Excellent engine; track-ready handling; performance; excellent seating; lengthy standard-features list
The IS-F, which is a limited-edition, high-performance variant of the Lexus IS sedans returns for its second model year with no significant feature changes. There are however a few minor interior revisions for 2009, including a new instrument panel design and a new Piano Black finish on navigation-equipped vehicles. A two-tone Terra Cotta and black interior scheme is newly available.
The IS-series sport sedans form the basis for the IS-F, an aggressive high-performance model built to appeal to enthusiasts who want a racetrack-ready vehicle. The IS-F can brag about its ability to race to 60 mph in less than five seconds and reach a top speed of over than 170 mph.
A specially engineered 5.0-liter V-8 engine, co-developed with Yamaha, is under the hood of the IS-F. It makes 416 horsepower and has a two-stage intake system and solid valve lifters--along with engine and transmission oil coolers--for a combination of good everyday driving qualities and track toughness. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a direct sport-shift feature for manual gear selection via steering wheel-mounted paddles. The feature automatically blips the throttle to match revs when downshifting.
The rear-wheel-drive IS-F also includes other hardware to take advantage of the engine's tremendous power. The double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension has been completely retuned for the powertrain, and huge Brembo disc brakes provide impressive braking ability. Forged alloy 19-inch BBS wheels and high-performance tires are also included.
The IS-F sits about a half-inch lower than the other IS models; It also features dual exhausts with quad outlets, flared front fenders, larger air intakes and a rear spoiler. Inside, the cabin is trimmed with a special aluminized composite. The IS-F also has an expanded gauge cluster and logos throughout. The front sport seats are comfortable and aggressively contoured to hold occupants in place, while the back seat will fit three smaller adults across. A ski pass-through allows longer items to fit through the cabin and trunk, while the trunk itself is quite roomy.
The IS-F gets a sport-calibrated version of the VDIM stability control system. It offers a Sport mode that permits the driver to push the car into corners harder than would otherwise be allowed, for on-track driving.
The IS-F includes a very long list of standard features including many that are only offered as optional on the other IS models. A moonroof, bi-xenon HID headlamps, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing wipers, memory power front heated seats and a SmartAccess entry system are all included, along with all the usual luxury-car features. Options are limited to larger, even more exclusive add-ons such as a 14-speaker, 300-watt Mark Levinson sound system, dynamic radar cruise control and a Pre-Collision System, Intuitive Park Assist and a navigation system with Bluetooth hands-free interface.
Although it looks quite similar to the IS 250 and IS 350 sedans on which it's based, save for a slightly more aggressive profile, the IS-F is an entirely different beast--race-ready for weekend jaunts on the track yet docile enough for daily driving. The IS-F's powertrain is a little smoother and better suited for everyday driving than that of the BMW M3. The IS-F's strong standard feature list makes it a very strong value.
Vehicle Price: 57,635.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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