Lexus V8 engines: all you need to know

Lexus V8

Since the launch of Lexus in 1989, the luxury brand has been renowned for its smooth yet powerful V8 engines. Sonorous eight-cylinder units have been a defining feature of the Lexus line-up for more than 30 years and remain available in the current RC F, LC and LC Convertible model lines. But why was this format chosen in the first place, and why has it remained such a successful formula?

This article contains all the links you will need to increase your understanding of the engineering and technical advances behind the two multi-award-winning V8 engine series Lexus has produced.

Lexus V8 engines

The engineering and development teams involved in creating the first-generation Lexus LS were charged with building a world-class, high-performance luxury vehicle. In addition to understanding the broad characteristics that were desirable in this category, very specific performance targets were set out. In order to be successful, the LS 400 had to be faster, more efficient, quieter, more aerodynamic and lighter than its direct competition – cars that were already at the top of their class.

The engine that helped Lexus reach these ambitious goals and exceed the balance of performance achieved by the competition was the iconic UZ-series V8 – an all-alloy masterpiece with more than a passing resemblance to a race engine.

Click here to learn more about the UZ-series V8 in the first-generation Lexus LS

Its successor, the UR-series V8, retained the same 32-valve and quad-cam layout but upped the ante with advanced technologies such as electronically controlled valve timing and electric hybrid drive assistance.

Click here to learn more about the UR-series V8 in the fourth-generation Lexus LS

Although the UR-series V8 arrived in 2006, it could be argued that its high-performance derivative created a greater impact two years later in 2008. Known internally as the 2UR-GSE, this spectacular engine was co-engineered with Yamaha and made its debut in the Lexus IS F, a skunk works project that launched the brand’s new high-performance ‘F’ division.

Click here to learn more about the 2UR-GSE V8 engine in the Lexus IS F

Further refinement of the UR-series formula was introduced in 2014 and 2015 with the staggered arrival of the Lexus RC F and Lexus GS F. These mechanically related models used an enhanced version of the electronically controlled valve timing to allow the V8 to switch imperceptibly between Otto (power) and Atkinson (economy) combustion cycles.

Click here to learn more about the enhanced V8 engine in the Lexus RC F

Click here to learn more about the 2UR-GSE V8 in the Lexus GS F

The technical achievement represented by the latest 2UR-GSE V8 remains deeply impressive, especially in the light of tough emissions regulations. Yet for the LC and LC Convertible the engineering team concentrated on improving how the powerplant makes the driver feel, realising that a virtuoso engine sound can truly stir the emotions.

Click here to learn more about the sensory experience built into the V8 of the Lexus LC

How will Lexus continue the evolution of its V-configuration internal combustion engines? Will the V8 remain a defining feature of the model range or will smaller capacity, turbocharged engines come to the fore? Be assured that the official Lexus UK magazine will help enthusiasts keep pace with all future powertrain developments.


  1. I totally agree. The V8 Lexus engine is one of the best engineered piece of machinery available in a luxury vehicle. Over the years I have promoted this engine to all I come into car conversation with as I have the pleasure to drive a Lexus SC-430. It’s such a shame that this engine like all engines will not be available in near future vehicles….

  2. I will stop buying Toyota if they quit the v-8 engine. I’ve been buying toyota cars and trucks for 20 years.

  3. Hi
    Im rx car builder mgbv8 and minis in 80s
    Looking updated v8 for build doing son. He loves all japan engineering and engineer at epson.
    Can anyone piont me right place to get help best version to look for and any specialist worchester way . Im ex concours builder .
    No issue building it but its electronics i might need help . Is there a manual gearbox i can use

    1. Hello Rad, thanks for your question.

      For advice on your vehicle, we would recommend contacting your Lexus Centre.


  4. Hello all
    I am contemplating installing an ls460 engine in an might what installation information can I receive

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