The Lexus IS430 is the super-saloon you've never heard of
Introduced at SEMA 2003 and it was the predecessor to the IS-F
Lexus has always had a weird history with performance cars as they never really bothered with them. Yes, there was the IS-F, the excellent LFA and the current GS-F but these haven't really been part of a greater line up of sports cars.
But before the IS-F, what did Lexus have? Well, they had the IS430 concept which was originally a show car for SEMA in 2003. This meant it came with a questionable two-tone paint scheme but that isn't why we're looking at the IS430 today.
The IS430 was built by Rod Millen who looked at the regular IS300 and thought it would be a great idea to give the car a V8. So the IS300's naturally-aspirated 3.0-litre straight six was taken out, and it was replaced by a naturally-aspirated 4.3-litre V8 from the larger Lexus GS and LS.
The IS430 was also fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox which only added to the car's uniqueness. However, Millen stated that; “The larger challenge was to develop an electronic interface that would allow the V8 engine to work with the manual transmission and IS300 body—something it was never designed to do.”
Thanks to the V8, weight was increased to 1520kg but this didn't mean the car was slow. Lexus claimed that the car had 340bhp and 300lb ft of torque, making it comparable to the E46 M3 at the time which was only available in coupe and convertible body styles.
Other modifications included a stronger limited slip differential, Brembo brakes, TEIN springs, and 16-way electronically adjustable shock absorbers. How fancy.
What do you think?
Should have Lexus made the IS430 into a production car? Let me know in the comments below with your thoughts.
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