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The Lexus IS line of vehicles debuted in the 2001 model year and was a direct competitor to the Mercedes C-Class and the BMW 3-Series, but it didn't an answer to the respective AMG and M-Series line. That was until Lexus introduced the IS-F performance sedan in the 2008 model year.
In 2012, the IS F received a mid-generation freshening, so the 2013 model looks just like the 2012 model year, but it does feature some mild changes, including: introduction of Lexus Enform with App Suite, Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, two new exterior colors (Starfire Pearl and Mercury Metallic) and a revised suspension for added comfort and performance.
The 2013 IS F comes in just one trim level and features a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that romps out 416 horsepower and 371 foot-pounds of torque. The engine mates up to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission that gets this sedan to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and up to a top speed of 170 mph, all while netting a rating of 16 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.
Just because the IS F only comes in one trim level does not mean there are no options, as there are two optional packages. The Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio System Package adds in a voice-controlled navigation system with Bluetooth technology, NavTraffic, NavWeather, Lexus Enform and the Application Suite, and a Mark Levinson 300-watt, 14-speaker, 7.1-channel surround-sound system. The other optional package is the Navigation System Package, which includes a voice-controlled navigation system, NavTraffic, NavWeather, Lexus Enform App Suite, DVD/CD player and HD Radio.
Competition for the IS F is stiff, but relatively limited. Its key competitor is the 2013 BMW M3, which comes standard with a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 414 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque, hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and 19-inch wheels. Next up is the C63 AMG by Mercedes, which comes standard with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with 451 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque, a 0-to-60 sprint of 4.3 seconds and 450-watt Harman/Kardon stereo system. Lastly, you have the 2013 Audi S4 sedan, which features a supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 333 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque, a 4.9-second sprint to 60 mph and six-speed manual transmission.
The Lexus IS-F is the performance version of the automaker’s compact luxury sedan, the IS. It comes standard with a nice mixture of luxury and performance features on the exterior, including an airflow-optimized body kit to reduce aerodynamic drag, bi-xenon lights with LED daytime running lights for optimal vision and safety, 19-inch forged-alloy rims for added style and handling capabilities and Brembo disc brakes with ABS for lightning-fast stops. Inside the cabin, the luxury and sport continues with standard perforated leather interior with heated front seats for supreme comfort, a 13-speaker sound system with a six-disc CD changer, USB port, iPod integration and Bluetooth connectivity, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Horsepower aplenty, decent fuel economy and cheaper, but only comes in a two-door body and 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph
Super-powerful engine, significantly faster to 60 mph and cheaper, but not as sporty looking\ and lacks rear legroom
Great highway mpg, super-low price and standard quattro AWD, but six-speed manual transmission standard and lacks power
556-horsepower engine, 4.3-second sprint to 60 mph and well equipped, but not very comfortable for a Caddy and very bulky