Lexus celebrates the V8 with the first ever IS 500 F SPORT Performance

There's a heck of a lot of life yet in a large, naturally aspirated V8 engine

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We love some forced induction here at DriveTribe. Turbos? Yes please. Supercharging? Don't mind if I do.

But for all the love of air compression, there's a classical beauty to the simplicity of a naturally aspirated engine, where power is determined by clever engineering and sheer cubes. V8s will always have a big, noisy place in our hearts. So let's hear it for Lexus and its first ever IS 500 F SPORT Performance, which has nothing as noise-sapping as a turbo or supercharger.

Instead, it's a sport sedan with 5.0 liters of capacity, 472hp* and 385 lb ft of torque, which means a 0-60mph time of 4.4 seconds**. That's very fast. Such speediness is accompanied by an aural treat, courtesy of eight cylinders and stacked quad exhaust tips.

LOOKS

HEY! You can't park that here! This is the Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition in exclusive Incognito color. You'd better hurry up, as it's only available for one model year.

HEY! You can't park that here! This is the Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition in exclusive Incognito color. You'd better hurry up, as it's only available for one model year.

The IS 500 F SPORT Performance follows on the heels of the standard IS, which was dramatically overhauled for the 2021 model year. But you can always go a bit further, so now as well as a meaty engine with more power, the IS 500 gets sexy bodywork enhancements. These include a raised hood to accommodate that engine and dark chrome window trim, as well as exclusive 19-inch, 10-spoke Enkei wheels and F SPORT Performance badges, in purposeful black. The Launch Edition gets 19-inch matte black BBS wheels.

TECH STUFF

Burbleburbleburbleburbleburbleburble

Burbleburbleburbleburbleburbleburble

Despite its sizeable engine, there's only 143lbs between the IS 500 and the IS 350 F SPORT, which is a price well worth paying for all dem horses. It comes equipped with the same eight-speed Sport Direct Shift auto transmission as found in the RC F. You can, of course, fiddle with various settings to make things more or less responsive, depending on whether you're power-cruising or gettin' on it; the drive-mode selector lets you choose Sport S or Sport S+ mode to firm up the steering, beef up the throttle and sharpen up the gearbox. Custom Mode lets you pick your own favorite combination of flavors. Want soft dampers and fast steering? Go for it.

MORE TECH STUFF

Mmm, Lexusy

Mmm, Lexusy

More tech for you. The rear-wheel drive IS 500 comes with Adaptive Variable Suspension and Drive Mode Select with Sport S/S+ and custom modes. It’s also rocking a Torsen limited slip differential, which the engineers claim helps with both straight-line stability and handling, thanks to enhanced traction. Unlike the standard IS, the IS 500 has special Yamaha rear performance dampers that are more comfortable at low speeds but performance-enhancing when things get faster.

The brakes are larger too, with extra aero cooling and two-piece aluminum 14-inch front rotors. The rears measure 12.7 inches.

COMFORT STUFF

"Get in kids, and buckle up tight"

"Get in kids, and buckle up tight"

Of course, all this technical wizardry and brute strength is far from the end of the story. This isn't some uncouth hooligan that's all noise and fury. Well, not all the time. It's also a Lexus, which means you need to be able to kick back and relax in it.

And so you can. It’s got All The Safety Systems, aka the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5. That means you get the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. With enhanced radar and camera capabilities, this system now features left-turn intersection support for pedestrians and vehicles. It can also help detect the vehicle ahead, a preceding bicyclist in daytime, and a preceding pedestrian in daytime and low-light conditions. Should it detect a potential frontal collision, it can help provide steering assistance and can help automatically brake the vehicle to a stop.

It also comes with All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control: this system now helps detect an upcoming curve and may lower your speed accordingly. It also helps you maintain a preset speed and following distance from the vehicle ahead. Whether at highway speeds or in stop-and-go traffic, the system is designed to detect if you get closer than the preset distance and can automatically slow your vehicle – even to a complete stop.

*cornering intensifies* Image shown is the Launch Edition car in the exclusive Incognito colour, only available as a limited edition for the first model year.

*cornering intensifies* Image shown is the Launch Edition car in the exclusive Incognito colour, only available as a limited edition for the first model year.

Colors? Yes, all with visual treats and mighty names that could also be superheroes, or perhaps action heroes. Ultra White. Atomic Silver. Cloudburst Gray. Iridium. Caviar. Infrared. Grecian Water. Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0. ASSEMBLE.

Look, the point is, it's a big V8 Lexus with comfort and go-faster gadgets galore, and it's available to order. Go buy one.

*Horsepower caveat: Ratings achieved using the required premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. If premium fuel is not used, performance will decrease.

**0-60mph caveat: AMCI Testing Certified. Performance figures are for comparison only and were obtained with prototype vehicles by professional drivers.

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