2GR-FSE which is a huge upgrade in capabilities vs. the old 2JZ-GE on the 1IS/Altezza. It was almost a 50% power increase, along with more compact packaging, lower weight, and much improved efficiency.

The 2GR-FKS engine already has over 90hp/L at 6800rpm with a 83mm stroke running 95RON. The A25A-FKS makes 82hp/L at 6600rpm running 91RON. To even achieve the same specific power as the 2GR-FKS they will have to find 10% extra power. Getting 10% extra power is not easy without raising the rpm of the engine, at best they could get close to 90hp/L with 95RON, richer fuel mixture, and more aggressive cams, sacrificing efficiency during the process. The thing is, at 100mm stroke, they really couldn't get much more revs out of the V35A. The ND Miata recently got an upgrade to 90hp/L, but its 2.0 SkyActiv-G had more revs margin to play with.

So the point is, they already need to go through a lot of trouble to match the power of the 2GR-FKS, which is already considered underpowered.

Of course I would love to see a dedicated high specific power 3.5L unit with 100hp/L and thermal efficiency that is relevant in the modern world. But TMC is a very logic-driven corporation, so it tends to not do things that sound cool but don't work well.
Honestly I got a strange thoughts
If the next IS length will be nearly as the current Mark-X, will this makes it confirm that there is a next generation Mark-X with the exact dimensions???
I was gonna say, the Model 3 is decent when it works, but it ain't a P100D either. There was a widely publicized video of it doing a lap on Laguna Seca last week which was nice, but not world-beating. And reports continue to pile up that there's a weak-link semiconductor in the drive unit that shorts out and kills the car until the component and some fuses are replaced.
maiaramdan
Honestly I got a strange thoughts
If the next IS length will be nearly as the current Mark-X, will this makes it confirm that there is a next generation Mark-X with the exact dimensions???
Traditionally, Altezza/IS/Mark X/Crown/GS all share the same platforms and engines.
In 1989, the Japanese Passenger Car Tax which limited metric dimensions to 4.7 m long x 1.7 m wide was abolished so that Japanese cars could be more competitive globally, however the Mark Series was originally deliberately half a size larger than Altezza/IS, yet deliberately half a size smaller than Crown/GS continues to be produced for the Japanese Domestic Market JDM.
The Toyota Mark Series is a car customized to the JDM.

So as the compact IS & midsize Crown/GS ranges creep up in size, gradually the IS range would only be a Mark X wearing different sheet metal, different upholstery, and with different spring/damper/roll bar rates.
If I remember correctly, since 1989 the Toyota Mark Series hasn't increased more than 3"/75 mm in Japanese metric terms in length/width/height; only the wheelbase has grown by over 6" due to improvements in torsional rigidity & bending stiffness.

Notice how originally, the Nissan Skyline is the sporty competitor to the Toyota Mark Series?
Notice how the Infiniti Q50 is the Nissan Skyline.
Thus the Infiniti Q50 is more spacious than the likes of: C Class, 3 Series, IS etc.
However the Q50 has bulkier handling too - size & handling are a compromize.

I have a different theory regarding 4IS & 5GS.
I suspect 4IS won't increase in size dramatically over its competitors C Class, 3 Series and A4.
I suspect that 5GS ICEV traditional Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle is only being axed to make way for the forthcoming Lexus midsize luxury RWD-based battery powered electric vehicle BEV in the GSb/GSe - whatever you like to call it.

Electrification is just around the corner.
Electrification is another controversial/debatable topic.
Back in the late 1990's, a number of people thought that Kodak Color would be with us forever, and that digital photography with its limited resolution & limited colors etc - would never make it...

@peterharvey
So you want to say that the 5GS will be like Tesla S competitor
R
I seriously doubt the next IS will have any pure electrification considering Toyota’s glacial pace to adopt anything outside of their comfort zone.

However, I do believe the IS should grow, if only slightly. I’m not talking front overhang grill growth, but real wheelbase growth.

It’s a natural evolution and helps to maintain the customer base.

That’s why the 3 series, C class and A4 have all grown while these manufacturers insert new but smaller models into the lineup to maintain that market segment. It refreshes an otherwise stale lineup and there’s no arguing that Lexus’ sedan lineup is beyond stale.

