For 2022, the Lexus IS is getting a V8, the primary time for the reason that final IS F was constructed again in 2014. However as a substitute of an uncompromisingly sporty successor to the IS F, Lexus has created one thing a bit of softer and extra civilized, and given it a equally watered-down title: IS 500 F Sport. And in our time with the sedan, it is an apt title, since it isn’t an actual competitor for the M, AMG, RS and Blackwings of the world. However what it’s is not unhealthy, both. It is a characterful sport sedan that makes for an fascinating various to equally softer and extra civilized decisions just like the BMW M340i or Audi S4. It’s hampered by some acquainted Lexus issues, however it has sufficient to love that the precise purchaser can fortunately overlook the shortcomings.
Earlier than diving too deep into the driving impressions, let’s go over what was executed to create the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport. The lynchpin is the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8. It is a distinctive characteristic for a category stuffed with turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. It sends 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque to the rear via an eight-speed computerized transmission and a typical limited-slip differential. Lexus clocks the 0-60 time at 4.4 seconds, which is on par with the rear-drive M340i. After all, the BMW has 90 fewer horsepower.
It sits on a sport-tuned adaptive suspension and will get greater brakes with higher cooling, however that is about it for mechanical upgrades. It is all wrapped in a physique that appears virtually precisely just like the IS 350 F Sport apart from the quad exhaust, unique Enkei wheels and the facility bulge that raises the hood by 2 inches. It is nice for preserving a low profile, however nodding quietly to these within the know that, sure, that is the quick one. The inside additionally will get leather-based and pretend suede upholstery, a thick F Sport steering wheel and different F-related trimmings.
As with each Lexus so geared up, the IS 500’s V8 is a real deal with that makes up for no matter disadvantages it might need on paper with infinite character in particular person. It is spectacularly clean and demure more often than not, however when requested, it delivers a raucous consumption growl and a good quantity of exhaust noise. And it does so while not having to have the factitious sound enhancer turned on (it is adjustable from nothing to 100% by way of a scroll wheel on the sprint). It is desirous to rev and can achieve this to a bit of previous 7,000 rpm. Peak energy lives up there, however it has sufficient mid-range grunt to maintain it entertaining even while you’re not taking advantage of each gear. Throttle response is a bit of sluggish in regular drive modes, however change it into Sport+ and it wakes proper up.
Gasoline economic system is not unreasonable contemplating the facility. Full numbers aren’t out there, however Lexus says it would get 24 mpg on the freeway. A BMW M3 will get 23 on the freeway, however as we have already talked about, that is probably not the objective line right here: the M340i and its turbo inline-six can break 30 mpg on the freeway. That extra cylinders ends in worse gas economic system should not be a shock.
The eight-speed computerized is similar one which’s been used for years in V8 F vehicles, and it feels prefer it. On the optimistic facet, it is bought old-school smoothness with ratio adjustments that soften collectively when left in computerized mode. On the draw back, it is noticeably slower than the newest transmissions from the Germans, and in handbook mode, it may be a bit of tough altering gears. That is significantly related as you may need it in handbook when driving actually arduous. Whereas the transmission is healthier at holding gears and downshifting in Sport and Sport+ modes, it isn’t at all times as aggressive as we would like for driving arduous. However cruising round city, computerized shifting in Eco or Regular modes works nice.
If you get to the corners, there’s delicate physique roll, and never an enormous quantity of grip. It is also a bit heavy, and is extra reluctant to alter path than the competitors. The steering is sort of numb, however well-weighted and it builds resistance progressively. Switching into the game modes does stiffen the suspension barely, however not by a lot, and it simply provides weight to the helm relatively than suggestions. However as a result of it isn’t a observe weapon, it is supremely comfy in most different driving conditions. It glides proper alongside, unflappable over crumbling asphalt. And in the identical manner it does not have an effect on dealing with a lot, the stiffer suspension mode does not damage the journey a lot, both.
Inside, the IS 500 appears and feels good, at the very least till you get to the infotainment system. The inside design remains to be fashionable and distinctive, regardless of being broadly the identical as what debuted eight years in the past. The sliding instrument bezel over the digital devices remains to be enjoyable to see, and plenty of the supplies appear and feel good. The amount and tuning knobs particularly have a high-end HiFi really feel. The IS 500 particularly will get leather-based and pretend suede upholstery which appears good and offers good grip. There are just a few lower-rent plastics that present up, such because the stitched items forward of the passenger that preserve it from being a category chief, however it’s nonetheless a stable cabin. The entrance seats are fairly deep buckets, however with out particularly big bolsters, one other signal of a extra grand-touring nature. They’re usually comfy, and there is loads of room for entrance occupants in all dimensions. The again seat is sort of comfortable, however adults could possibly be housed again there with out an excessive amount of criticism for even medium-length journeys. So, fairly march par for the phase.
As for that infotainment system, it has been improved, as we have touched upon earlier than, due to an even bigger display screen that now accepts contact capabilities. This implies you can bypass the sluggish and tiresome touchpad on the middle console. It is most appreciated when utilizing telephone mirroring apps equivalent to Apple CarPlay. Nevertheless, the underlying working system and menu format is similar because it ever was, and so they look a bit muddy and dated, and it isn’t terribly responsive. By way of performance and look, it is effectively behind the competitors, and is definitely the low level of the automotive.
Pricing for the IS 500 hasn’t been introduced and it is arduous to say the place it would land given its atypical mixture of high-output engine and considerably delicate persona. The automotive’s character appears to line it up with issues just like the M340i, Genesis G70 3.3T, Mercedes-AMG C 43 and Audi S4 amongst others. And pricing for these ranges from the mid-$40,000 vary to the mid-$50,000 vary. The Lexus is available in on the prime of that value vary, beginning at $57,575 for the bottom mannequin, and the highest Launch Version begins at $68,475. To proceed with the benchmark BMWs, it suits proper between the M340i and the extra critical M3. It could be a extra compelling package deal if it have been a bit cheaper, since in contrast with among the aforementioned opponents, the Lexus has numerous disadvantages: worse gas economic system, no all-wheel-drive choice and a dated infotainment system primarily.
And this leads us to the conclusion. The IS 500 is a fairly cool machine. It has one of many best V8s you possibly can nonetheless purchase, and it is packaged in a crisp wrapper. It is also enjoyable sufficient to drive with gusto, whereas additionally being pretty for day by day driving. However it’s exhibiting its age with an outdated transmission, inside and infotainment system, whereas falling wanting its opponents’ characteristic content material and gas effectivity. That leaves the 2022 Lexus IS 500 as a automotive you purchase for its burbling engine, balanced chassis and attractiveness. That is simply positive.