The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance has just been unveiled and it’s a sports sedan that will be catered mainly to the United States.
The Lexus IS recently received a major refresh last year. While not an entirely all-new model, all the exterior body panels are new and it features the so-called Lexus Driving Signature. This was a result of the IS being honed at Toyota’s new Shimoyama test track, which is basically a track designed to simulate Germany’s famed Nurburgring. However, the IS’s major facelift wasn’t enough to keep it competitive amid its fierce German rivals which were completely redesigned from the ground up.
To answer that insatiable need for even more power from American consumers, Lexus has fitted the company’s tried-and-tested 5.0-liter V8 under the compact sports sedan’s hood. In this day and age of downsizing and turbocharging, Lexus definitely deserves praise for still using a V8 that definitely sounds better than any small turbocharged engine out there.
This engine, which you may recognize from the RC F, GS F and LC, produces 472 hp and 535 Nm of torque, in which this is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. This engine also used to be in the previous generation Lexus IS F, yet Lexus has decided not to call this an IS F because it isn’t a fully-fledged BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C 63 competitor. Instead, the IS 500 F Sport Performance is more of a competitor to the likes of the BMW M340i and Mercedes-AMG C 43, which are a notch below their fully-fledged high-performance variants.
The 5.0-liter V8 engine is enough to get the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance from zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in 4.5 seconds, which is 0.4 seconds slower than the base BMW M3, which produces 473 hp but significantly more torque at 598 Nm. An even more powerful M3 Competition is available, and that already produces 503 hp and 650 Nm of torque.
Raw numbers aren’t the purpose of the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance though. Lexus has made huge strides in making the IS 500 F Sport its sportiest, most fun-to-drive IS ever. As standard, the Lexus IS 500 comes as standard with the Dynamic Handling Package, which adds adaptive variable suspension and steering. Thanks to the new rear Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD) and Yamaha-tuned rear dampers, agility and handling are improved over the IS 350 F Sport whilst improving low-speed comfort and high-speed stability.
Because of the 5.0-liter V8’s girth, the hood of the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance needed to be raised by two inches. It’s also the main defining exterior difference of the IS 500 from the other IS variants. Also, despite the bigger engine, the IS 500 F Sport is a mere 65 kg heavier than the IS 350 with a 3.5-liter V6 engine.
Other differences from other IS variants include 19-inch 10-spoke Enkei lightweight alloy wheels, 14-inch two-piece aluminum front disc brakes, 12.7-inch rear discs in the rear wheels, quad exhaust tips, a new rear diffuser and lengthened front and rear bumpers.
The interior design of the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance remains largely unchanged from other IS models. There’s still a 10.3-inch Lexus infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that can be controlled through the touch screen or the touchpad along with a fully-digital gauge cluster. There are a number of F Sport badging all around the interior, though the IS 500 F Sport Performance gets its own unique animation in the gauges during startup.
Of course, as with most modern cars nowadays, the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance comes with a host of advanced driver-assist systems called Lexus Safety System+, which includes full-speed radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure and keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning, just to name a few.
The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance will go on sale exclusively in the North American market this fall with pricing to be announced closer to its on-sale date.