The 1 series, A3, etc. all bring new excitement to the market when in fact these are nothing more than the original 3 series or A4 from two generations ago in regards to size.

Lexus just doesn’t understand this aspect I guess.
Rhambler
The 1 series, A3, etc. all bring new excitement to the market.
4 cylinder FWD excitement with Dacia interior?
A
ssun30
Sources?
There is no source on this. Just two indicators:

1. New key engine technology will not be released in an entry segment with diminishing sales. They will stick to what they had developped for other cars. So Camry engine, ES engine...

2. Speculation in this forum: Never ever were any of the speculations on new powertrains true. The CT became 200h only, the UX will be 200/250h, no turbo in the ES and so on...
C
  • C
    CIF
  • July 8, 2018
ssun30
The Dynamic Force is a less power dense design than the GR/UR. It loses quite a bit of peak torque (100N.m/L) compared to the older GSE (close to 110N.m/L). However the usable torque should be comparable in real world usage. Still the DF motors will struggle against turbocharged competition for hauling and towing.

Turbocharging just makes sense for utility vehicles. We shouldn't be surprised that every heavy duty combat vehicle out there has a turbodiesel. And modern turbo gasolines are basically turbodiesels that rev higher and burn cleaner.



Whether the US market definitively want a naturally aspirated V6 is somewhat debatable. After all, the best sellers in the segment are all equipped with forced-induction. I don't see 3-series buyers complaining the N55 and B58 are not naturally aspirated.

The problem is, again, what new capabilities can a hypothetical V35A-FKS bring? If, as many on this forum suggest, the current IS350 lacks power compared to the competition (which is true), will the V35A-FKS solve this problem at all? The 2IS introduced the 2GR-FSE which is a huge upgrade in capabilities vs. the old 2JZ-GE on the 1IS/Altezza. It was almost a 50% power increase, along with more compact packaging, lower weight, and much improved efficiency.

The 2GR-FKS engine already has over 90hp/L at 6800rpm with a 83mm stroke running 95RON. The A25A-FKS makes 82hp/L at 6600rpm running 91RON. To even achieve the same specific power as the 2GR-FKS they will have to find 10% extra power. Getting 10% extra power is not easy without raising the rpm of the engine, at best they could get close to 90hp/L with 95RON, richer fuel mixture, and more aggressive cams, sacrificing efficiency during the process. The thing is, at 100mm stroke, they really couldn't get much more revs out of the V35A. The ND Miata recently got an upgrade to 90hp/L, but its 2.0 SkyActiv-G had more revs margin to play with.

So the point is, they already need to go through a lot of trouble to match the power of the 2GR-FKS, which is already considered underpowered.

Of course I would love to see a dedicated high specific power 3.5L unit with 100hp/L and thermal efficiency that is relevant in the modern world. But TMC is a very logic-driven corporation, so it tends to not do things that sound cool but don't work well.
Much of this post is incorrect and I strongly disagree. I'm curious where you're getting your figures from because it's as if you're pulling them out of thin air. There is no Dynamic Force V8 released yet. The only Dynamic Force V6 released is the V35A-FTS, which is a twin-turbo V6 model. It is much, much more power dense than any GR V6. This is partially because of the twin turbos, but not entirely of course. The V35-FTS achieves 416HP at 6000 RPM on premium fuel, which is not particularly high-revving compared to the GR series engines. That's a power density of about 119 HP/L (achieved at lower revs than the 2GR-FKS) not to mention much, MUCH more torque density than any GR engine, that there's no point even listing the numbers because the torque difference is so obviously massive. It Beyond this, there is absolutely zero public evidence available on what the hypothetical power density would be/could be on a naturally aspirated variant of the V35A.

The A25A Dynamic Force engine is more power-dense than its previous generation predecessor. Comparing the A25A to the V35A or GR series is meaningless at this point. If you insist though, lets have the numbers do the talking. In the most basic configuration on the Camry, the A25A-FKS achieves 203HP at 6600 RPM on regular fuel, which is a power density of about 81 HP/L. Also in the Camry, the 2GR-FKS achieves 301HP at 6600 RPM on regular fuel, for a power density of 86 HP/L. So like for like, apples to apples, that's not much of a power density difference. Again, this is a meaningless comparison, because you are comparing a mainstream, low cost inline 4 engine of a new generation versus a more higher end, higher cost V6 design of an older generation. So two different engine architectures from two different generations you're comparing here. If and/or when a naturally aspirated variant of the V35A appears, it's very likely that it won't be using the exact same technologies as the A25A. Other differences include the fact that the A25A-FKS achieves much better emissions than the 2GR-FKS, as well as much better emissions than the previous generation AR predecessor. Also there is the other obvious point that the A25-FKS achieves dramatically better fuel economy than the 2GR-FKS.

