When it arrived for model year 2008, the IS F not only shook up the status quo among high-performance sport sedans, but also foreshadowed the brand’s LFA supercar, which recently completed a 500-unit run. The same passion for performance continues to define the IS F, which for 2014 remains on a thoroughly optimized version of the 2nd-generation IS platform. The IS F gains interior and trim changes in its seventh year.

What’s New for 2014: LED foglamps (bulbs changed to LEDs), Carbon fiber rear spoiler, All headrests embossed with “F” logo, Alcantara trim (black) added to doors and center console cover, Black full semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats (replaces black Alcantara and leather-trimmed seats), Red leather-trimmed seats receive black Alcantara inserts with red perforation and black leather-trimmed headrests

The muscular rumble issued by the low-restriction dual-exhaust system, which terminates in distinctive stacked quad diffusers, announces the presence of a special high-performance version of the Lexus 5.0-liter V8. Engineered specifically for the IS F, the aluminum V8 emphasizes both high output and high durability. The engine produces a rousing 416 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 371 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 5,200 rpm. While able to provide an instant rush of power and sustain high engine speeds for track driving, the 5.0-liter V8 remains utterly composed and refined in everyday driving.

The eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic transmission proves a willing partner on road or track. For maximum performance, the driver can shift manually with steering wheel paddle shifters in either “D” or “M” modes, but in “M” mode, the transmission will hold each gear to the 6,800-rpm redline and execute ultra-quick shifts in one-tenth of a second. In “M” mode, the transmission “blips” the throttle to match engine rpm to vehicle speed, which helps maintain traction and control, especially when slowing through curves.

The widened fenders were needed to clear the 19-inch low-profile tires, and other body modifications combine function with form, as well. The raised center section in the hood clears the big V8.

Air management for engine and brake cooling can be seen in large upper and lower mesh-type grilles, along with brake cooling ducts in the lower grille and air outlets in the front fenders, where you’ll also spot the discrete silver, black and blue F badge.

The interior of the IS F features an exclusive design treatment highlighted by aluminized composite trim, striking two-tone upholstery, main gauges, unique steering-wheel design and other special surface treatments. The “F” logo is discretely showcased on the steering wheel, rear-center console and all seat headrests.

The IS F offers a 14-speaker Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio System with discrete 5.1 multi-channel playback, 7.1-channel speaker architecture, and 10 amplifier channels providing 300 watts total output at less than 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion from 20 to 20,000 Hz (THD all channels driven).

The available Intuitive Park Assist (IPA) system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car’s front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display within the speedometer.