After years of being known as builders of quality cars with luxury comforts Lexus is now poised to put some “F” in its cars – FUN. When Lexus put out their IS 250 and IS 350 they drew some immediate approval from me for having a sedan with some parts aggression mixed with some class and Lexus reliability. However, with the IS-F Lexus has their sites on the Grand Pooba of sporting sedans – the BMW M3.
In order to challenge the 2008 M3 and its new 400-hp V8 Lexus has grabbed one of their own V8’s out of their inventory. While Lexus is still keeping wraps on which V8 they intend to use the speculation is out there that the 5.0 Liter V8 from the LS 600h L is a likely candidate. The target output for whatever V8 they choose is said to be 400-hp with an intended zero-to-sixty time less than 4.9 seconds. Anything above 4.8 seconds would pair the IS-F with the BMW 335i, and apparently that would not be aiming high enough for Lexus.
Paired up with the V8 beneath the bonnet of the IS-F is an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual mode. Lexus is reporting that their paddle upshifts will take less than 1/10th of a to be performed while downshifts will require computer synchro’s for proper shifting. Beneath the car Lexus has a 3-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability control system. The driver of the IS-F has the option of Normal mode, Sport mode and an ever pleasing OFF mode. While most enthused driving can take place in Sport mode their inclusion of an OFF mode indicates that the Lexus IS-F is meant for more than just some little romps on the highway.
Some interesting design cue’s that will either capture an enthusiasts audience or put them off all together on the car are the fender flares and the hood bulge. Both design changes were required to accommodate the larger V8 engine and the wider 19-inch wheels, but both could have a polarizing effect on shoppers. Other design alterations that stand out are the larger air ducts in the front for greater air-flow and the stacked, quad exhaust fuming out the back of the IS-F. The stacked exhaust again gives the Lexus sport sedan a unique twist and yet exhibits a sense of style blended with their yearning to be driven.
With more sport yet to come in the next year from Lexus the IS-F is a splendid introduction of things to come. Ofcourse all of that could change with one or so bad laps on the track. The hope is though that Lexus has done all its homework and put together a car that is up for the M3 challenge. Look for the Lexus IS-F to be available before the year is out.
How about some speculation fun? What do you think of the Lexus IS-F’s chances up against the BMW M3?