Ottawa, Ontario -
When you hear the engine of the new Lexus IS F
roar, images of legendary muscle cars from the 1960s like the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger immediately come to mind. Such a big, powerful engine in such a sleek body? That's what I call a true sleeper. Lexus is not known for producing sports cars, but one of its engineers, Yukihiko Yaguchi, kept believing and managed to convince Toyota executives to let him create an all-new machine during his spare time.
|You have to get up-close to fully appreciate the car's styling, because the lines are very similar to those of the regular IS350.|
The Lexus IS F showcases his passion and the commitment of his partners: Takaaki Kimura, designer of the Yamaha F1-derived engine, Brembo (brakes), BBS (wheels) as well as the folks at Toyota Racing Development. The premium Japanese brand has now proven that it can build a car to rival the BMW M3 (which I tested a month ago), the Audi RS4
and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
You have to get up-close to fully appreciate the car's styling, because the lines are very similar to those of the regular IS350. Pay attention to the front fascia and you'll notice more prominent, functional air intakes. Further emphasizing its sporty character are flared fenders and unique side scoops. Special F badging is found above these scoops and on the trunklid. In Canada, the 19-inch forged aluminium wheels combining chrome and graphite are wrapped by Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires. A power bulge was added to the hood in order to accommodate the new, larger engine. The design team also worked on the car's stance and aerodynamics, successfully achieving zero lift. At high speed, the IS F generates an incredible amount of downforce, which helps it stick to the road like hot cheese on a pizza box. Driver-oriented
Step inside and you'll discover a true premium sports sedan interior. Everything is functional and cleverly thought-out while offering the driver maximum fun behind the wheel. I particularly liked the supportive seats. Some taller colleagues of mine found them a bit tight or too short, but as far as I'm concerned, they did a wonderful job. In addition, the telescopic steering wheel and the many other adjustments make it easy to fine-tune your driving position. While the instrument panel is comprehensive and well lit, I strongly recommend Lexus to add a digital speedometer in the middle to make it easier for the driver to keep an eye on the vehicle's speed; the needle is hard to spot at times and the digits are too small. I would also move the VDIM control with ESC-Off switch to a more convenient location.
|Step inside and you'll discover a true premium sports sedan interior.|