We come bearing some bad news. Reports out of Lexus’ native Japan claim that the high-performance version of the LC500 coupe, the LC F, has been put on hold.
We're big fans of the LC500 and it’s naturally-aspirated V8 here at Wheels HQ, so we were quietly excited when news of a more focused twin-turbocharged version started to surface.
It’s not all doom and gloom however, as hidden at the bottom of the very same report is a silver lining, indicating that the development budget poured into the blown 4.0-litre V8 won't go to waste. It could be put to use powering a Ford F-150 rivalling Toyota Tundra.
The initial report from Car Sensor doesn’t quote a direct source, but claims the LC F project has ground to a standstill because of uncertainty surrounding the global economy.
However, instead of letting its talented engineers lay idle, the report claims Toyota and Lexus are already working on ways to make the most of the work that has gone into the LC F project.
Namely, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. According to the report from Car Sensor, the twin-turbo V8 will continue to be developed, and it’s claimed the engine will then be used for large pick-ups and SUVs for North America.
This would make the Toyota Tundra a natural recipient of the powerful petrol unit.
Timing is excellent, with Ford nearing completion of its next F-150 Raptor, with the most popular car in America receiving an all-new update last week.
At the same time, FCA’s Ram Trucks division is expected to rip the covers of its TRX model before the year is out.
Where the F-150 Raptor is expected to make its power from a twin-turbo petrol V6, the Ram TRX is expected to make use of FCA’s venerable Hellcat engine.
The 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8 is capable of sending 522kW to all four wheels, and we have first-hand experience of its ferocious potential thanks to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
Currently, Toyota doesn’t have a Raptor/TRX-fighting version of its North America-only Tundra, with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 the perfect engine to take the fight to the pair.
The ‘regular’ Tundra is powered by a 5.7-litre aluminium 32-valve petrol V8 good for 280kW and 544Nm, though rumours from earlier in the year suggest this could be replaced with a twin-turbo V6.
An all-new version of the Tundra is being developed, to be built on Toyota’s TNGA-F platform, with a reveal expected in 2021.
The TNGA-F platform opens up the possibility of right-hand drive production, which would bring the big American/Japanese pick-up Down Under.
Toyota Australia confirmed to Wheels earlier in the year that it wants to bring a model like the Tundra to Australia, but it needs to build a business case with Head Office first.
“If right-hand drive factory vehicles become available then it is something that we would very deeply study. Toyota Australia would be jumping up and down almost more than anyone else to bring that car here,” a spokesperson said.
“The big thing is that it needs a global business case to be put together, and the business case needs to be there for right-hand drive production from the factory.”
There are lots of variables currently at play, but there are some glimmers at hope which we can all take comfort in.