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2009 Lexus IS-F Review
Stunning looks and amazing handling.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Compact four-door sedans with high handling and massive drivability are still very rare. The idea is that a two-door coupe is much better if amazing speed and handling are the orders of the day. However, the average driver still needs to get around town, to get to work, and run errands to make time for cruising during the weekends. This demand has led to the sport sedan category. Almost all manufacturers tried its hand at this class of car at one point. The issue is that the companies involved were putting too much emphasis on the sedan part rather than the sport part of the car. That problem was halted with the Lexus IS-F.
Lexus decided to join the letter-based acronym divisions of the automotive industry with the IS-F and certainly has turned some heads. The IS-F is based on the IS entry-level sport sedan design but manages to gain all of the high performance upgrades that car enthusiasts would expect from an acronym-division vehicle. The 2009 IS-F is truly the black sheep of the Lexus family as it focuses on overt flashiness rather than the standard conservative aspects that everyone associates with the company.
Engines: 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: eight-speed automatic
Models: IS-F Base
The sporty Lexus IS-F rarely needs to go through huge modifications as it is such a new vehicle. Since the original design of the flashy exterior, and the inclusion of performance as well as luxury elements, changes between yearly models from its recent beginning were very limited. The 2009 IS-F only receives a few minor alterations but remains relatively unchanged from the previous year's model. A revised instrument panel and interior trim enhancements are included in the 2009 edition of the car. Also, there are a handful of changes to feature availability.
One of the most noticeably different aspects of the 2009 IS-F, in comparison to other Lexus models (even other IS models), is the exterior. The body of the IS-F was actually modeled on the original IS base design. The standard IS body was lowered by one centimeter for the IS-F, and the hood features a slightly bulging appearance in the middle to make room for the larger engine. The hood itself also has a sharper curve than the base IS. Some flashy elements added to the appearance of the IS-F are altered side fenders and skirts, a wire-mesh grille, and side air vents. Yet, the design's most poignant features are the false quad exhaust tailpipes that consist of two vertically stacked exhaust tips on each side that do not actually connect to the real exhaust pipes.
The interior of the IS-F is quite different from other Lexus vehicles as it focuses on being in-tune with the sporty exterior rather than being comfortable on the whole. Bucket seats are used in both the front and the rear of the car to create the four-passenger capacity. Braided aluminum panels, several F-marque emblems, and smooth blue ambient lighting all combine to embrace high-quality materials within the ultra-sport based style. The controls are well placed, though so that driving can take center-stage with control manipulation being intuitive. Sound insulation is superb for such a small car that features such a powerful engine. However, even though the IS-F only has a four-seat capacity compared to its five-seat IS brethren, the vehicle still has problems with interior space. The 2009 IS-F has the same issues with headroom and rear-seat legroom.
Performance & Handling
The 2009 Lexus IS-F is powered by an incredibly powerful 5.0-liter V-8 engine that can produce 416 horsepower and 371 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options for this engine are restricted to an eight-speed automatic with a paddle-shift manual mode. Acceleration is incredible and is definitely one of the best features of the IS-F; it can rocket from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. The suspension for this car is rather intense and the ride quality is uncompromising, meaning that the jarring from a rough road might be considered too much.
Safety features which come standard include anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side and knee airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. An optional element is the very effective pre-collision system which comes paired to the adaptive cruise control selection.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Massive speeding power
- Amazing handling
- High quality interior style
You Won't Like
- No manual transmission
- Very rattling suspension
- Small cabin accommodations
Stunning looks and amazing handling.
If You Like This Vehicle
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See the New 2014 IS-F.
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