Lexus is not just standing and watching how the German rivals reach new levels of popularity with their performance sedans. Now they have launched something that can match the power of the BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63. The first-ever Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance, which dials up the sports sedan formula to eleven with the addition of a powerful 472-horsepower naturally aspirated V8 engine and ferocious quad exhaust system. It expands the IS family and ushers in a new era of F SPORT Performance models that will appeal to passionate driving enthusiasts that crave higher levels of performance over the standard F SPORT models.
As the first model in the new Lexus F SPORT Performance line, the IS 500 engine provides a boost in displacement and performance over the IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6. With a push of the engine start button, its naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine roars to life, providing a not-so-subtle reminder that something special lies beneath its raised hood. The IS 500 has a maximum output of 472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 395 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. Despite the drastically more powerful engine, the vehicle tips the scales at 3,891 pounds, gaining only 143 pounds of additional curb weight over the standard IS 350 F SPORT.
The IS 500 is capable of delivering a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and has a manufacturer-estimated 24 mpg highway rating. Other IS 500 performance enhancements include a throaty quad exhaust system with dual stacked tail pipes that perfectly amplify the new V8 engine. This exhaust not only sounds ferocious, but is inspired by F models, like the RC F.
IS 500 uses the same eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission found in the IS 300 and IS 350 RWD models. It also features drive mode select Sport S and Sport S+, which provides advanced engine and transmission mapping to enhance performance. Sport S+ also adjusts the amount of EPS steering assist and damping force to deliver sportier handling to match the updated powertrain settings. Custom Mode is also available, offering multiple combinations for powertrain (Normal/Eco/Power), chassis (Normal/Sport) and air conditioner (Normal/Eco).
Starting with the 2022 IS 500, Lexus F SPORT Performance models will come adorned with unique black badging on the sides to distinguish it from F models.
The all-new IS 500 builds on the improvements made to the 2021 IS with a focus on delivering confidence and a linear connection between driver and vehicle. The IS 500 will come standard with the IS RWD F SPORT’s Dynamic Handling Package (DHP), which includes Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and a Torsen limited slip differential (LSD) that improves handling and performance thanks to enhanced traction when cornering or exiting turns. The LSD helps maintain straight-line stability as well. Engineers have also improved the IS chassis performance with the addition of a Yamaha rear performance damper. This damper reduces dynamic structural distortion, delivering increased comfort at low speeds, and additional stability and agility at high speeds. Brake cooling enhancements have also been made over the standard IS 350 F SPORT with additional aerodynamic cooling and larger 14.0-inch two-piece aluminum front rotors and 12.7-inch rear rotors.
The IS 500 features subtle exterior enhancements to help set it apart from the standard IS 350 F SPORT. The hood has been raised nearly 2 inches and receives sculpted center character lines, while the front bumper and fenders have been lengthened to help accommodate the vehicle’s naturally aspirated V8 muscle. IS 500 will come standard with exclusive 19-inch split-10-spoke Enkei alloy wheels. Not only are they beautiful and intricate, the wheels are approximately 1-pound lighter per wheel in front and 2 pounds lighter per wheel in the rear, compared to the standard 19-inch F SPORT wheel. Other exterior updates include a revised lower rear diffuser accent that accentuates the quad exhaust system, as well as dark chrome window trim. Tying these visual and performance cues together is the black IS F SPORT rear lip spoiler.
Inside, drivers are greeted with black F SPORT Performance badging on the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and door sill scuff plates. It also comes standard with the IS F SPORT accelerator pedal, brake pedal and footrest, but the combination instrumentation meter receives an updated startup animation that is exclusive to IS 500.