The rumors are true. Lexus has revived the high-performance IS.
Lexus has rolled out the IS 500 F Sport Performance, and it's gunning for the likes of the BMW M3, Audi RS4, and Mercedes-AMG C63. If anything, Lexus threw us a curveball by saying they had an F-Sport model coming, but we weren't expecting V8 power for the sport sedan.
Yes, Lexus opted to shove in a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood of this sport sedan. That makes this car unique among its peers for sticking in a naturally-aspirated engine instead of a turbocharged one. It also bucks the trend of downsized turbo engines in high-performance vehicles.
The 5.0-liter V8 in the IS 500 F Sport is similar to the one fitted to the RC-F and LC 500. It's good for 473 PS and 535 Nm of torque, and it shifts with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While it's 4 PS down from the coupe, torque is up by 5 Nm from its two-door counterpart. With figures like that, Lexus claims it can do the 0 to 60 MPH (0-97 km/h) sprint in just 4.5 seconds. Lexus didn't mention any top speed figures, but it can likely knock on the door of 280 km/h.
But how does it compare to its rivals? Audi's twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V6-powered RS4 Avant puts out 450 PS and 600 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the redesigned BMW M3 packs 480 PS and 550 Nm from its 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline-six. As for the Mercedes-AMG C63, it pushes out 476 PS and 650 Nm of torque. That puts the IS 500 F Sport ahead of the Audi and just a little behind the Mercedes-AMG.
So how can you distinguish the IS 500 F Sport from the IS 350 F Sport? The hood has been raised nearly 2 inches and receives sculpted center character lines. The front bumper and fenders are longer to help accommodate its V8 engine. The IS 500 wears 19-inch split-10-spoke alloy wheels from Enkei. Other exterior tweaks include a revised lower rear diffuser accent, a quad exhaust system, dark chrome window trim, and a black trunk lip spoiler.
Inside, the super sedan has F SPORT Performance badging on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and door sill scuff plates. It also gets a metal accelerator pedal, brake pedal, and footrest. Not content with that, Lexus added a startup animation that is exclusive to IS 500 F Sport.
Given that Lexus Philippines brought in two F models already, we're praying that they continue that tradition with the IS 500 F Sport Performance. Besides, who wouldn't want a sports car-baiting sedan with V8 power? With an extra pair of seats and a large trunk, it will be heaps more practical than a low-slung sports coupe.