Rear-wheel drive cars powered by naturally aspirated V8 engines used to be the norm. Passenger cars equipped with turbocharged engines became available to the motoring public in the late 1970’s following the 1973 oil crises. The Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is one of the last remaining naturally aspirated sports sedans on the market today.
Our 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition has an epic sounding 5.0 litre direct injection engine that generates 472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 395 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. This naturally aspirated V8 emits its beautiful old-school sound through its uniquely positioned RC F-like quad tailpipes. Changing gears is done leisurely but effectively via the direct shift 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition is being made just for North America buyers and is limited to 500 cars in this new and exclusive Incognito exterior colour. Only 50 will be coming to Canada and our car was number 19 of 500. Base MSRP is $74,350 CAD.
This 5.0 litre V8 engine is going to consume 14.1 l/100 km in the city which is just 16.6 miles per gallon. That goes up to 9.3 l/100 km or 15 mpg on the highway, and 11.9 l/100 km or 19.7 mpg combined. That is the price you pay for having a V8 under the hood. By comparison, the 2.0 litre turbo 4 cylinder in the IS 300 RWD consumes 11 l/100 km or 21 mpg in the city, 7.6 l/100 km or 31 mpg highway, 9.5 l/100 km 24.7 mpg combined.
This third generation Lexus IS is now in its tenth model year. Gen one was launched in 1998, gen two in 2005. The interior of this gen three IS has been updated but still has an old-school look and feel, but in a good way. It is very familiar, approachable and unintimidating to use and live with.
ON THE TRACK
Out on the race track the IS 500 F Sport Performance delivers a pleasantly rewarding experience. It is not lightning fast compared to other performance sports sedans, or EV’s in its class, but it can deliver plenty of entertaining oversteer and drifts in and out of the corners.
It makes good use of its two rear wheels to launch this 3,900 pound car from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, again, not that quick when compared to its competition. The V8 engine makes good use of its 395 lb-ft of torque and as we’ve said, it sounds wonderful. There really is no replacement for (naturally aspirated) displacement.
The ride is firm and refined thanks in part to the Dynamic Handling Package with Adaptive Variable Suspension, the Yamaha rear performance damper and the Torsen limited slip differential. The 19-inch seven-spoke forged alloy matte black BBS rims look great and are four pounds lighter per wheel compared to the standard IS F Sport rims.
Earlier this year, fourteen lucky automotive enthusiasts were invited by Lexus to the Apex Motor Club race track near Phoenix, Arizona. The premise was that the five fastest drivers would earn the right to be amongst the first owners of the new IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition. Watch this video until the end to see what happens to the fastest driver in the group.
The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition provides a rewarding driving experience for anyone who wants enjoy this soon to be extinct drivetrain. A big naturally aspirated powerful V8 up front powering just the two rear wheels will soon disappear from new car showrooms.
There are plenty of performance sedans that go faster, handle better, offer more bells and whistles, but they won’t provide the driver with the experience you get in this IS 500 F Sport Performance. Out on the race track, this V8 engine bouncing off its rev limiter provides a soundtrack that will put a smile on your face. And to remind you of the era this car is still in, bring your CD’s along for the other soundtrack. For those of you who don’t know what CD’s are, that’s how we used to listen to our music. You can Google it.
Photography By Lexus, OneWord and TrackWorthy