Lexus Put a 5.0-Liter V-8 in the IS Sedan, But Don't Call It an IS-F
Image credit: Lexus
From Road & Track
It's been seven years since Lexus sold a compact sports sedan with a V-8. Now it's back, with an adaptive chassis and 472 hp from the venerable 5.0-liter V-8, which convinced us in the GS F, RC F and the IS F of the last generation. But it has a new, somewhat puzzling name: The 2022 Lexus IS500 F Sports Performance.
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Yes, this new model marks the introduction of yet another Lexus sub-brand built around the letter "F". When upgrading from your base Lexus, you now have three levels to choose from: F Sport with relatively minor improvements; F Sport Performance, with some more serious drivetrain and suspension improvements; and F, the top of the performance ladder, cars that "continue to receive the most innovative technology from [Lexus] and remain the ultimate expression of achievement and achievement," said a Lexus spokesman.
At the moment, however, the IS500 F Sport Performance hardly differs from a full-fledged F model. It contains the same 472 hp V-8 that powers the RC F, the only F model Lexus currently sells. But the IS500 F Sport Performance weighs 3,891 pounds, more than 100 pounds lighter than the RC F. The IS500 delivers 395 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and Lexus claims a 0-60 time of 4 , 5 seconds, 0.3 seconds slower than the RC F.
As is typical of modern sports sedans, the IS500 also offers a range of driving modes for configuring variable-ratio steering, adaptive suspension, throttle valves and transmission behavior. You also get a real limited-slip differential and large 14-inch rotors at the front and 12.7-inch at the rear. Given that the IS350 F-Sport has already surprised us with its nifty chassis tuning, the IS500 has a shot at the size of a real sports sedan. And now that we've heard that the Mercedes C-Class only runs four-cylinder, Lexus may offer the last V-8 in the small sports sedan class.
Image credit: Lexus
But of course it's still a Lexus. The automaker claims the new adaptive chassis will help provide better stability at high speeds while improving driving comfort around the city, which is already a strong suit of the redesigned IS. You also get the same interior and technical improvements that were introduced on the IS at the base level, including an updated driver assistance suite.
As it stands, it will not be easy to distinguish an IS500 F Sport Performance from a lesser IS350 F Sport in passing. The IS500's hood is two inches higher and has a more pronounced bulge (both are required for the larger engine) but no large scoops or flared fenders. The 19-inch Enkei 10-spoke wheels are available exclusively for the IS500. Lexus notes that these wheels are a pound lighter in the front and two pounds lighter in the rear than the F Sport wheels. A dark chrome-plated window trim, a black tailgate spoiler, a quad-tip exhaust and a striking rear bumper diffuser round off the visual changes. If previous experiences with 5.0-liter V-8 Lexusses provide any clue, the IS500 should sound spectacular.
Image credit: Lexus
The IS500 F Sport Performance will go on sale in late autumn 2021. Pricing isn't yet available, but for some pointers, the IS350 stickers are available for $ 42,900 and the RC F for $ 65,975. A Lexus spokesperson confirms that the IS500 F Sport Performance will compete with cars like the BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43 and Audi S4. But it has about 100 horsepower more than any of these cars, with an output of 472 horsepower even surpassing that of the front-runner Audi RS5 and the base Mercedes-AMG C63. The GS F was also aimed at the second best German models, which made it so weird that Lexus decided to create a whole new sub-brand for the IS V-8 sports sedan instead of following the tradition with one possible explanation: Maybe Lexus has even faster things planned? A rumored 660 hp LC F with V-8 drive and two turbochargers sounds pretty intriguing, and if anyone at Lexus is listening, we think an IS F with this powerful drivetrain is just fantastic.
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