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2022 Lexus IS F Sport Performance Assessment: Impressive Velocity, Potent Engine And Enhanced Cabin Comfort

We’ve quietly anticipated the possibility of Lexus IS producing another IS F, and although rumors abound, nothing has been officially confirmed. While it isn’t a direct successor to the IS F, Lexus has unveiled the IS 500 F Performance, which enhances the performance of the compact sedan.

In a manner akin to the IS F, the IS 500 F Sport Performance is propelled by the brand’s superb naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. This V8 has powered not only the IS F but also other high-performance models like the GS F and RC F. The V8 easily churns out 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. All this power is directed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Given that this engine lacks turbocharging, substantial throttle input is required to extract its full potential. Peak horsepower is achieved at 7,100 rpm, with peak torque kicking in at 4,800 rpm. Consequently, the IS 500 feels rather mild during city driving, but unleash the throttle and it springs to life, sprinting from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Despite its considerable power output, the IS 500 remains a well-mannered cruiser with a distinct bite. Although it shares the same V8 engine as its IS F predecessor, the overall driving experience tilts more towards comfort, making it neither a true IS F successor nor a direct competitor to the BMW M3 or Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.

Under heavy acceleration, the transmission indicates a preference for a relaxed demeanor with leisurely gear shifts, which even the Sport S and Sport S Plus drive modes fail to rectify, although paddle shifters are available.

The adaptive dampers in the suspension effectively absorb bumps along the route, but handling the curves lacks the expected excitement. The suspension’s softness allows for more body roll than optimal, and the steering feedback falls short of instilling confidence on twisty roads. Additionally, the brakes show signs of rapid fade and are not suited for track use.

In summary, the IS 500 presents an improvement in performance over the V6-powered IS 350, yet for enthusiasts seeking a more hardcore sport sedan, it may fall short of expectations. While the IS 500 shines in terms of powertrain, the emphasis remains on comfort and relaxation in other aspects.

2022 Lexus IS F Sport Performance Review

Despite the positive reception of the IS 500’s exterior styling, the interior fails to garner similar enthusiasm. In the recent redesign, Lexus predominantly focused on the exterior aesthetic of the IS, evident from the minimal interior updates. Observing the dated 10.3-inch touchscreen, it’s evident that the IS lags behind in modernity. The absence of the latest and significantly enhanced infotainment system from the brand is noticeable, with the car using the outdated Inform multimedia system.

The infotainment system’s low-resolution graphics and cumbersome user interface are drawbacks. Even the backup camera appears outdated. While Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, the wired connectivity requirement persists. The IS 500 is additionally equipped with a standard 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

Internally, the IS 500 bears few distinctions from the IS 350 or IS 300 models, save for marginally sportier front seats. Visually, besides the unique 19-inch wheels and quad exhausts, the IS 500’s identity is primarily conveyed through its badge. Does this turn the IS 500 into the ultimate undercover sedan? To some extent.

Ultimately, while the IS 500 represents a commendable leap forward, it falls short of being a direct rival to high-performance sedans like the M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. Its V8 powerplant can only carry it so far, with the German competitors boasting superior suspensions, optional all-wheel drive, and more robust brakes, elevating performance levels further.

2022 Lexus IS F Sport Performance Review

The bright side is that the starting price for the IS 500 is relatively affordable at $58,425, inclusive of destination charges. This offers a significant price advantage over its pricier counterparts.

Lexus has articulated intentions to focus on sportier variants within its lineup, hence while an IS F confirmation is pending, there remains a potential slot for it in the model range. Stay tuned.

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