Let’s break it down — Mag X suggests that the current third-generation Lexus IS, which originally launched in January 2013, will receive a major facelift and be released in October 2020.
A new addition to the line could be an IS 500 model, marking what is likely the last hurrah for the 2UR-GSE 5-liter naturally aspirated V8. In this application, it is expected to produce 475 hp and 395 lb/ft of torque. The IS 500 would only be built with left-hand-drive for export primarily to North America.
This facelifted current IS would then continue in production for three years, at which point the 4th-generation IS would move not to the Lexus GA-L RWD architecture or even to the Mazda RWD Large Architecture, but would instead morph into a battery-electric Tesla Model 3 rival as perhaps the first Lexus built on the new e-TNGA architecture.
While it would be great to see a new V8-powered IS, does it really make sense to base it off the current generation, which is almost eight years old? Why only build it for three years? Further, as of this writing, an IS 500 trademark has not been registered in the USA.
And then there’s the next-generation model in 2024 — if the IS successor is such a radical change from its predecessor, should it even keep the IS badge? Or at that point will IS join SC, HS and GS in the Lexus badge graveyard?