In the last few months, we've become accustomed to automakers announcing and launching cars with small turbo engines, hybrids, and even full electric drivetrains. That is the wave of the now: electrification and ultra-efficient engines.
Lexus is at the forefront of that. They are the only luxury brand in the Philippines with a wide line of full hybrid vehicles. But truth be told: hybrids don't exactly elicit the oohs and aahs. These aren't exactly exciting vehicles, and that's expected.
Well if we're right about this one, then what Lexus may be launching is going to be very exciting. Based on what we've pieced together, it seems Lexus is preparing to launch the IS 500 F Sport Performance in the Philippines.
We have received word that Toyota Motor Philippines (the parent company of Lexus Philippines) is launching a vehicle with a 5.0-liter gasoline engine. To be exact, it has a displacement of 4,969cc. That means the engine is the 2UR V8.
In the current Toyota and Lexus international lineup, only a few vehicles have that engine. Toyota uses the hybrid version of that V8 as the 2UR-FSE, but that's in the luxurious Toyota Century; it is extremely unlikely that they will launch that here. Last time we checked, they don't make LHD variants of that. They also used that engine in the Toyota Hilux rally truck, but that was never sold to the public.
And that brought us to Lexus. They actually use the non-hybrid version of the engine in two models in the Philippine lineup: the LC500 has that engine along with the RC F Coupe. It was also in the GS F, but that has since been discontinued. Being that both models are already in the market (and have been for a few years) that means only the IS F Sport Performance is the likely candidate.
The IS itself is not new; the current generation has been around since 2013 in the Philippine market. But the prospect of the IS F Sport Performance (as long a name as there ever was for a car) is an exciting one because Lexus Philippines never launched the previous generation IS F. It was always a gray market vehicle.
Of course, Lexus won't confirm anything yet, but all the signs point to that vehicle. So if you've got some cash you need to burn on a sedan with 479 horses worth of V8 driving the rear wheels and can do a 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.6 seconds, maybe hang around for more news if Lexus does push through with this high performance IS variant.