So in fact, the A25A-FKS almost matches the 2GR-FKS power density when comparing like for like (both engines on the Camry, comparing both on regular fuel). It does so while being a different engine architecture, achieving dramatically better fuel economy, much better emissions, and while being a lower cost, more basic engine design compared to the 2GR-FKS. It also does so in spite of the fact that the A25A-FKS was not even designed for peak power density whatsoever. So it does so without even trying.

Let me repeat though, an overall meaningless comparison. The only meaningful comparison will come if and/or when we get a naturally aspirated successor to the GR series. If we don't get a naturally aspirated successor to the GR, then the V35A-FTS is automatically the clear winner over the GR series in regards to power density.
maiaramdan
@peterharvey
So you want to say that the 5GS will be like Tesla S competitor
Getting a bit off thread topic, but yes, just like the forthcoming Porsche Mission E which targets 0-63 mph is less than 3.5 seconds, I suspect the next gen GSe BEV would have similar targets.

I say "similar".
However, I don't believe they will be "identical".

I believe that the Tesla Model S [like the Genesis G80] - is some 1/2 size bigger than the likes of the E/5/A6/GS.
I also don't believe that such a GSe BEV would come with an aluminium space frame, nor will it do do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds unlike the Model S P90.
Such a GSe BEV would be far more affordable, far more practical with cup holders & sun visors etc, far more reliable, and would sell in much larger volumes.

Rhambler
I seriously doubt the next IS will have any pure electrification considering Toyota’s glacial pace to adopt anything outside of their comfort zone.
With the 5LS already released, a 5GS rumoured to be axed globally, and rumours of impending 4IS release, I agree with you - there will no IS BEV too soon.
Apart from the next gen CT being the first Lexus BEV, I suspect that of the IS/GS/LS - the midsize GS will be their first BEV.
Because if a customer wants a midsize luxury ICEV, Lexus will simply point to the 7th gen ES.
That leaves room for the GSe to be Lexus' first premium BEV.
All this is hypothetical I remind you....
Given their track record Lexus will be concerned that using all of the battery's discharging capacity and power will set the car on fire or make it last only 200,000 miles instead of 300,000. Expect TMC BEVs to have 20% less capacity and power than competition using comparable battery technology.
With the "low" sales of the GS, a low selling BE GS makes sense. Next generation Jaguar XJ, also a low selling model, should also be available as BE only. Sedans are more efficient for battery powered vehicles, how significant that difference is I do not know.

HFCEVs can be built on ICEVs platforms, thus the LS FCV. BEVs on the other hand ideally need a dedicated platform.

ssun30
Given their track record Lexus will be concerned that using all of the battery's discharging capacity and power will set the car on fire or make it last only 200,000 miles instead of 300,000. Expect TMC BEVs to have 20% less capacity and power than competition using comparable battery technology.
Saying that BEVs are not reliable/durable because Teslas are not reliable/durable is an unfair and erroneous way of judging and measuring BEV's reliability/durability. That is like saying premium cars cannot be reliable/durable because BMW is not reliable/durable. Lexus proves it wrong.

BEVs are more about quality control than engineering, at least given the curent off-the-shelf technology. Bosch Li-Ion electric tools are very solid and with good performance (battery life, device life) in harsh working conditions. With the right focus, there is no problem whatsoever, and that is where Toyota will do it right. Tesla's focus is delivering, even if mediocre products. They simply have other objectives.
ssun30
Expect TMC BEVs to have 20% less capacity and power than competition using comparable battery technology.
Don't forget that Tesla's software limits the effective battery capacity after it's been Supercharged some fairly low number of times. I suspect BEVs for the near future will all perform better when new than after they've been broken in due to issues like this.

