2021 Lexus IS to get BMW-sourced straight-six?

The IS F will carry on with Lexus power.

Lexus will benefit from the partnership that Toyota, its parent company, created with BMW, according to a recent report. The next-generation IS will allegedly come with a straight-six engine borrowed from the BMW parts bin.

Japanese magazine Best Car learned the six in question is the 3.0-liter unit found in the Z4, the M340i, and the born-again Toyota Supra introduced at the 2019 Detroit auto show. It makes and 382 horsepower in the Z4 M40i and the M340i, and 335 horsepower in the Supra. The IS will remain rear-wheel drive, but we don't know which transmission(s) the six will be available with.

The engine palette will also include several four-cylinders, a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, and, intriguingly, a variant of the twin-turbocharged V6 found in the LS. The straight-six will power Lexus' answer to the M340i, while the V6-powered, F-badged model will compete head-to-head against the M3.

The magazine also reported the next IS will keep the current model's dimensions, but it will weigh less because it will ride on a rear-wheel drive variant of the modular platform found under recent additions to the Toyota family like the Prius, the Corolla, and the Camry. It will be sharper to drive than the current model, too; Lexus is doing all it can to re-establish the model as a true contender in the sports sedan segment. It's reasonable to assume the RC coupe will benefit from the same upgrades -- assuming it returns for a new generation.

Best Car has been spot-on and completely off the mark in recent years, so it's difficult to say how accurate the report is. If it's true, it would be hugely ironic to see a car developed specifically to take down the 3 Series arrive on the market with a BMW-sourced engine. Lexus and BMW haven't commented on the story, so we'll need to wait until the next IS makes its debut in 2021 to find out what it's powered by.

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