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New era of Lexus performance cars starting soon! But will 2021 IS 500 lead the way to take on BMW M340i and Mercedes-AMG C43 sedans?

Lexus’ teaser image of an F Sport carbon-fibre engine cover is highly suggestive.

Lexus has revealed it is about to embark on a new era of performance vehicles, but what exactly is in store remains a mystery, although there are more than a few clues out there.

And before you get too excited, when Lexus says a new era of performance vehicles, it means enhanced – and seemingly repositioned – F Sport models, not their full-fat F siblings, as indicated in a tweet that included a very interesting teaser image.

The teaser image in question shows a glimpse of a carbon-fibre engine cover with F Sport branding, and when considered closely, it’s apparent it’s almost identical to that of the RC F coupe and GS F large sedan, which instead have blue accents and F branding.

This implies the RC F and GS F’s 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine is about to shoehorned into a new F Sport model, with the recently facelifted IS mid-size sedan the obvious candidate, given ‘IS500’ has already been trademarked by Lexus.

That said, it is possible the F Sport carbon-fibre engine cover is not directly tied to what’s under the bonnet, with the mooted IS500 F Sport possibly instead taking the similarly named LS500 upper-large sedan’s 310kW/600Nm 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol unit.

That alternate theory carries a lot of weight considering Best Car Web previously reported a new IS F is on the way with the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, although the Japanese publication’s claimed reveal timing did prove to be off.

It’s also worth noting the supposed IS500 F Sport could use a detuned version of either engine. Regardless, it would have the 285kW/500Nm BMW M340i and 287kW/520Nm Mercedes-AMG C43 sedans firmly in its sights.

Another possibility is the LC500 coupe and/or convertible getting an F Sport variant for the first time, with that model already motivated by a more potent, 351kW/540Nm tune of the aforementioned 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine.

While that would certainly explain the carbon-fibre engine cover, so too would the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine being added as an option for the LS. Either way, time will tell, so stay tuned.