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Lexus IS F

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Lexus IS-F
8/10

Overall
verdict

The first-ever Lexus with soul? The IS-F is a genuinely rival for the BMW M3, Audi RS4 and Merc C63. Now that’s a compliment…

Additional Info

  • Brilliant car, but only an eight-speed gearbox? Pitiful. I want nine. Or ten
  • Top Gear wildcard

    You can probably pick up an old Subaru Impreza or Mitsi Evo

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What is it?

The words 'mad' and 'Lexus' usually sit together as comfortably as 'Kilroy-Silk' and 'tolerant world view'. The IS-F changes all that. Proper BMW M3-botherer.

Driving

The best-handling Lexus ever. No question. The steering is direct, and the suspension – though simply a retuned version of the set-up from the standard IS – is brutally firm but incredibly responsive. Eight-speed gearbox operates brilliantly in full auto mode, but can get a bit thumpy on downshifts when you’re in manual…

The trade-off for the tight, responsive suspension is a kidney-jolting ride around town. The monster noise from that five-litre V8 will go down well with the kids, but might get a bit wearing if you’re trying to ferry your mother-in-law to the train station. But who is it more important to impress?

Right up there with the best of the super-saloons. The Yamaha-fettled five-litre V8 produces 417bhp and 371lb ft of torque, and will fire the IS-F to 62mph in just over five seconds. That’s truly quick. No safety-first four-wheel drive here, either – all that power is going straight to the rear tyres. Just the way we like it.

On the inside

Why do you think it took Lexus so long to get this onto the road? You just know they’ll have been making sure that every bolt, washer and button is as tight and unbreakable as it possible could be. If anything goes wrong with your IS-F, we’ll eat our laptops.

Every bit as practical as the BMW M3 and C63 AMG. An Audi RS4 Avant might just edge it, though. How about an estate version then, Lexus?

 

Owning

Erm... 24mpg and 270g/km CO2 aren’t going to impress your bank manager. Neither is the Group 20 insurance. But you shouldn’t worry about little things like that.

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Latest road tests

7/10 Lexus IS F driven
May 2011
8/10 Lexus IS F LSD
June 2010

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