Posted Apr 16th 2012 3:59PM
For a car that still hasn't donned its new body yet, not even under copious camouflage, there's been chatter about the 2014 Lexus IS for an awful long time. We saw the first mule 18 months ago, and it was about that time that intel predicted Lexus' next-generation small sport sedan would run on a four-door version of the Scion FT-86 chassis and be followed by a coupe.
The snappers at CarPix caught a modern mule out on test, the only change so far from 2010 being the panels obscuring the front intakes and a roll of packing tape applied to some panel gaps. The car we eventually see will continue the sportification of the Lexus brand in both appearance and capability. As well, the IS-F begat by this IS, having been planned for and developed from the beginning, should really show us what an M3-fighting Lexus can do.
Lexus has turned its already fast IS F over to the go-fast guys at Toyota Racing Development. The finished product is the IS F Circuit Club Sport, and the sport sedan wears a wide range of aero and mechanical improvements. We've known this model was coming for some time thanks to a 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon concept and details spouted late this summer, but these photos provide our best look yet at this touring-car-like model.
Outside, engineers have fitted the IS F with a new front spoiler, rear diffuser and hood, all of which are fabricated from weight-saving carbon fiber. You may have also noticed the vehicle's sizable rear wing. A performance damper kit is also part of the package, offering buyers two separate settings that independently adjustable compression. The luxury bruiser also comes equipped with lightweight forged aluminum wheels, though magnesium rollers are also available.
Mechanically, the IS F Circuit Club Sport Package utilizes a TRD limited-slip differential as well as a TRD big brake kit. At this point, there's no word on how much the package will cost or when it will be available. We aren't even sure American buyers will be able to sink their teeth into the factory-bred racer, so stay tuned.
Our own tcmaboy from PSTOC is in Japan, and has graced us with some of his own coverage of the Tokyon Auto Salon and the vehicles on display there.
WARNING: Do not expect too much information. Due to my language limitations this event was more of a photo scavenger hunt than serious research. I went out looking for things Toyota, things race car, and things just plain weird. What information I have comes from looking at the car, matching up logos, and tracking down company names. To kick things off I suppose I should start off with some Toyota-centric items. For those that follow the blog you have already seen the two IS F club racing concepts.
So, what hasn't appeared on the front page? What has Tom been up to all these years? Apparently making Lexus Parts. On display was a LS 460 with some very subtle body parts and an exhaust system.
Goodyear had a MK X on display all done up complete with booth girl (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to get pictures of the car when the girls are around). The MK X is the successor to the MK II, and shares a platform with the GS. The resemblance to a NASCARed Camry is a bit scary (must be the Goodyear effect).
Gazoo Racing was the primary Toyota representative, and they brought a few shiny toys to show off. Among them were race cars, mini vans, and even an iQ. Packing a giant shoe horn they some how they managed to squeeze an intercooled super charger under the hood of the already cramped iQ.
Continuing down the path of tiny cars was this EV sports concept. It is powered by twin DC motors and a lithium ion battery pack. In a rather interesting twist rather than using the differential to send power to the wheels, a diff was employed to send power from the twin motors to the transmission.
To top things off was this T Sports Concept. I am sure all were excited by the promise of the FT 86 as a return of the small rear drive sports car. This little guy looks equally exciting (though the snowball would have to survive hell first). Front engine, rear drive with a 108 HP engine backed by a 5 speed. While 108 HP doesn't sound like much it should be plenty of fun with a weight target just shy of 2000 lbs. For comparison the AE 86 was several hundred pounds heavier with the 4AG putting out similar HP. Over the years the gold has faded to beige for Toyota, and all I can say is please Toyota polish things up and bring back the golden years.
Lexus: First of all, now that we know that the 2011 IS will have body changes, are there any big design updates coming for other 2011 models?
HUMPHRIES: At this point I can say only that there will also be a change in the front-end design of the GS, most likely arriving in 2012. Both the IS and future GS updates are dramatic changes—they’re much more distinctive, much more unique. In our minds, these aren't complete black to white sort of changes, but they are an evolution.