That said, I did have some seat time in a new Model 3 over the weekend and it was a lot of fun, even though I was waiting for a part to fall off the whole time :)
Levi
Saying that BEVs are not reliable/durable because Teslas are not reliable/durable is an unfair and erroneous way of judging and measuring BEV's reliability/durability. That is like saying premium cars cannot be reliable/durable because BMW is not reliable/durable. Lexus proves it wrong.

BEVs are more about quality control than engineering, at least given the curent off-the-shelf technology. Bosch Li-Ion electric tools are very solid and with good performance (battery life, device life) in harsh working conditions. With the right focus, there is no problem whatsoever, and that is where Toyota will do it right. Tesla's focus is delivering, even if mediocre products. They simply have other objectives.
Batteries are always more durable and reliable when you are not using them at full capacity and full discharge rate; that's just how electrochemistry works. On today's BEVs you have a choice between making the most out of them at BOL and expect degradation at EOL, or a less aggressive battery policy (both dischargiing and recharging) that gives more consistent performance throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. So a Tesla owner can drive like a moron and supercharge all day long and face a crap resale value in three years, or use it more smartly and conserve its battery endurance.

What I am saying is that TMC will likely lock users out of the first option and only leave the latter so every Toyota/Lexus BEV out there will last long and stay safe even driven by ignorant/less-informed people. It's just like how they make their ICE vehicles for decades: build a powerful engine then detune it to make sure it's understressed. and of course at the cost of less impressive performance figures.

That's enough digression for now but I think at a later date I will explain in more details.
Levi
4 cylinder FWD excitement with Dacia interior?
Check km77. Even the prius is more agile than those overpriced pretenders!
I hope Lexus/Toyota's BEVs will have acceleration figures like the Bolt rather than the Leaf, the Leaf is really slow, I reckon it has no liquid battery cooling. But even at 10 sec 0-100 km/h, the Leaf feels faster than 8 sec from ICEVs. That is why TMC hybrids feel fast, even if on paper they are not.
@Levi
I think Toyota with Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Honda, Subaru, Mazda are working a lot on the solid state and there was rumors that the first product solid state units may appear at 2020 or 2021 at max, so with the solid state you will have a game changer in main 3 cases
1) charging time
2) safety
3) power usage
ssun30
In a more general sense, variety is the result of a lack of optimization. The history of mankind has always been a history of optimization. Just like natural selection, inefficient artificial creations are eliminated or marginalized.

There is ONLY ONE efficient way to make cars, so as we become better and better at optimizing car designs, ineffcient designs get eliminated by the free market. This is already evident from the reduction of ICE variety: V4, I5, V10, V16, H6, and rotaries are heading to their graves; I6, V8, and V12 will follow a decade later, because the ONLY efficient ICE layout is I4 (I3 and V6 will have their niche, but that does not mean they are more efficient).

Similarly, sedans and wagons are doomed because crossovers are objectively more efficient as daily commuters. Minivans will stay because they are objectively the best people mover; pick-up trucks will stay because they are objectively the best cargo hauler. Sedan will basically be competing against coupe (also dying) for a tiny slice of the sportscar market, because apparently there will be more and more performance crossovers.

In the past we have all kinds of smartphone designs also with different OS, network, and internal components. Today all smartphones look the same, use the same component, and are compatible with all types of network. This is because that's the ONLY efficient way to build smartphones. All passenger aircraft are twin-engine, subsonic, and single decked, because that's the ONLY efficient way to build a passenger aircraft.

We as a civilization is becoming better and better at optimizing things, so variety will become a thing of the past.
So in the future a 600hp sports sedan is going to have a 4 cylinder pile? Screw that!
In @ssun30 comment, 'efficient' means 'cheap'. If 4 cylinders were so great, AMG's 4.0l would not be a V8 but 4.0l I4, like the old Cummins BT4, only gasoline. As a range extender, there are far better engine configurations than I4/I3 that are not exploited.
carguy420
So in the future a 600hp sports sedan is going to have a 4 cylinder pile? Screw that!
Unfortunately it has already happened:
https://www.polestar.com/polestar-1
I think we must start to store some v8s and v12s cars in the crazy future of i4s & BEVs
S
Joaquin Ruhi
Per current rumors, Lexus wouldn't really abandon the mid-size luxury sedan segment. Instead, the ES would broaden its model lineup to add enthusiast-oriented AWD and F-Sport variants to its current comfort-oriented FWD base models. In other words, such a 7ES would be more akin to the FWD-centric Audi A6 (which goes from base FWD to Quattro to S6 to all-out RS6) than to the RWD-centric BMW 5-Series and mercedes E-Class.
The thing is - the F-Sport ES and AWD ES won't be able to compete with the E/5 still. Transverses FWD/AWD is holding the ES back.

