Lexus Announces IS 500 F Sport Performance

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - February 22, 2021

In an attempt to offer similar performance to the Mercedes-AMG C63 and BMW M3, Lexus offered the IS F with a V8 engine from 2008 to 2014. Sadly, Lexus discontinued the IS F, killing the V8 engine in the compact sedan in the process. Now, Lexus has decided to offer the IS with a 5.0-liter V8 engine again in the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance. This time around, the high-performance sedan won’t be a flat-out F model like the RC F coupe, but a part of Lexus’ new tiered configuration.

Before we get into specs, let’s explain where the new IS 500 F Sport Performance will fit into the automaker’s performance lineup. The lowest rung is comprised of F Sport trims, like the IS 350 F Sport, then there are the F Sport Performance vehicles, like the recently introduced IS 500 F Sport Performance, and lastly the full-blown F models, like the RC F. This new tiered system is similar to what BMW does with its M vehicles and what’s happening with AMG-branded cars. While it’s a confusing lineup, it gives consumers more options.

The IS 500 F Sport Performance will be exclusive to North America. Compared to the lower IS 300 and IS 350, the new performance vehicle’s main calling card is its naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine. The motor is rated at 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. This is a massive upgrade over the 241-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder and the available 311-horsepower V6 engine. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

Compared to the competition, the IS 500 F Sport Performance’s engine isn’t powerful enough to match the BMW M3 Competition or the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. The former has a 503-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, while the latter is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that produces 503 hp. Instead, the IS 500 F Sport Performance is a rival to the standard AMG C63 (469 hp) and the base M3 (473 hp). In the available Sport Plus driving mode, the IS 500 F Sport Performance will be able to get from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That puts it behind the AMG C63 (3.9 seconds) and the M3 (4.1 seconds).

Lexus IS

Beyond the engine, the V8-powered IS will come with larger brakes. Two-piece, 14-inch rotors are at the front, while 12.7-inch rotors are at the back. The regular IS’ available dynamic handling package is now standard, bringing adaptive suspension and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Lexus has further improved the sedan’s performance by adding a Yamaha rear performance chassis damper, 19-inch Enkei wheels, and a quad exhaust system.

From the outside, the sedan sports a more aggressive design thanks to its higher hood line, which has been raised by roughly two inches. Other updates include a new lower rear diffuser, dark chrome trim, and a rear spoiler. Lexus has also made sure the IS 500 F Sport Performance offers luxurious amenities with door sill scuff plates, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, an exclusive startup animation in the instrument cluster, and special badges.

Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 will be standard on the sedan, bringing enhanced forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, as well as pedestrian and bicyclist detection. Adaptive cruise control, which now supports overtaking slower vehicles, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, and automatic high-beam assist are also standard.

At first glance, the IS 500 F Sport Performance looks like it’s taking over where the old IS F left off, even if it has a funnier name. We’re still waiting to hear back on how much the sedan will cost, fuel economy figures, and what kind of features it will come with. We do know that the IS 500 F Sport Performance will arrive at dealerships later this fall. With the M3 starting at $70,895 (prices include destination) and the AMG C63 carrying a starting price tag of $69,595, we’re confident in thinking the IS 500 F Sport Performance will cost around $70,000.

If that price holds true, it would make the IS 500 F Sport Performance roughly $26,000 more expensive than the IS 350 F Sport – pricing for the sedan starts at $43,925. That may seem like an extravagant amount, but the new performance sedan brings far more performance from its naturally-aspirated V8, which is a rarity in today’s market. The IS 500 F Sport Performance may not have the same performance as its German competitors, but it’s shaping up to be one of the last V8-powered sports sedans on the market.

Explore the current Lexus IS on sale now »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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