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The new Lexus IS500 is as close as we’ll get to a new IS-F

Semi-skimmed IS500 ‘F-Sport’ gets a nat-asp 5.0-litre V8 with 472bhp

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Welcome to the rarest of the rare – a brand-new rear-wheel drive BMW 3 Series-sized saloon with a naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8. It’s called the Lexus IS500 F-Sport and, predictably, will be sold exclusively in North America.

Yup, Lexus has stuck a V8 in a compact saloon for the first time since the excellent but slow-selling IS-F died in 2014. Sadly this new car is not a full-fat ‘F’ model, but an ‘F-Sport’. Think BMW M340i versus M3, or Mercedes C43 versus C63 and you get the idea.

Still fast, though. Its 5.0-litre nat-asp V8, shared with the RC-F and LC500, makes 472bhp and powers the rear wheels only through an eight-speed auto. 0-60mph takes 4.5 seconds. Bet it sounds good, too.

On the outside the 500 looks much the same as the US-market IS350, which Lexus doesn’t sell in the UK (in Europe it’s focussing more on SUVs, hybrids & EVs). Nods to the old IS-F include the diagonally stacked quad exhausts. You also get a new bonnet, ten-spoke 19-inch alloys from Enkei, a lip spoiler and blacked-out chrome trim.

Mechanical changes include bigger brakes with better cooling, a Torsen LSD and adaptive damping in cahoots with something called a “rear performance damper” from Yamaha.

We like the cut of its jib. Thoughts, Internet?

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