I'm one of those people on the other side of the fence. The enthusiasts in me wants an AWD ES but the business-sense in me (as I have been investing in Toyota for a long time) is that they won't.
Toyota sees green and that's all they see. If the ES AWD won't produce enough sales for the worth of development, they won't make it. Considering if the AWD the ES, they'll have to AWD the Camry/Avalon too. The question is - will they net profit from giving AWD to 3 vehicles? Is there a demand for it? Previous sales numbers suggest AWD is not an in-demand item for ES. 6ES still gets insane sales.
The F-Sport ES is a good niche. It'll likely lure in younger buyers.
Merged. This is the official 4th gen IS discussion thread.
Merged. This is the official 4th gen IS discussion thread.
Sakura
The thing is - the F-Sport ES and AWD ES won't be able to compete with the E/5 still. Transverse FWD/AWD is holding the ES back...

If the ES AWD won't produce enough sales for the worth of development, they won't make it. Considering if the AWD the ES, they'll have to AWD the Camry/Avalon too. The question is - will they net profit from giving AWD to 3 vehicles? Is there a demand for it?
Two things worth keeping in mind:

1) In the declining North American mid-size sedan market, it seems that each major Japanese carmaker is staking out a unique niche for itself, with only a bare handful of rivals. Toyota's Camry is almost the sole remaining midsize to offer a V6 option (alongside Ford Fusion Sport). Honda Accord has the broadest variety of clutch-pedal manual transmission offerings (on both 1.5-liter and 2-liter Sport models). And AWD options for the new-for-2019 Nissan Altima are rivaled only by Ford and Subaru. Could the latter move, if successful, spur Toyota to offer an AWD option on Camry?

2) The 5th-generation Toyota RAV4 debuting in a few months marks both a move to the latest Camry/Avalon/ES TNGA-K platform and Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD. And, for the 2020 model year, its larger Toyota Highlander sibling follows in its footsteps. Could these renovated models (plus the AWD-optional Sienna minivan due for its own transition to TNGA-K around the same time) create enough critical mass to make an AWD option for some if not all the TNGA-K sedans a more viable and profitable proposition?
R
  • R
    RRR
  • July 12, 2018
Wishful thinking as conservative as Lexus/Toyota is I'm hoping for a IS400 or IS450 model with a 3.5 v6 twin turbo for the next generation, and for the return of the IS-F with a 4.0 v8 that is rumoured to be in the LC-F. And I think Lexus needs to offer more individual options like the Germans, I really don't like that there is only 3 packages available for the F Sport and non F Sport. If I'm spending over $50k on a vehicle I want more individual options to suit my needs. Isn't that where auto manufacturers make the most profits, in options?
S
Joaquin Ruhi
Two things worth keeping in mind:

1) In the declining North American mid-size sedan market, it seems that each major Japanese carmaker is staking out a unique niche for itself, with only a bare handful of rivals. Toyota's Camry is almost the sole remaining midsize to offer a V6 option (alongside Ford Fusion Sport). Honda Accord has the broadest variety of clutch-pedal manual transmission offerings (on both 1.5-liter and 2-liter Sport models). And AWD options for the new-for-2019 Nissan Altima are rivaled only by Ford and Subaru. Could the latter move, if successful, spur Toyota to offer an AWD option on Camry?

