TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, but that doesn't stop the performance division from developing parts for Lexus products, too. One of those Lexus products it just released a set of performance parts for is the LC 500. The two-door coupe is our favorite Lexus for sale right now because of its excellent driving dynamics and stunning looks, so adding more performance is a good thing, right?
We'll stop short of saying it's a great thing for appearances in this particular instance. The parts shown here tend to muss up and clutter the LC's otherwise gorgeous design. That large rear wing, aero cowling above the rear seats and aero mirror cover all notch the aggressiveness up a level, but it makes the styling look a bit messier in photos.
There's a sea change of performance occurring over at Lexus these days. At least, that's what the Japanese luxury automaker claims. Lexus has made plenty of excellent performance cars in its past, but the brand has never been known for performance. Instead, Lexus has produced some of the most comfortable, reliable and serene automobiles to ever come out of Japan, and it's found success in doing so. The brand has a clear identity, but it's looking to massage that identity.
"Moving forward, the efforts of the CE (chief engineer) will be focused on elevating the vehicles to a new standard of performance and handling as developed by Lexus International President Koji Sato and Chief Branding Officer Akio Toyoda," Lexus said in a statement. "The ultimate goal is to deliver a new generation of Lexus vehicles that is more balanced, refined in control, and confident than ever before."
Lexus was set to introduce the next-generation IS on June 9, but it postponed the event to respect "the recent global situation," meaning worldwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Now Lexus has rescheduled the unveiling, and given us our first look at its next entry-level sedan.
The model's global debut is scheduled for at 7 p.m. Eastern time June 15, which is 4 p.m. for West Coasters. The unveiling will take place online, and the company will stream it live on its various social media channels.
The new 2021 Lexus IS sports sedan was scheduled to make its debut today, but Lexus has made the decision to postpone the digital unveiling indefinitely. Lexus cites respect for "the recent global situation" as the reasoning for the postponement.
This week, Lexus released a simple statement on the digital debut of the 2021 IS. "Considering the recent global situation, Lexus has respectfully postponed the premier of the new IS, which was originally scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Japan Standard Time, June 10," it said. "Revised timing will be announced soon." With worldwide outpouring of civil protests in regards to the death of George Floyd, police brutality and the movement for police reform — all in the midst of a pandemic — it seems like a malapropos time to unveil a new car.
When you drive cars from the same brand enough, you start to instinctively know how to accomplish tasks. It's like seeing the emblem on the steering wheel automatically reprograms your brain. For instance, a three-pointed star = gear shift is the stalk that usually controls the windshield wipers.
I say this because when I got into the 2020 Lexus RX for the first time, I ignored my programming. I don't know why, but when I went to change the channel (left on Sirius Watercolors, ugh), I reached up and tapped the 12.3-inch dashtop display to do it. Just as I remembered that doing so should do nothing ... it worked! What the hell?
While the larger Lexus GS has finally been discontinued after declining sales, its smaller sibling is getting a new generation. The new 2021 Lexus IS will be revealed next week, and in the meantime, Lexus released this teaser image.
It doesn't reveal too much, and the company was smart enough to make some adjustments so that playing with exposure and brightness in Photoshop wouldn't reveal anything more. All we can tell is that it's a sedan, it gets a full-width taillight design, and there's a bit of a diffuser treatment to the rear bumper.
There's no need to explain the Toyota Land Cruiser, one of Toyota's earliest successful products. The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition celebrates some 60 years of popularity of a vehicle that has survived the segment's "mall wagon" phase and the rise of crossovers. Its already-sterling reputation has received an additional recent push from the rise of overlanding — an outdoor pastime that has always existed but only recently got a press agent.
By comparison, the Lexus LX is a more recent development. Debuting in 1996, the LX 470 was little more than an 80-series Land Cruiser with cladding, a Lexus badge and a higher price. The amount of styling differentiation and luxury specialization has increased over the years to the point that the newest LX 570 actually seems like a completely different vehicle.
Come next year, things may get interesting for the Lexus IS, a car that currently is not the first to jump to mind when one thinks of compact, rear-wheel-drive sports sedans. The IS is rumored to be getting a major makeover for 2021, the most notable element of which is said to be the arrival of a V8-powered version. Don't call it an IS F, however; the model instead will be known as the IS 500.
None of the above is official — the source of the V8 rumor is an Instagram post from allcarsnews, as surfaced by thedrive.com. As has been previously reported, the IS is going in for a major makeover for 2021, one that this outlet characterizes as being less than a complete redesign. It will, however, bring revised sheetmetal mirroring the look of the Lexus LS as well as a new interior. While the current engine lineup is said to carry over, this report says it will be joined by the brand's naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. That engine powered the IS F, which was dropped after the 2014 model year, but in the 2021 car it, strangely, will be sold as the IS 500. That's the rumor, anyway.
When Lexus launched the fifth-generation LS at the end of 2017, the Japanese luxury maker predicted its once-brand-defining sedan would sell 12,000 units per year in the U.S., a threshold the model hadn't reached since 2010. The LS managed 9,301 transactions here in 2018, its first full year on sale, falling back to 5,528 units in 2019. Through the first three coronavirus-affected months of this year, Lexus dealers have sold 801 LS sedans, compared to 1,404 units in Q1 2019. There's a mid-cycle refresh supposedly due for release in the fall of 2021, and the June issue of Japanese magazine Mag-X (translated), via Lexus Enthusiast, claims we're due for a couple of big surprises that could jolt the sales figures. The first shock is that Lexus is supposedly bringing back the LS 600h moniker for an LS with a V8 hybrid powertrain.
Lexus debuted the LS 600h L in 2007 for the 2008 model year, retiring the hybrid trim in 2016. Its heart was a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8, and when combined with an electric motor, combined output came to 439 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The fifth generation introduced the LS 500h that switched to a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, producing a combined 354 hp and 369 lb-ft., taking second place in output to the twin-turbo V6 in the non-hybrid LS 500 with 416 hp and 442 lb-ft.