Following hot on the heels of the new IS make-over last year, Lexus is giving it a much-needed shot of performance to match the powerful coupes in its line-up. Lexus just introduced the IS 500 F-Sport, which will put the wonderful 5.0L V8 under the hood and make it a performance contender. The ferocious-sounding 5.0L V8 boasts 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque yet only adds 143 pounds to the vehicles overall curb weight. It pushes the heavy 3,890-lb car to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds while achieving 24 mpg on the highway.
The immense V8 power is routed through Lexus 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. The two performance drive modes, “Sport S”, which quickens the engine and transmission responses, and “Sport S+”, which also adjusts steering ratio and suspension response, are included. Also included is the Dynamic Handling Package, which consists of an Adaptive Variable Suspension and a Torsen limited slip differential that should improve handling.
Visually, the IS 500 will be identifiable from the other IS-series cars by unique black badging, a quad-exhaust system, a revised lower rear diffuser, rear lip spoiler, and the unique 19” Enkei 10-spoke wheels that shave a combined 6 lbs of unsprung weight from the car. Behind those wheels will be 14” two-piece aluminum front brake rotors and 12.7” rear rotors to haul the massive car down from speed. Inside differences include black F-sport badging on the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and door scuff plates, as well as exclusive pedals.
In the safety department, the IS 500 gets several updates. The first is the updated Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, which includes the Front Collision Warning system, Automatic Emergency Braking, and Pedestrian Detection, and Bicyclist Detection. These last two not only help detect traffic immediately ahead of you but also a preceding bicyclist pedestrian in daylight conditions and a preceding pedestrian in daytime and low-light conditions. The system also can detect oncoming vehicle and pedestrians when performing a left-hand turn and is designed to activate typical pre-collision system if needed. The All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control has been updated, and a Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist has also been added, and Intelligent High Beams and Road Sign Assist will be standard.
We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel and checking out the improved IS 500 as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!