Thehas plenty to offer, what with its 472-horsepower V8, rear-wheel drive and sharp style. But perhaps its most compelling feature is actually its starting price, which undercuts many compact performance rivals.
When it goes on sale this fall, the IS 500 will start at $57,575, including $1,075 for destination, Lexus confirmed Friday. That's for the base car, but $62,075 will get you the Premium, and it's fully loaded, with features like 19-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, embedded navigation on a 10.3-inch central touchscreen and more. Lexus doesn't skimp on driver-assistance technologies, either, with precollision braking, lane-departure warning, full-speed adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring all standard, in addition to other driving aids.
Lexus also offers an IS 500 Launch Edition, with black/gray two-tone seats, silver ash wood trim and matte black 19-inch wheels, the latter of which are 4 pounds lighter (each!) than the sedan's standard wheels. Only 500 of these Launch Edition cars will be sold in North America, at a price of $68,475.
Performance wise, the IS 500 uses a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that, in addition to the aforementioned 472 hp, produces 395 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Lexus estimates the IS 500 should return 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
The IS 500 lags behind other compact luxury performance cars in terms of driving dynamics; the BMW M3 and are all more exciting to drive. But the Lexus' key advantage is its price -- the Audi, BMW and Mercedes start at $76,445, $70,895 and $69,650, respectively (including destination charges), and don't come with nearly as many standard features. poses quite a threat, too, especially at $59,990.,
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