We must applaud Lexus for having the audacity to go head-to-head with the BMW M3. That’s not an easy target to shoot down, since the M3 is a high-powered beast that feels every bit at home on a track than on the open road. And since Lexus has a reputation for building rock-solid vehicles that aren’t very exciting to drive, the feat was even greater.
So, the Japanese luxury brand had to create a black sheep, a car that had a completely different personality than the rest of the model line-up. And since Toyota likes to flaunt its greenness with hybrids, the IS F is obviously the family rebel.
So, did Lexus succeed in conceiving a M3 killer? Read on.
Roaring V8 engine
The new M3, the new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and the departed Audi RS 4 all have V8s, so the IS F needed one. Displacing 5.0 litres, Lexus’ small-block mill produces 416 horsepower and 371 lb-ft of torque; there’s more twist force here than in the M3 which rings up 414 hp and 295 lb-ft. However, the C63 belts out 451 horses and 443 lb-ft, while the Cadillac CTS-V is the rocketship of the pack with 556 angry ponies and 551 foot-pounds.
Another first for Lexus: an engine whose sound at full throttle provokes goosebumps. At just below 4,000 rpm (or higher if you’re not gunning it), the V8 suddenly emits a deep, baritone growl that quickly becomes addictive.
By the way, getting to 100 km/h from a standstill takes just 4.9 seconds, and getting from 80 to 120 km/h takes 3 seconds flat, which is mighty impressive. The quarter mile is cleared in 12.9 seconds at 177 km/h.
At low RPMs around town, the IS F won’t offend anybody; if you want to hear the engine’s roar, though, you’ll have to crush the pedal to the floor and accelerate pretty quickly, which will offend just about everybody around you. In contrast, the C63 AMG is quite a loudmouth.
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2009 Lexus IS Specifications
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