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2014 Lexus IS F Review & Test Drive 7
Jan
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, LEXUS, Lexus IS, Lexus ISF, Test Drives on 01 7th, 2014
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Right HA Done Small

2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Right HA Done Small

For model year 2014 Lexus has introduced an all-new IS 250 and IS 350 infusing both models with a new aerodynamic body and more driving dynamics.  The new 2014 IS F model did not join the lesser IS models but kept its racy looks, track focused engine and chassis performance technology but did add interior and trim changes to keep IS F current in its seventh year.  New for 2014 are LED foglamps, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, all headrests embossed with the ‘F’ logo, Alcantara black trim added to the doors and center console cover, and red leather-trimmed sport bucket seats receive black Alcantara inserts with red perforation and black leather-trimmed headrests.  Lexus says that they will introduce and all-new IS F in about two years.  This road rocket from Lexus is a great sedan for driving on the track or road and also remains comfortable and practical to drive every day, a true dual-purpose machine with Lexus’s signature luxury, comfort, ergonomics, connectivity and attention to detail.

2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Side Done Small

2014 Lexus IS F Quick Driving Impressions by Malcolm Hogan – Publisher of AutomotiveAddicts.com

The 2014 Lexus IS F carries on with the outgoing body style yet still captures the current attainable performance panicle of the Lexus brand. Although the redesigned Lexus IS has captivated many with its bold styling, the 2014 Lexus IS F retains the outgoing design packing in the highly praised 5.0-liter V8 pumping out 416 horsepower mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Driving dynamics and the over-all performance character of the Lexus IS F remains well intact. Charting the changes for the 2014 model concludes with the addition of LED fog lights, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, full semi-aniline leather trimmed seats with embossed “F” logos on the headrests, and Alcantara trim for the center console and door inlays.

Despite my anticipation for a redesigned IS F or the introduction of the rumored RC-F Coupe potentially featuring a re-worked version of the current IS F’s 5.0-liter V8 engine, the 2014 IS F is an admirable road-going luxury performance sedan. The vehicle’s balance on the road proves its willingness to be pushed harder as you depart from the legal speed limits. On the highway, the 2014 Lexus IS F keeps a steady helm without much initial harshness from its exclusively sport-tuned suspension system. The dampers keep things civilized but while they are rather firm when pushing the IS F on curvy roads. The dampers and stiffened springs hardly ever emit any unwanted reverberations over small imperfections in the road as you think it would. In a nutshell, the Lexus finesse is retained within the solid chassis and admirable smooth but sporty ride.

Power from the V8 engine, growling like a mad beast after its dual-stage intake manifold opens its mouth around 3,500 rpm, is available in large doses across the rpm range. The only pitfall of the forward motioned performance of the Lexus IS F remains to be its 8-speed automatic gear box’s hesitation in down-shifting from a higher gear to a much lower cog. The transmission, despite having well-matched ratios for the V8’s power output curve, the unit has an annoying lag in the time it takes to downshift from higher gears. Basically, stomping on the gas while cruising in either 6th, 7th or 8th gear requires a second or two before the transmission fully downshifts to the proper lower gear. The rev-matches are performed seamlessly but are hindered by the slow down-shift response of the 8-speed auto box.

In expected Lexus fashion, and after perfecting the cabin of the outgoing IS for many years now, the IS F’s interior emits impeccable fit and finish. With the slight addition of Alcantara pieces and nicely accented and supportive leather sport seats, the interior comes to life to partially mimic the stout LFA’s exotic disposition.

For buyers looking to step into the paramount of performance within the current Lexus line of vehicles, you can easily find pleasure in the new 2014 Lexus IS F. Those awaiting the return of the IS F in a bold flavor to mimic the new design of the 2014 Lexus IS will hopefully not be disappointed in carrying over the current IS F’s powertrain with some needed refreshing for the transmission. Until then, the 2014 Lexus IS F serves as a pursuit of perfection not far behind its German competition – and with its competitive price tag of around $66K it could win many enthusiasts over.

