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The IS-F marks Lexus' entry into the high-performance sport luxury market, long dominated by the BMW M3. The IS-F is based on the standard IS model line, but gets a much more powerful engine and sport tuning.
Body mods to the standard IS include an aggressive front air dam and intake, and wider front fenders, which accommodate vents for the brakes.
The 5-liter V-8 uses direct injection and variable timing for the intake and exhaust, giving it 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque. It gets the IS-F to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.
As an IS model, the IS-F is a sedan, with comfortable seating for four. Lexus has no plans for a coupe version.
These brake vents mark the IS-F as a high performance car. The F logo, at the top of the fender, appears in various places inside and out.
Lexus also tuned the suspension for sport, tightening it up to minimize roll in the corners. In our testing, we found the Lexus engineers were very successful at this effort.
As part of its modifications, the IS-F gets quad exhausts that make a particularly pleasing sound when the engine is revved up.
The IS-F gets the same luxury interior as the standard IS models, except for the silvery carbon-fiber look material on the console.
The steering wheel has some modifications for the IS-F, such as the F logo and blue stitching, but the audio-control buttons are unchanged.
The blue needles for the speedometer and tach light up, making for an exceptionally cool-looking instrument cluster.
Paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel feel very precise.
The transmission is an eight speed automatic, with a solid manual mode. The upper four gears help the car get impressive fuel economy, considering its engine.
Although the navigation system is fairly old technology, the maps still look good.
Navigation offers the basics, with a good choice of destination-entry options, but no advanced features, such as traffic or text to speech.
The Bluetooth phone system works well, although you have to push address entries from your phone to the car.
Digital-music options are limited with the IS-F. There is an auxiliary jack, but an iPod connector is only available as a dealer option, which means poor integration.
The six-disc changer plays DVDs and MP3 CDs. You can load up a lot of music on six MP3 CDs.
The Mark Levinson audio system is spectacular, with 14 speakers and a 300-watt digital amplifier.