The reimagined front-engine rear-wheel-drive IS struck the perfect balance of sportiness and sophistication, making it the best IS to date. However, Chief Engineer Naoki Kobayashi and his team at Lexus International have been working on something truly special exclusively for the North American market. Enter the first-ever Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance, which dials up the sports sedan formula to eleven with the addition of a powerful 472-horsepower naturally aspirated V8 engine and ferocious quad exhaust system. It expands the IS family and ushers in a new era of F SPORT Performance models that will appeal to passionate driving enthusiasts that crave higher levels of performance over the standard F SPORT models. The IS 500 will come standard with the IS RWD F SPORT’s Dynamic Handling Package (DHP), which includes Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and a Torsen® limited slip differential (LSD) that improves handling and performance thanks to enhanced traction when cornering or exiting turns. Engineers have also improved the IS chassis performance with the addition of a Yamaha® rear performance damper.
The IS 500 engine provides a boost in displacement and performance over the IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6. With a push of the engine start button, its naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine roars to life, providing a not-so-subtle reminder that something special lies beneath its raised hood. The Lexus IS 500 has a maximum output of 472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 395 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. Despite the drastically more powerful engine, the vehicle tips the scales at 3,891 pounds, gaining only 143 pounds of additional curb weight over the standard IS 350 F SPORT. The IS 500 is capable of delivering a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and has a manufacturer-estimated 24 mpg highway rating. Other Lexus IS 500 performance enhancements include a throaty quad exhaust system with dual stacked tail pipes that perfectly amplify the new V8 engine. This exhaust not only sounds ferocious, but is inspired by F models, like the RC F. Starting with the 2022 IS 500, Lexus F SPORT Performance models will come adorned with unique black badging on the sides to distinguish it from F models.
The IS 500 features subtle exterior enhancements to help set it apart from the standard IS 350 F SPORT. The hood has been raised nearly 2 inches and receives sculpted center character lines, while the front bumper and fenders have been lengthened to help accommodate the vehicle’s naturally aspirated V8 muscle. Lexus IS 500 will come standard with exclusive 19-inch split-10-spoke Enkei alloy wheels. Not only are they beautiful and intricate, the wheels are approximately 1-pound lighter per wheel in front and 2 pounds lighter per wheel in the rear, compared to the standard 19-inch F SPORT wheel. Other exterior updates include a revised lower rear diffuser accent that accentuates the quad exhaust system, as well as dark chrome window trim. Tying these visual and performance cues together is the black IS F SPORT rear lip spoiler. Inside, drivers are greeted with black F SPORT Performance badging on the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and door sill scuff plates. It also comes standard with the IS F SPORT accelerator pedal, brake pedal and footrest, but the combination instrumentation meter receives an updated startup animation that is exclusive to IS 500.
The IS 500 inherits the updated Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 recently launched on the 2021 IS. A number of key features that are part of the Lexus Safety System+ have been enhanced, along with the addition of a few new features. For starters, the Pre-Collision System (PCS), which include Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection and Bicyclist Detection, features an enhancement to the lens camera and millimeter-wave radar elements to expand the response range. By enhancing the radar and camera capabilities it is now possible for the system to help detect not only the vehicle ahead but also a preceding bicyclist in daytime and even a preceding pedestrian in daytime and low-light conditions. The system has the capability under certain conditions to recognize an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and is designed to activate typical PCS functions if needed. All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) can be activated above 30 mph and is designed to perform vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls down to 0 mph and can resume from a stop.
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