Lexus has filed a trademark application for the IS500 name with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Canadian Trademarks Database, hinting there might soon be a performance variant of the heavily-facelifted BMW 3 Series competitor.
The USPTO filing, made at the end of June, was found by user R-Ozzy and posted on the GR86.org forums.
The car’s name suggests it could be powered by a version of the 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8 used in the RC F. In the coupe the V8 makes 351kW and 530Nm, and is hooked up to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic.
The company’s unwillingness for the new car to use the F label suggests the engine might be detuned slightly. The IS500 is also likely to miss out on the puffed up wheel arches and bulbous bonnet applied to the RC F.
Alternatively, the IS500 could use the 309kW/600Nm 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 used in the LS500 and LC500. It’s not clear, though, if this engine fits into the IS platform without significant engineering work.
Either engine would prove to be a significant step up from the IS350’s naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6, which makes 232kW and 378Nm.
As always, we caution a trademark filing doesn’t necessarily mean a new model is a certainty, but there have been plenty of rumours of a V8-powered IS for a while now.
Last month Lexus unveiled a “new” IS with a completely redesigned exterior, but a carryover interior, and the same rear- and all-wheel drive platform as the current car.
The heavily revised IS range arrives in Australia from late 2020 in IS300 (2.0-litre turbo), IS300h (2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid) and IS350 (3.5-litre V6) forms.
Note: We’ve used pictures of the updated Lexus IS300, IS300h and IS350 for this article.