The Lexus IS F is the company's unabashed sport sedan and answer to high-performance German sport sedans such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. The IS first went on sale in 2000, followed by the current generation, which launched in 2006, and the first IS F in 2007. After a 2010 refresh, there are few changes for 2012, but Lexus is expected to announce a full redesign for 2013.
The high-powered IS F gets by with a 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and an eight-speed automatic transmission capable of hitting 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. With stylish and aggressive body cues, larger brakes, and a tuned suspension, the IS F toes the line with competition from BMW's M3, Audi's S4, and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Inside, the IS is surprisingly cramped considering its exterior size. There is, however, every conceivable amenity including leather trimmed seats, dual zone climate control, multiple intelligent airbags, and impressive standard and optional audio and infotainment systems.
Despite its dated platform, the IS F remains an attractive and competent sports sedan that keeps up with the best from Germany.
Body style: Sedan
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Model: IS F
There should be a new IS for 2013. Until then, the only changes for 2012 include Nebula Gray Pearl paint and Fire Agate Pearl, replacing Smoky Granite Mica and Glacier Frost Mica paint colors.
Going into its seventh year, the IS has aged gracefully, and maintains an attractive sport exterior. Chrome grills, exhaust tips, and standard 19-inch rims stand out from the pack. The most notable difference between the IS F and the standard-issue IS is its more bulbous nose, a necessary concession to the 5.0-liter V-8 crammed under the hood.
Leather and wood touches abound throughout the interior. Heated and ventilated front seats, 14-speaker surround sound audio, Bluetooth, and navigation are available.
Performance & Handling
The IS has an excellent sport-tuned chassis and provides an engaging drive. The IS 350 is a competitive sports sedan and keeps up with the best from Germany, while the IS 250 offers entry-level access and top model refinement. The IS F takes the power and suspension package to extreme levels, and is immensely entertaining on the road or the track.
The IS line has standard dual front, dual front knee, front and rear side curtain, and front and rear side airbags. It also features an electronic stability and traction control system, brake assist, and electronic brake distribution. There is an optional pre-collision system that is radar tracked should the driver fail to react to system warnings, as well as a rearview camera.
EPA Fuel Economy
IS F: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Fire-breathing power
You Won't Like
Stylish sedan, awkward nose, just slightly lags German competitors
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW M3
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG