Lexus IS F

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Lexus IS-F

Road Test

Lexus IS F driven

Driven May 2011

Additional Info

The IS-F's drip-feed updates continue. Last year, a mechanical limited-slip diff was fitted as standard, which edged it closer to the dynamic talents of the BMW M3. For 2011, it gets a facelift, the focus of which is a minor suspension refresh.

So the springs and shocks have been slightly softened at both ends of the car, and the rear geometry has been tweaked. The intention, says Lexus, is to improve comfort and stability, and in those areas the IS-F is better. Slightly. But the improvements don't go that far, and it still jiggles along a fast, bumpy B-road.

Styling changes include new LED running lights and silvery carbon trim inserts in the cabin. But Lexus also tinkered with the instrument panel - and ruined it - by replacing the twin dials with a big circular tacho and a shrunken, offset speedo, so you have to squint to see how fast you're going.

If in doubt, assume hyperspeed. The V8 keeps its 417bhp, but by cleaning up particulate emissions, it's now Euro5-compliant, while mpg/CO2 stay the same at 24.4mpg and 270g/km. The price? It's 500 quid more than before, and that plus VAT brings it to £58k - a notable hike over the £53k M3 saloon. Tempting, but too much.

Dan Read

We like: Same power, new LED lights
We don't like: The layout of the dials
The verdict: Minor tweaks evolve the IS-F, but don't transform it. Still good. Still not an M3.
Performance: 0-62mph in 4.8secs, max 168mph, 24.4mpg
Tech: 4969cc, V8, RWD, 417bhp, 372lb ft, 1730kg, 270g/km CO2
Tick this on the options list: Ultra Blue paint, £610
And avoid this: Electric sunroof, £1,020

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