IS-F no more: Lexus discontinues range-topping IS to make way for RC-F

Do over!

Lexus’ V8-powered IS-F was always a fun, stylish surprise, but it never really lived up to its lofty expectations. Since its 2007 debut, the range-topping IS only sold around 11,000 units, despite Lexus’ ambitions of taking on the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG.

According to World Car Fans, Lexus is planning on axing the IS-F in favor of the new, M4-fighting RC-F coupe.

The RC-F houses the same aluminum block that anchors the IS-F’s 5.0-liter V8, but from the head gasket up, everything is new. Titanium valves are mated to forged steel connecting rods, and the cylinder heads incorporate variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams.

Its respiratory system has been enhanced as well, allowing for freer breathing and a sharper exhaust note.

Because of these enhancements, output has been bumped from 416 horsepower to ‘over 450 hp,’ according to Lexus. The F-Sport could run from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, so the increased power and improved power-to-weight ratio should shave a couple of ticks off that for the RC.

Oddly, Lexus hasn’t really revamped the styling much for the new car. The familiar hourglass-shaped front grill remains, and it is enormous. In fact, Lexus has enlarged it for the new car.

The front air vents and triple-clustered headlights are bigger, the roofline has a gentler slope and the rounded, Viper-like hood are the main differences, but overall it’s a small departure from the F-Sport.

The IS-F was never quite as sexy as its German competitors, which may have been a contributing factor to its slow sales. Consequentially, it’s slightly surprising that Lexus decided to stay the course with the RC-F’s aesthetics.

The RC-F is due to arrive this fall for somewhere around $70,000.