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Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Cars.com Staff
August 25, 2009
Vehicle Overview It took an awfully long time, but in 2008 Lexus finally threw its noodle into the alphabet soup of automotive performance variants. The Lexus IS lineup's compact sport sedan is the IS-F. Equipped with a 416-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8, the IS-F is claimed to sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than 4.9 seconds. It's designed to compete with the Audi RS 4, BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
New for 2010 The 2010 IS receives a few technology updates: A USB/iPod connector is now standard, and the optional navigation system's voice-recognition software has been improved. A new telematics system has similar functionality to GM's OnStar service. It comes with a year's worth of service free; after that you'll have to pay a subscription fee.
Exterior Cosmetic exterior and interior changes are always part of the high-performance package. Changes compared with the IS 250/IS 350 include:
Flared bumper with a larger mouth
Vents behind the front wheels
Small trunklid spoiler
19-inch alloy wheels with performance tires
Interior IS-F interior changes compared with the IS 250/IS 350:
Body-hugging sport seats in black, white or a new two-tone option
F logos all around
Carbon fiber trim
Chrome shift paddles
Under the Hood The 416-hp V-8 cranks out 371 pounds-feet of torque; the redline is 7,000 rpm. The car has one transmission — with enough gears for two. The eight-speed automatic has a manual mode and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. There is no true manual available. Lexus says the transmission, which it calls Sport Direct Shift, changes gears within one-tenth of a second and executes rev matching for smoother downshifts and decreased wear. Not to be confused with some automated-manual transmissions, like Audi's S tronic, this one uses a fluidic torque converter.
416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 with 371 pounds-feet of torque
Eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters
Upgraded brakes with larger, cross-drilled discs and six- and two-piston calipers in the front and rear, respectively
Brembo-brand calipers are gloss black and bear the Lexus logo
Upgraded springs, shocks, stabilizer bars, bushings and steering tuning are all optimized for performance driving
Car sits 1 inch lower than the IS 250/IS 350
Electronic stability system with special mode between fully engaged and fully defeated, with Sport mode that allows more wheelspin and sliding before interrupting and keeping you on track
Safety Lexus' new Safety Connect service, which automatically notifies authorities in the event of a crash, is standard. Other standard safety features include:
Side-impact torso-protection airbags
Side curtain airbags in both rows
Seat belt pretensioners for front seats and backseat
Electronic stability system
Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management, which Lexus says is meant to integrate all systems to anticipate skids and react faster than an electronic stability system alone
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
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