2) The 5th-generation Toyota RAV4 debuting in a few months marks both a move to the latest Camry/Avalon/ES TNGA-K platform and Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD. And, for the 2020 model year, its larger Toyota Highlander sibling follows in its footsteps. Could these renovated models (plus the AWD-optional Sienna minivan due for its own transition to TNGA-K around the same time) create enough critical mass to make an AWD option for some if not all the TNGA-K sedans a more viable and profitable proposition?
1) Possibly. It could make Toyota think twice and offer an AWD format for the Camry/Avalon. If Camry/Avalon get AWD, ES will follow suit. But I would still tread lightly on this point. It really depends on how well the Altima sells overall and how much of those units are AWD. If the Altima, even with an AWD model, doesn't even break close to Camry numbers. Toyota will still edge it out and refuse to offer an AWD option. Because they are still net profiting high sales w/o the AWD.
The only way I see Camry/Avalon/ES having AWD is if the demand is there. Sadly - there is no demand for this. The Camry/Avalon/ES base doesn't crave this.
Due to the TNGA-K, Toyota can bring AWD at anytime. The biggest question is if they will. My money is no.

2) Interesting point. You still have to see if its profitable to make AWD versions of each specific car. I don't believe Toyota will add something to a car because they have the ability to do so. Toyota will do it when they feel like its time or their research says so. You can see this pattern throughout their line-up. They have done some things that seem slow and questionable in car enthusiasts eyes but it draws big dollar.
If Toyota's research concludes that Camry/Avalon/ES would benefit from an AWD, they will add it.

RRR
Wishful thinking as conservative as Lexus/Toyota is I'm hoping for a IS400 or IS450 model with a 3.5 v6 twin turbo for the next generation, and for the return of the IS-F with a 4.0 v8 that is rumoured to be in the LC-F. And I think Lexus needs to offer more individual options like the Germans, I really don't like that there is only 3 packages available for the F Sport and non F Sport. If I'm spending over $50k on a vehicle I want more individual options to suit my needs. Isn't that where auto manufacturers make the most profits, in options?
Based off my experience as a long time Toyota investor - I agree - that is definitely wishful thinking.

Toyota's business model is very conservative and unique. They want to milk the hell out of something before even considering replacing it or "improving it". The engines in the 2G Lexus IS was used for 10 years plus before Toyota was like "Okay. Lets change it."

Personally - I wish there is a Lexus IS400 or 450 too. That would make it a C43 AMG, 340i, S4, and Q50 RS competitor. But do I think it will happen? Probably not. Toyota cares about the profit margin. They know majority of Lexus IS sales are base engine models. The question is - would it be worth it for them to develop a TTV6 for the Lexus IS for low returns. Would it please enthusiasts? Yes. Would it please share holders? Probably not.

Second thing to keep in mind - we are in a SUV crazed market. With the UX coming out and the rumored high end crossover being in the pipeline, Lexus is probably more focused on SUVs rather than high-performance Sedans.

Last thing to keep in mind is that Lexus recently said they don't want to keep their line-up bloated like their German rivals. This means - they are more likely to cut models than add models. And when Lexus add models - it'll likely be profitable models (SUVs and Hybrids perhaps). Lexus getting on the EV train is likely as well.

Regarding your last comment - yes/no. It depends how you look at it. Yes - the vehicles tend to be more expensive when you have to add individual options in order to build it - like Mercedes Benz.
However - when you do fix packages - that's where the real money comes in. Because when you let people do options - they can option it just the 2-3 things they like. When the packages are fixed, they can offer a much of stuff in one package (some you might not want) for a higher price. Take a look how the Lexus ES is tiered.
Sakura
The thing is - the F-Sport ES and AWD ES won't be able to compete with the E/5 still. Transverses FWD/AWD is holding the ES back.

I'm one of those people on the other side of the fence. The enthusiasts in me wants an AWD ES but the business-sense in me (as I have been investing in Toyota for a long time) is that they won't.
Toyota sees green and that's all they see. If the ES AWD won't produce enough sales for the worth of development, they won't make it. Considering if the AWD the ES, they'll have to AWD the Camry/Avalon too. The question is - will they net profit from giving AWD to 3 vehicles? Is there a demand for it? Previous sales numbers suggest AWD is not an in-demand item for ES. 6ES still gets insane sales.
The F-Sport ES is a good niche. It'll likely lure in younger buyers.
Another reason why Toyota hasn't made many AWD cars may be because they own a 20% stake of Subaru. Since AWD is one of Subaru's main selling points, Toyota may be trying to not step on their toes. I know it's unlikely to happen, but it could be interesting to see an IS with a Subaru-sourced AWD drivetrain. This wouldn't work with some GA-L cars, which I've read are FMR layout, because the engine is always ahead of the front axle on Subaru powertrains.

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