Overview & Reviews
Lexus has long competed in the luxury car market, but traditionally it didn't have much to offer consumers who wanted a vehicle with exceptionally high performance. That's all changed, however, with the recent introduction of the Lexus IS-F. Based on the regular IS luxury sport sedan, the IS-F comes with a V8 engine, a track-tuned suspension, stronger brakes and special interior and exterior styling details. While it has some faults, the IS-F does indeed offer a serious, no-compromises driving experience for hard-core enthusiasts.
Current Lexus IS-F
A compact high-performance luxury sport sedan, the Lexus IS-F has a few styling cues that definitely separate it from its IS siblings. These include a unique — but aesthetically questionable — faux quad exhaust design, which appears as two staggered, vertically stacked ovals on the car's lower rear fascia. The IS-F also features aerodynamic enhancements on the hood and front bumper, wider front fenders and a rear spoiler, all of which give the car a more aggressive, though somewhat aftermarket, look.
Under the IS-F's hood is a 5.0-liter V8 engine tuned to produce a mighty respectable 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic, controlled by paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Other high-performance features include engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, a mechanical limited-slip differential and an oil pump designed for high-speed cornering. The IS-F also features a performance-oriented version of Lexus' electronic stability control system.
Major standard features on the Lexus IS-F include 19-inch BBS forged alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, power/heated front sport seats, Bluetooth and a rear-seat trunk pass-through opening. The standard 13-speaker audio system comes with a six-CD in-dash changer and an iPod interface. Options include an upgraded Mark Levinson surround-sound system, as well as a navigation system with touchscreen, voice activation, a back-up camera and real-time traffic.
In reviews, we found that the Lexus IS-F's strengths include acceleration, handling and braking abilities. The automatic transmission also works surprisingly well as long as it's placed in manual mode; when left in automatic mode its shifts are not as predictable as we would like. We timed the IS-F at just 4.8 seconds for the 0-60 dash, impressively quick by anybody's standards. There are some drawbacks, however. While practicality is far from being the most important aspect in this class, the IS-F does have less backseat space than its super sedan competitors. We've also found the suspension tuning to be pretty stiff, even though this year's car has been softened up compared to earlier models.
Used Lexus IS-F Models
Having debuted for the 2008 model year, the Lexus IS-F is still in its first generation. These earlier cars are pretty much the same as the current model, though there have been a few changes along the way. There were minor revisions to the instruments and cabin trim for 2009, and then upgraded electronics (hard-drive navigation, updated Bluetooth and an iPod interface) for 2010. One other thing to note was that 2008-'10 IS-Fs had a pretty harsh ride quality, something Lexus has addressed with the current model.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 30.00
IS-Fantastic - 2008 Lexus IS F
By NorthCoast - August 6 - 1:23 am
Overall this car has met or exceeded my expectations. I have been loyal to Lexus having 2 GS 430s in last 6 years but wanted more performance type numbers and feel. Magically, the IS-F was born. It is very unLexus in its stiffness and ride but what I was expecting in a true performance sedan. It still has many of the nice Lexus features and luxury components. However, this is not your father's Lexus. I drove the M3 sedan after the Motor Trend article rating it better overall. I think some of their points are valid but feel their overall conclusion wrong. The M3 felt a little more clumsy in tight turns and I didn't like the long throws of the manual transmission. I have no regrets.
Thank you, Lexus! - 2008 Lexus IS F
By Nightspore68 - July 19 - 7:36 am
I was going to settle for a 335 coupe and out of desperation for a more exciting ride I test drove the M3, but I, too, was very disappointed with it. I actually preferred the 335. Not sure I wanted to spend 50k on a car I didn't love I consulted a friend who suggested the new Lexus. My wife had been trying to get me to look at Lexuses, but they're not exactly renowned drivers' cars. Anyway I drove the IS350 (which I liked a lot) then the IS-F. I bought the IS-F on the spot. What a great car! The torque, the engine sound, even the automatic transmission was great (in manual mode it can shift really fast). The Mark Levinson stereo is light years beyond anything I've ever heard from Bose.
great car!!! - 2008 Lexus IS F
By EURIEBABY - July 2 - 2:56 pm
I didn't expect to get 16 mpg on the street on this kind of sports car, but I am getting that. great handling, cornering and braking. This IS-F is just breath-taking. When that mid range intake kicks in, it is monster. Very comfortable seats.
First sports sedan - 2008 Lexus IS F
By malujerry - March 18 - 2:06 am
This car is great. I was leaning towards the M3, but the huge price difference and reliability, along with a test drive, made me choose the ISF. I would not have gone with another car within the same class.
M3-Killer - 2008 Lexus IS F
By Louie - February 2 - 6:13 am
Great Car, especially the USB color. I drive it daily and love it. Seems a little heavy during stop and go traffic. A real head turner everyone loves that car. No regrets, no problems as of yet. Love the fact that it's a Toyota and don't have to worry about all the issues with euro cars.
2011 ISF - 2011 Lexus IS F
By ddsisf - January 1 - 11:59 am
Just got one and so far it is superb. Will recommend.
IS350 on steroids - 2010 Lexus IS F
By Kona Man - June 26 - 5:23 pm
The ISF replaced my 09 IS350 which replaced my 06 IS350. Everyone likes something different... I like the second generation IS series. I've only had my F car for about two weeks but have logged enough to have an informed opinion on the vehicle. They're great. Power, handling, and looks with Toyota's reliability. (sorry, I'm not buying the media Toyotas feeding frenzy.) I savor the reported shortcomings of the F. I do not find the ride bad for a sports sedan nor does the lack of a u-shift it tranny concern me. These cars provide a wickedly quick ride, incredible handling, in a good locking wrapper. All the fun of an M3 without being on a first name basis with my service adviser,
Under the radar - 2008 Lexus IS F
By j_az - October 25 - 3:33 am
This car is just amazing! The Engine is fierce, 420hp from a normally aspirated 5 liter V8. I love this car because only a handful of people know what this car is and everyone else just assumes it's just another Lexus, that's fine with me because it keeps me under the radar, but when the occasional person in the know sees the car, jaws drop! The exhaust note is also intoxicating. 8 spd tranny is fantastic. I have owned Audis and VWs with their dual clutch trannys which i can say honestly are the best I have ever driven, but the Lexus does not come up short here. Interior is well designed. Steering wheel feels a tad thin for me and the leather is just too soft.
Best super sedan for the money - 2008 Lexus IS F
By micaISF - April 23 - 11:40 pm
Pros: stupid fast. Excellent handling, very predictive and sure footed. Excellent build quality. Comfortable cabin for a sports car. Lexus quiet on smooth pavement. Extremely fast gear changes with manual mode. Powerful brakes. Very well equipped with little nonsense options. Excellent fuel economy for v8. Cons: steering a bit too firm at low speed. Car is a bit heavy and not as tossable as a small sports car. Mark Levinson is mediocre in quality. Ergonomics is not as intuitive as Acura/ Honda. Automatic transmission is a bit sluggish unless switched to manual mode. Loud cabin on rough surface or when under wide open throttle.
Staggering - 2008 Lexus IS F
By Dennis - September 21 - 1:16 pm
I have a Mercedes C32 AMG and CLK500 but the ISF is so good I can see myself selling off the Mercedes. The ride is a bit firm for rougher chip roads (which we have a lot of here in New Zealand) but the electronics are faultless, the bellow of the car great and it does all that I hoped it would do - I am a Lexus convert!