Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, has made no bones about their aggressive approach in trying to compete against the big boys from Europe. Some might think that it’s a case of these guys biting off more than they could chew, but if you believe in them, then the Lexus IS-F just may be the car that will get the brand the kind of respect it deserves.
Since 2010, the IS-F has offered plenty of impressive technical elements with complementary aesthetic improvements, the new model of the IS-F will definitely get you to notice it. The powertrain - a 5.0-liter V8 engine - remains the same, but that shouldn’t hinder the car from being something that customers take a real good look at. After all, it still comes with 417 horsepower and is capable of hitting a top speed of 167 mph.
In a market dominated by cars like the BMW M3, the 2012 Lexus IS-F is going to need about as much ammo as it can carry to be able to stand up against the big boys. For the 2012 model, Lexus did enough to convince us that they just might have something on their hands.
Find out more about the 2010-2012 Lexus IS-F after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
Back in 2010, Lexus released an F-Sport package for the IS range with the intention of turning the car into a highly desirable sports car with plenty of unique styling features. For that particular year, the dedicated F-Sport exterior features included a lowered suspension for the IS 250, an exclusive set of 18" wheels, and an IS F-style front grille and rear bootlid spoiler.
The interior comes with a black-on-black interior color scheme complimented by black headlining and grey stitching detail on the front seats and steering wheel. There were also aluminum sports pedals, IS F-style sports seats, steering wheel, and a gear lever. The seats were also finished in a combination of Alcantara upholstery with leather side bolsters.
When 2011 rolled around, Lexus gave the IS-F a few firsts, including a limited slip differential and a slew of high-tech features, as well as a new all-white interior. Among the features that stood out for the 2011 model were HID headlamps with integral, arrowhead, LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) and a new a new Starlight Black GF finish. Inside, the car got new dark silver fiber inserts and a change of contrasting stitching for the leather upholstery from white to blue. There was also a revised front seat design that offered improved driver support and a new steering wheel for better feel and grip.
Most of the changes done on the 2012 IS-F cater to the technical side, which means that the car pretty much looks the same as the previous model. On that note, there are still a number of noticeable differences for the latest version, including the new rows of LED daytime running lights that seem to have been taken from the new GS model.
In addition to that, Lexus also adopted a re-tuned suspension system with new shock absorbers, larger stabilizer bars, and improved spring rates. The chassis of the IS-F has likewise been revised with the 2012 model now coming with a higher ride comfort and less body roll. Finally, the 2012 IS-F has been given stronger stabilizer bars, new bearings, and a set of new 19" BBS alloy wheels with a 14-spoke design.
As for the interior, Lexus added plenty of upgrades too. For the first time, the Japanese automaker used their resident supercar, the LF-A, to inspire the design of the IS-F’s interior, most notably, the leather upholstery that now gets the benefit of new color options.
Beginning with the 2010 version, the Lexus IS-F has been exclusively powered by a performance-tuned 5.0-liter V8 engine teamed to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission. This engine allows the sports car to produce 416 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 371 lb/ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. The engine’s high specific output translates to a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 167 mph.
Since 2010, the Lexus IS-F has had varying price tags with each newer model being more expensive than the other. For the 2010 model, the IS 220d with F-Sport was priced at £28,290 ($47,000) with the IS 250 F-Sport automatic at £29,365 ($49,000). The 2011 model saw a spike in price tag with each model going for $60,660 while the 2012 IS-F will cost you a staggering €70,600, which is around $101,500 based on current exchange rates.
Over the years, the BMW M3 and Audi RS4 have had the market recall the Lexus IS-F lacks, but the Japanese sports car does offer plenty to cheer about. While the car looks pretty much the same as that of the last model, all the changes done on the chassis and suspension of the car figure to give it even more versatility to compete against its German rivals.
In terms of powertrain, the IS-F has a little nudge over the M3 and it’s 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 414 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque while falling a little short to the RS4’s 4.2-liter FSI V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower.
But now that Audi has officially given the green light to drop the RS4 from its line-up, the challenge for Lexus now lies in giving the M3 a serious run for its money. We’re not confident that the Japanese automaker is capable of doing it now, but give it some more time and we might be changing our tune.
All the additions come with no price increase
LFA-inspired interior creates luxury ties
Pretty pricey, even with all the additions
Competition offers plenty of variety
Doesn’t separate itself aesthetically