Does the New Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Have the Speed You Need?

When people think of efficiency, they tend to think of Lexus. However, the automaker is also focused on speed and the sport of driving.  As a case in point, the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is in their lineup.

This luxury sport sedan is focused on driving enthusiasts, as you will see in this review.  It’s as if the engineers took a checklist for sporty driving and made sure to apply it to all of the major components. 

How Fast is It?

The first question anyone asks about any sports car at any price is: how fast is it?  In the case of  the new Lexus IS F Sport Performance, the answer is that it can make the sprint from zero to 65 mph in just 4.4 seconds.  This was measured by AMCI testing. 

Even when hitting 7,100 rpm, the IS F Sport Performance V8 can spit out 472 horsepower. With that much capability, drivers should feel like they really are commanding the show when the pedal is pressed to the floor.  The V8 makes a throaty roar, ensuring that onlookers know it’s really this powerful.

This V8 powertrain churns out  395 lb-ft of torque.  Again, Lexus engineers make it possible to harness it even at a high rpm. In this case, the driver can count on the torque up to 4,800 rpm.  A lockup torque converter adds push when a driver needs it most.  

How Does It Drive?

Despite its speed, this luxury sports sedan still needs to pass the drivability test. Fortunately, handling is enhanced in multiple ways.  For starters, this sports car has a Torsen limited slip differential. The driver can expect lines to be straight and corners to be more fun in this new Lexus.  

The F Sport Performance sedan has rear-wheel drive, giving it that sporty response that Europeans are accustomed to.   Plus, high-speed agility is improved by a rear performance damper. 

The bumps in the road won’t throw off steering thanks to an adaptive variable suspension. It is constantly regulating the car’s response so that it handles the driver’s commands with more accuracy. 

The special transmission utilizes advanced mapping to regulate response and harness power.  Drivers can take charge of response by switching to Sport-Plus mode.  This alters damping and steering to meet a driver’s preferences.

Does It Look the Part?

While it is clearly based on the regular Lexus IS, the F Sport Performance definitely achieves the level of sexy needed to claim luxury sports sedan status.  The streamlining that goes into transforming this car into a performance vehicle requires some sculpting of the body for a sleeker look and a more aerodynamic response.  

Up front, the bumpers are lengthened, and the hood is raised two inches with two distinctive pinches that add to its “face”.  The large grille is flanked by creatively shaped lights.  A check-mark like LED light adds to the unique character of this car. 

In the back, there’s no mistaking this car’s sporty intentions.  Below the lengthened fenders, dual stacked tail pipes form a quad exhaust.  Maneuverability and speed are enhanced by the lightweight of the Enkei alloy wheel covers.

The plush interior retains the sporty character of the exterior without sacrificing any of the luxury that should be expected at this price point.  Putting an exclamation point on their intentions, the start button doesn’t just crank the engine. It also activates special animation on the driver’s screen, highlighting the engine’s power and promise. 

Interior color choices include a bold red upholstery, a natural fit for a sports sedan. The other main interior has race-inspired geometric trim accents with a white or black upholstery.  

According to the Lexus website, the driver’s chair was placed to position the driver’s hip point near the vehicle’s center of gravity.  As you might expect, both front sport chairs have enhanced bolsters which should hold the driver and front-seat passenger in place during aggressive cornering. Lexus uses a foam-injected construction to achieve the chair’s unique shape.

What Driver Assistance Tech is On Board?

Lexus has piled on its driver assistance functions as standard on the F Sport Performance.  This includes warning systems with active functions for frontal collision dangers, including cars, bicycles, and pedestrians.  Emergency braking can be triggered when a danger is detected and the driver’s response is slow. 

The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control can be turned on at 30 miles per hour.  Lane Tracing Assist, which goes along with the radar cruise feature, may trigger slight steering corrections to maintain the sports sedan in its lane when traveling 32 mph or more.  

There’s no doubt that this new Lexus is poised to turn heads and win fans. If you love speed, you won’t be disappointed.


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