Lexus, Toyota’s premium car division, will not let the sports car market go. It’s better known for hybrids, SUVs and large saloons in this country, but its ambitions for a lucrative segment have bubbled to the surface in recent years, most obviously in the congenially flawed IS F.
However, it has never really threatened to break the monopoly enjoyed by its mostly German rivals. The RC F, a muscular coupé in the BMW M4 mould, marked the start of a fresh offensive. It was followed by the GS F, a bigger four-door super-saloon.
Aside from their badges, the strand linking the two is the engine: an updated derivative of the naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine that gave the IS F so much trouser length.
The choice looks like a strange one. Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche are well into model cycles that place unstinting emphasis on forced induction, typically with fewer cylinders and less displacement.
That Lexus has chosen to buck this trend is partly a function of its global positioning (it is at least as interested in American buyers as it is European ones) and partly due to the faith it has in its own alternative tech, including the unusual use of the fuel-sipping Atkinson cycle.