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Lexus ponders super sports baby

Vroom to move: Toyota engineers are contemplating a V8-powered IS200

Not satisfied with the power output from the 2.0-litre straight six under the bonnet of your IS200? Don't worry, more power may soon be available

18 Nov 1999

LEXUS is developing an IS200 powered by a V8 engine.

But the work of the project's chief engineer has hit a production stumbling block.

The IS200 engine bay is big enough to lower the V8 4.0-litre engine in from above, but on the production line the "stuff up" or engine insertion takes place from below.

Toyota is unable or unwilling to configure the line to take the engine from above, which is probably a little irritating for the chief engineer, Mr Nobuaki Katayama, formerly with Toyota's motor sports department, who is a confirmed car enthusiast.

The IS200 with V8 power may yet live on if Mr Katayama is able to convince Toyota to allow him to build the V8 cars on a separate line.

Meanwhile, development work is said to be under way to install the 3.0-litre, straight-six engine from the GS300 into the IS200 body.

To be sold initially in the United States as the IS300, the car is unlikely to appear in Australia in the short term at least. There is a chance that Toyota might bore the 2.0-litre engine to 2.5-litres though this has not been confirmed.

To date since launch, Lexus in Australia has sold 1119 IS200 models, helping to raise its brand sales from 1876 in 1998 to 2253 year to date, the company's biggest sales year since the brand's introduction to this market in May, 1990.

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