Almost 15 years ago, Lexus gave the world its first F-branded high-performance sports sedan, the IS F. At the time, this vehicle was Lexus’ answer to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. The Lexus wasn’t as fast as its German rivals, but it still earned a cult following due to its engine gem, which was a naturally aspirated V8 that could rev high. Since 2013, the United States has not seen an IS badge. However, in 2022, this vehicle returns as Lexus IS 500 F. The car is equipped with an updated engine and produces more power. Lexus also claims it’s the most powerful IS the company has ever made.
The IS 500 F is a capable sports sedan that can now match any of its rivals in performance and luxury levels. Coming from a Japanese manufacturer, it is also quite reliable compared to its German counterparts.
Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance: a well-connected car
F Sport Performance means this Lexus IS 500 is not a regular F Sport. It comes with a 5.0-liter V8 with a limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension and those quad exhaust tips. It just might be the ultimate performance sedan on the market today. There’s no denying that this IS 500 is just a modernized version of the IS released nearly a decade ago; it commands a very high starting price. Lexus has done its best to justify the high price by making the IS 500 feel very connected to the driver. It doesn’t have the best acceleration times in the world, or the fastest in its segment, but no other vehicle in the segment is as fun to drive as the Lexus. It gives the driver a connection with the car and the road offering pure driving pleasure.
The reason behind this nature of the vehicle is that we live in a world of turbocharged cars and electric vehicles. It’s a breath of fresh air when the Lexus comes with a big, naturally aspirated V8 that makes the world feel like the world is shaking. The IS 500 could not match the acceleration of its German rivals since it is only offered in RWD version, while most vehicles in this segment are equipped with all-wheel drive. Lexus focused on keeping owners emotionally connected to the car through aspects like the sound of the engine and the rumble inside the cabin of a V8 giving the vehicle a very old-school vibe.
Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance: packed with a spirited V8
The engine of this vehicle is a bulletproof unit and can run for a very long time without a single failure. That’s the pure reliability offered by Lexus. The 5.0-liter V8 engine produces 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. Power is direct-drive fuel injection and variable valve timing. This provides flawless refueling for the vehicle and ensures that all eight cylinders work flawlessly. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox happily shifts independently, rather than being operated manually by paddle shifters. The paddle shifters offer a good tactile feel when shifting, but seem slow to respond on sudden downshifts, but do a very good job when upshifting.
Lexus claims the IS 500 can do the 0-60 mph sprint in under 4.4 seconds, and at full throttle it will reach a top speed of 150 mph, which makes it reasonably fast for a vehicle that weighs 3958 lbs. Thanks to its Torsen limited-slip differential, the car is stable at high speeds, which sends power to the rear wheels with the most grip and gives it good handling. The engine is tuned to deliver 16 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway, making it a big gas guzzler, but you won’t worry about that figure with a car like this. Worryingly, the brake pedal doesn’t offer much feedback and a bigger issue turns out to be cornering grip. The Bridgestone Potenza S001L tires offer quite limited cornering grip. Coming out of the bend also requires patience. Hitting the gas too soon leads to the Bridgestones leaving behind a smokescreen.
Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance: a sharp design
The Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance looks stunning in the infrared color paired with the blacked out accents throughout the vehicle, which gives the vehicle a very sporty stance. There’s LED lighting all around, and the Lexus Spindle grille looks proud from the start. The 19-inch wheels are lighter than before to optimize performance. Out back is when the IS 500 starts to feel special with the quad exhaust tips and blacked-out lip spoiler. This gives the IS 500 F sport a useful look.
The interior is upscale and offers plenty of modern features like Alexa connectivity, dual-zone climate control, and a 360-degree parking camera. There’s good use of leather and other soft-touch materials, and the touchscreen is quite large and offers immediate feedback. All of the controls inside are simple, easy to reach and reach, and are placed exactly where you expect them to be.
The sport performance Lexus IS 500 F starts at $56,500 and is one of the most expensive cars in its class. The infrared red color costs an additional $500. The vehicle is offered in a fully loaded version and the vehicle options are quite limited. Considering the price and the performance it offers, the IS 500 F Sport Performance is a value-for-money proposition as it offers the raw mechanical feel that few vehicles come with these days. Plus, as the industry moves towards electrification, this could be the last chance to take advantage of big V8 engines.
Only 500 serialized Launch Edition models will be produced.
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