The showcase feature for the 2008 Lexus IS F is undoubtedly the power and handling while it highlights the quiet and well-made undertone of high-quality materials and loads of features. All of this makes it worthy of this vaunted segment. Yet the performance is not quite up to the standard set by BMW in this class. Just the same, it is a big step for a maker known for pure luxury.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: eight-speed automatic
Models: Lexus IS F
The IS F is entirely new for 2008.
The 2008 Lexus IS F is the high-performance sibling in the Lexus IS series and is only available in one trim. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels with high-performance tires, xenon headlights, and Brembo brakes. But the exterior drew some criticism for having a bolt-on appearance. While the IS-series are nicely-styled and muscular cars, the IS F doesn’t look quite as sharp as its stable mates.
The comfortable cabin has standard features like heated and leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable front sport seats, driver and front passenger memory settings, a 13-speaker audio system with six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, and a moonroof. Available options include adaptive cruise control, a 14-speaker Mark Levinson CD/DVD surround-sound audio system, iPod integration, satellite radio, park assist, and a DVD navigation system with back-up camera and Bluetooth capability.
The IS F suffers from a lack of space like other IS-series cars, but likewise offers its sibling’s quiet, and high-quality cabin loaded with features, which is constructed from quality materials.
Performance & Handling
With a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that kicks out 416 hp and 371 lb-ft of torque, the 2008 Lexus IS-F is close to being a pure sports car. Lexus considers the IS F as a performance-oriented sedan as it's only available as a rear drive with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The lack of a manual transmission is somewhat mitigated by performance boasting 100-millisecond upshifts and automatic rev-matching on downshifts.
The IS-F registered a zero-to-60-mph run in 4.8 seconds while making a 13.2-second quarter-mile at 109 mph. While it's not bad for a 3780-pound sedan, consumers may expect more since the IS 350 propels itself in 5.2 seconds while making the zero-to-60-mph time and 13.8 seconds at 101.2 mph in the quarter-mile. While the IS F really moves fast, especially for a Lexus, it may not be quite ready to do battle with BMW in class rivals just yet.
The handling is precise, even though it falls prey to the lack of steering. The suspension was made with a pure sports-machine mentality that makes the ride questionable if it's used as a daily driver. The eight-speed is equally out of place during daily driving and hunts for the right gear; the IS F is track-worthy but not errand-worthy.
While the IS F has not been tested in government crash safety tests and isn’t likely to be tested, its siblings in the IS line received perfect or near-perfect marks in all of the categories. The IS F does boast an impressive list of safety features: traction control, anti-lock disc brakes, and stability control. There’s a full complement of airbags that cover the front-seat side and full-length side curtain. Options include a pre-collision system (PCS) that combines with a Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. PCS makes use of a radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. If the computer system decides that a collision can’t be avoided, it pre-emptively retracts the front seatbelts, stiffens the suspension and pre-initializes brake assist so increased braking is applied as soon as the brake pedal is pressed. Also included is Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system. This concept combines the electronic stability system with a host of other dynamic controls for a safety system that is not merely just a list of gear but truly a system.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus IS F: 16/23 mpg city/highway
- Interior fit and quality
- V-8 performance
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Quiet interior for this class
You Won't Like
- No manual transmission
- No all-wheel drive
- Exterior look
- Rough ride
All-out performance that makes shoppers question if it's really a Lexus.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Audi RS4
- BMW M3
- Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG