V8 Engine Arrives. The big news for the 2022 Lexus IS is that the automaker now offers the sports sedan with a V8 engine again. There’s a new IS 500 F Sport Performance that’s powered by a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine. In the modern era where automakers are moving toward turbocharged six-cylinder engines for high-performance vehicles, the IS 500’s V8 engine should be celebrated.

While the IS 500 is new, the 5.0-liter V8 is virtually the same engine found in the IS F from 2008. With 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, we don’t think people will mind that the engine is now almost old enough to drive. The V8 brings a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a distinctive sound that no other vehicle in the class can match.

While the V8 is a fantastic engine, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 3.5-liter V6 aren’t. These are the same engines that the IS has had for years and remain unchanged. They don’t compare well to engines found in rivals and feel like they’re in need of a serious makeover.

Still Good Value. Last year, the IS finally received a touchscreen. That fixed one of our largest issues with the sedan. Unfortunately, Lexus didn’t update the infotainment system and the touchpad is still fitted on the center console. Still, the standard eight-inch touchscreen is generous in size and comes with Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, 10 Audi speakers, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. These features help the IS be a strong value option in the class.

Lexus offers the IS sedan with an impressive list of available features. A 10.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, an eight-inch digital instrument cluster, and a rich-sounding 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system are available. These features may not have the allure of more modern features on rivals, but they cost a lot less.

Beyond performance, there’s little reason to move up to higher IS trims. The sedan comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and power-adjustable front seats. It’s a great list of equipment for a sedan that costs $39,850 with destination.

Great Safety Features and Scores. Every IS sedan comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of advanced safety features. The suite includes the standard equipment of automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. But it goes above and beyond with traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The few optional safety features include parking sensors and a surround-view parking camera.

In crash-testing, the IS earned great scores from both the IIHS and the NHTSA. The IIHS named the sedan a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle, while the NHTSA gave the vehicle a five-star overall safety rating. You’re definitely safe in the IS.

Angry Exterior, Tranquil Interior. From the outside, you expect the IS to be a crazed sports sedan that only wants to go fast. With Lexus’ enormous grille, sharp headlights, angular body lines, and bulbous rear end, the IS certainly makes a case for being the most aggressive-looking sedan in the class. While the new IS 500 is the only one in the lineup that backs the design with serious performance, the others still look great.

The interior design of the IS feels old and outdated compared to rivals, but it still offers passengers with a premium experience. Everything you touch and look at is a high-quality material, while the nifty instrument cluster that transforms based on what drive mode you’re in is still a fresh take on how to incorporate technology in a sporty way.

The biggest issue with the IS sedan is its lack of spacious seats. The front seats are supportive but aren’t comfortable for long drives because of their stiff padding. In the back, there’s not much legroom for passengers and all-wheel-drive models have a hump in the back because of a driveshaft that eats into precious rear legroom. Forget about cargo capacity, as the sedan offers just 10.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Final Thoughts. The 2022 Lexus IS isn’t the newest kid on the block and it certainly falls behind competitors on the tech and comfort front. But the IS has a sporty design, a premium cabin, and a naturally aspirated V8 engine that feels alive. It continues to be a strong value option, though it lacks the same features as rivals.

The Genesis G70 is another standout value choice. It has a gorgeous design, an upscale interior, agile handling, and high-tech features. Just like the IS, it doesn’t have a lot of rear-seat legroom. The BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark in the segment for years. It has a mix of luxury, performance, and technology that only a few can match.

Check prices for the 2022 Lexus IS »