Starting with the proven rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS 250, which is already equipped with a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, the IS-F is powered by a performance tuned 5.0-litre V8 engine. Featuring specially engineered heads fed by a two-stage intake system, it produces 400+ horsepower and more than 350ftlbs of torque. Easy to see why the Lexus engineers did much of the development of the new car at Fuji Speedway, the new home of the Japanese Grand Prix.
The IS-F engine is mated to the world’s first eight-speed automatic gearbox. A new torque-converter lock-up control was developed that allows for impressive acceleration and a direct, crisp gear change through the constant lock-up of the torque converter except in first gear. A 0-60mph time in less than 4.9 seconds is predicted.
In Drive mode, the IS-F transmission performs with typical Lexus smoothness, but this unique transmission also features an advanced Manual mode operated via a pair of paddles located within a fingertip’s reach behind the steering wheel. These enable the driver to make ultra-fast up-shifts within a tenth of a second. Downshifts are accompanied by automated and incredibly precise throttle blips to match engine RPM to vehicle speed.
The impressive performance achieved by the IS-F is restrained by huge, 14.2-inch cross-drilled front discs by Brembo, gripped by rigid, powerful six-piston aluminium callipers, while 13.6-inch rear cross-drilled discs feature two-piston callipers. The Lexus name is displayed on the callipers, a first for a Lexus production vehicle.
The massive brakes hide behind custom-designed 19-inch forged alloy wheels as standard. The wheels were built to Lexus specifications by BBS.
The attention to performance also extends to a modified suspension that lowers the entire car by an inch when compared to IS models equipped with 18-inch wheels. This specially modified suspension allows for an enthusiastic driving sensation.
The IS-F also features an all-new three-mode version of Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. In addition to the Normal mode, the new VDIM features a Sport mode that allows the driver to push the car even further before its braking, throttle and steering control systems kick in. The third VDIM system mode is Off, which gives the driver unassisted control to enjoy the IS-F to its ultimate level of handling performance.
The attention to performance is complemented by modified styling cues that differentiate the IS-F from the standard IS. Lexus engineers provided the IS-F with a dual-exhaust system and quad-tail pipes, wider front wings with highly distinctive vents behind the front wheel, as well as a larger grille and rear spoiler. Both the bonnet and lower air intake were enlarged to accommodate and cool the V8 engine.
The interior of the IS-F receives unique styling treatment with aluminium and composite trim and special surface treatments. The instrument panel includes an oil-temperature gauge and shift indicator-lights, while the "F" logo is prominent on the steering wheel and rear-centre console.
In addition to the usual Lexus standards of comfort and convenience, the interior of the IS-F features specially shaped and trimmed seats, which hold the driver comfortably and securely in place. The special sport seats are available in black or a unique high-contrast white and black trim.
"The intent of creating the IS-F was not to be a competitor to other performance saloons," said Carter. "Rather, the goal was to create a true performance saloon in a uniquely Lexus way, one that is totally authentic with a unique interpretation of raw driving thrill at all speeds and provides a whole new definition of ‘usable power.’"
The IS-F will arrive at Lexus dealerships in early 2008. Prices will be released nearer that time.