Lexus is-f – 2010

Lexus IS-F

I was recently granted the opportunity with Lexus East Rand to drive a range of their cars across Joburg. The highlight, for me, was the Lexus IS-F, so it’s been granted its own post

Some background, the Lexus IS-F is Lexus’ answer to the BMW M3, Mercedes C63AMG and Audi RS4. It’s built on the Lexus IS platform (Google it if you don’t know) The F in my books, stands for “F*ck off fast”.

Here are some interesting things I noticed whilst driving this beast.
In any gear, just over 4000RPM the sound emitted from the engine and exhaust is probably what it sounded like when that Volcano in Iceland blew its lid. There’s only 4 seats, so sorry for your 3rd born (Side note, anyone with 3 kiddies should rather be driving a Voyager)
Sprinting start 0-100km/h is reached in 4.6seconds, and no less than an 8speed sequential shift gearbox that can shift gears as fast as a Ferrari F430.
Oh yes, and the 4 exhaust pipes, mounted 2 either side above each other looks … well … f*cking awesome!

Impressive to start with, but it doesn’t end there. The 5litre direct injection V8 sourced from the Lexus LS600 (their super saloon) cranks out 311kw in the IS-F and leads it up to a top speed of 270km/h. A little slap in the face to the German marquees that all have a gentleman’s agreement to limit most of their production cars to 250km/h. This is all very hard to understand unless you’ve driven one. The sound, speed and sheer acceleration is so exhilarating it could be sold as a shot in bar.

Handling has also seen the same attention as the engine, with up-rated stiffer suspension in the front (a heavier V8 needs more support) as well as larger anti roll bars and an even lower ride height. What amazes me, is that even though it’s a high performance saloon, compared to the C63 and M3, it’s way more comfortable, without totally losing the dynamic edge in the handling department (Ok it’s probably no M3 on the track)
You can feel the weight in the front, but handling is still phenomenal, with loads of grip from the 19inch rubber.

There is a Sport mode for the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) which dials in heavier steering, more responsive throttle, and fiddles with the stability systems to give more leeway on track days. I left that button alone.

The interior didn’t blow me away. There’s the renowned Lexus quality interior, but besides for the blue leather on the steering wheel, stitching, and ‘carbon fibre’ it is pretty standard IS inside (which isn’t a bad thing!)
That said, everything you need is there, and the seats are SURPREMELY comfortable, with just the right amount of lumbar and side support.
Once again, a great mix so you don’t have to compromise too much in your day-to-day driving.

I threw her down the highway, and easily charged up to illegal limits, too easily in-fact. The great thing is you can flappy paddle (full manual selection with torque converter from 2-8th gear) into 8th gear and cruise along with the engine thrumming just over 2000RPM.
Downside to cruising in 8th gear… you really need to shift down a couple of gears to get in the sweet zone to chase after a matt black M3 that just sped by.

There’s very little to dig at on this car, but I have only a few gripes and I’ll list ‘em below:
– Exterior isn’t easily distinguished from standard IS
– Sport button is hidden away like it’s the ugly step son
– Interior is a little bland, and the 4 seat set-up might not suit everyone
– Not as heavily driver focused as the BMW M3 / Audi RS4

The overshadowing positives:

– Better every-day comfort, along with better fuel consumption (yawn) than its rivals
– Doesn’t want to kill you around every corner when you throw the throttle down (unlike its rivals)
– The gearbox and brakes are an exquisite combination to the engine
– Near damn everything standard at a very competitive price (once again considering the rivals)

Note – a VERY recent revision to the model has been made with changes to the interior, suspension and some small exterior changes. This new revision retails at R792 000 (includes Lexus standard 4 year or 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan)

Thanks again to Lexus East Rand (Dealer of the year 2009) for the opportunity