6 Lexus V8s you didn't know existed
Cool cars with cool engines and the coolest number of cylinders
Lexus gets a lot of attention and praise for its hybrid systems. And rightly so; it's been at the forefront of the electrification revolution for years.
But Lexus is savvy enough to know that while electric could be the future, there's very much still a space in the market for the internal combustion engine. And it's got a long and very impressive history in making some seriously sexy gas-powered cars, including vehicles with what is surely the most evocative type of engine of them all: the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo. WAIT, NO. The V8. Sorry.
Lil Wayne doesn't write songs about small capacity turbos. When Ronny and the Daytonas wrote G.T.O., they waxed lyrical about "three deuces and a four-speed, and a three-eighty-nine", not "impressive MPG from a complex direct injection system". Worthy as eco is, it's not sexy in the same way as two banks of eight burbling away.
So let's focus on sexy V8s for a bit. Here are six (relatively) little known custom one-off and non-production Lexus V8 cars that maybe, just maybe, you haven't heard of. And maybe one or two street models that you have.
The RX V8
Not your average SUV
"Woah woah woah," I hear you cry. "The RX never had a V8 in it." Correct, at least as far as production models go. But this one does. It's a one-off from habitual Lexus fiddler Gordon Ting, who got together with Lexus's USA marketing team to build this beauty.
Look up "tight" in the dictionary and you'll find this picture
The 2UR-GSE V8 from a GS F was lifted carefully into place, after a lot of fiddling around in the engine bay to make it fit. We're talking custom mounts, a new transmission tunnel, and presumably lots of swearing. But completed it was, and it looks basically stock inside, save for some GS F front seats. The outside was treated to some nifty styling from Artisan Spirits.
The RC F GT3
Batman called, he wants one
Sure, it's pretty shameless to put a racing car in a list of sexy cars, but sexy is sexy, so what are you gonna do? Enjoy it, that's what. This is the RC F GT3, first revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017. It's designed for GT3-class racing, including the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series. Under the hood is Lexus's 5.4-liter V8 with about 500 horsepower. It sounds much like it looks, which is to say awesome.
The GXOR Concept
The Lexus GX Off-Road Concept was an official Lexus-built one-off made in 2019, and inspired by the modifications that owners had done to their own cars. It's V8-powered, courtesy of the stock 4.6-liter unit, and has a bunch of cool off-road stuff added, including an Icon suspension setup, full underbody armor and big all-terrain tires. Oh, and a winch and a snorkel. And matte paint. So far Lexus hasn't put the GXOR on the market, but maybe if we shout loud enough they'll change their minds.
The IS F
Still looks like a beast more than a decade later
Ok, you might have heard of this one, but it's awesome, and it's my list, so it's staying. The IS F was the very first F-badged performance Lexus, revealed for the 2008 model year with angular styling and, of course, a big 5.0-litre V8 under the hood with 416hp. What a recipe.
The racing LC
Lexus developed a racing version of the LC 500 and entered it into the legendary Nurburgring 24 Hours race in Germany in 2018 and 2019. For 2020, it stuffed an all-new twin-turbo V8 under the hood, but then COVID-19 struck, and the race didn't happen, and the LC didn't take part in the 2021 edition. All of which means that, somewhere, there's a hardcore 'Ring race car with a brand new V8 in it, sitting forlornly in a warehouse , waiting for the pandemic to be over. You and me both, buddy, you and me both.
The IS 500 F Sport Performance
We can't have a piece about V8s without mentioned the latest and most powerful. Hello 2022 IS 500 F SPORT Performance, with your 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8 and your 472 horsepower*. Pleased to meet you. Or rather, we will be when you kick the automotive market door down this Fall; we can't wait to get behind your heated steering wheel and make some pretty uncouth noise.
*Ratings achieved using the required premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. If premium fuel is not used, performance will decrease.