…the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance. You can’t have it in Singapore, but it does have implications for faster Lexus models coming our way
Does anyone here remember the Lexus IS F? We sure do. It was Lexus’ answer to the BMW M3 from 2007 and the brand’s most exciting car until the superb RC F came along.
You can’t buy one anymore since the model has been discontinued, but Lexus has announced a new IS with a big V8 and nearly 500hp…which you still can’t buy here: Lexus Singapore says the model is US-only for now.
But it does have important implications for future Lexus models, so we’re not wasting your time, honest.
The new model is the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance model. Under the bonnet is a similar naturally-aspirated, 5.0-litre V8 engine – that’s an eye-opener these days, as all competitor engines are turbocharged and the mill delivers its peak performance at a high 7,100rpm, that’s 472hp, and a brawny 535Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. Keep in mind that’s more power than the actual IS F had – 422hp.
0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds (top speed is undisclosed for now) is relatively tame in this day and age, when the M3 does 3.9-seconds, but Lexus performance models have always been about the experience rather than sheer numbers – we found out as much in our RC F review.
The car was, like the rest of the IS range, developed at Toyota’s mini-Nurburgring, the Toyota Technical Centre Shimoyama. If the IS 300 and IS 300h are anything to go by, it should be a peach to drive. There’s specially-tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension, 19-inch light alloy Enkei wheels, a Torsen limited-slip diff in the rear, rear dampers are unique Yamaha units, and there’s also uprated brakes.
In other words, the IS 500 seems to be an IS F in everything but name. But what’s up with the name ‘F Sport Performance’?
Like BMW’s M Performance cars or the mid-range Mercedes-AMG cars (35 and 53 models), F Sport Performance cars slot between normal cars and the Lexus F high-performance range. Those cars are selling better than ever, so Lexus would be daft not to bring them to our shores eventually.
But this also implies that not only is Lexus making more of these mid-tier cars, it will also continue to work on full-bore F models and presumably an IS F.
Japanese cars you can’t get in Singapore are a rarity, but here’s another one: The Nissan GT-R50 Italdesign
If you really want a fast Lexus IS, Singapore now has the IS 350 F Sport for the first time ever, with a 315hp 3.5-litre V6. More info on that car in our IS Singapore launch news.