The Lexus IS F currently sits atop the Japanese luxury brand’s performance offerings, giving buyers an alternative to the likes of the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG.

Even if you’re not a fan of Lexus, it’s hard not to be impressed with the IS F’s 416-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8, mated to an impressively quick eight-speed automatic gearbox. The chassis is more than capable, too, and we’d call the IS F a remarkably easy car to drive fast.

Given that Lexus is trying to reshape its image as a sportier brand, we’re surprised to hear a rumor, started by USA Today (and reported by Lexus Enthusiast), that the IS-F sedan is going away after the 2013 model year.

In a recent review of the IS F, USA Today’s James Healey wrote that, “The redesigned 2014 Lexus IS model that’s going on sale this summer will have sport variants, but no F high-performance version.”

“But as a consolation prize,” Healey continued, “Lexus says it’ll keep the 2013 IS F on sale through year’s end.”

That sounds definitive, but Lexus has been silent on the subject. While that could mean it isn’t quite ready to break the news, it could also mean that something else, of equal or greater performance, is in the works.

Something, perhaps, with less than four doors. Word is that Lexus will put a version of the LF-CC coupe displayed at the 2012 Paris Auto Show into production, and Lexus Enthusiast seems to believe that a new high-performance coupe, called the RC F, may take the place of the IS F.

On the one hand, that makes sense, since the Lexus LFA coupe (which we’ll admit existed in a different pricing world) has now been retired. Coupes are generally perceived to be sportier than sedans, so a high-performance coupe could help Lexus to reshape its image.

On the other hand, it may just be an incorrect interpretation of the data at hand, in which case a new IS F may show up once the lower-performance models are launched. We’d like to think there’s room enough in the Lexus portfolio for both coupe and sedan variants, so we promise to update just as soon as we can.