I’ve driven the all-new Lexus GS 350 F Sport and Lexus LS 460 F Sport which are great sedans but the IS F really gets my juices flowing with its rocket sled acceleration-0-60mp in just 4.4 seconds with a fantastic controlled chassis performance giving me a highly satisfying machine for driving at high speeds on the highway or when tackling steep curving roads.

2014 Lexus ISF Engine Done Small

The race-bred 5.0 liter V8 engine is a work of automotive high-technology.  It features DOHC’s with Intake Camshaft Electric Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-eE) & Exhaust Camshaft Hydraulic Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), Direct-to-Cylinder injection with secondary port injectors, a forged crankshaft with mirror-finish polished journals, forged sintered iron alloy connecting rods, high-flow cylinder heads designed by Yamaha, Lightweight hollow, chain-driven camshafts with forced lobes, titanium valves operated by roller rocker arms, dual air-take system to maximize power at all engine speeds, and a scavenge pump that ensures a reliable oil supply even during cornering that exceeds 1g.  Specifically designed for the IS F, this race-bred V8 accentuates both high output and high durability.  It generates 416hp at 6,600rpm and 371lb.ft. of peak torque at 5,200rpm.  While able to provide an instant rush of power and sustain high engine speeds for track driving, the 5.0 liter V8 remains utterly unruffled and refined in everyday driving.  When I push the start button and light up the V8 a muscular low rumble comes out loud emanating from the low-restriction dual exhaust system which terminates in unique stacked five inch oval chromed exhaust outlets.

2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Rear Done Small

Note only does the four stacked exhaust system scream high-performance, the car’s wide-body design also does much to convey its high-performance abilities.  The widened fenders were designed to clear the staggered 19X8.5 inch front and 19X9.5 inch rear, BBS designed for Lexus, custom wheels.  These lightweight alloy wheels are wrapped with Bridgestone high-performance Potenza tires low-profile tires, 225/40R19 inch up front and 255/35R19 inch in the rear.  These awesome high-performance tires really grip the road at launch and in the steepest curves while also giving the interior an extra quiet environment with the windows and sunroof closed.

Management of the airflow for the engine and brake cooling can be seen in the large upper and lower mesh grilles, along with brake cooling ducts in the lower grille and air inlets in the front fenders.  The new carbon fiber rear spoiler does its job of keeping the rear solidly planted on the pavement at high speeds. The standard cats-eye headlamp cluster features Bi-Xenon HID headlamps plus a lower string of LED daytime running lamps and the new HID foglamps down below.  Flat underbody panels manage airflow thus enhancing stability at high-speeds.  The silhouette shows the raised center section in the hood that clears the 5.0 liter V8, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, bodycolor power remote/self-dimming/puddle lamp/defogger sideview mirrors, bodycolor pullout door handles, buttoned up windows wrapped with a tasteful full-perimeter chrome strip and a short deck.  The front fenders and rear hood lid shows the silver, black and blue F badge.  The IS F cuts through the air with a very low 0.30 coefficient of drag.

2014 Lexus ISF Dashboard Done Small

The interior of the IS F features Lexus luxury and race-car styling cues.  Aluminized composite trim, chrome, 10-way powered/heated two-tone comfortable and extremely supportive sport bucket seats up front and two in the rear, an LFA inspired electroluminescent ‘F’ spec gauge cluster with large centered tachometer/speedometer readout, oil/engine coolant temperature/fuel slide gauges to the left plus a smaller speedometer located on the right side including a shift indicator, and trip computer readout-fantastic.

2014 Lexus ISF Cluster Done Small

The two-tone/perforated leather wrapped power tilt/telescopic steering wheel is the perfect size for precise handling and feels great in my heads.  It features buttons for the audio system, Sport mode and Bluetooth.  The chrome wrapped center stack is easy to reach and use and the unique carbon fiber center console features dual cupholders, a cigar lighter/ash tray, padded armrest and deep storage bin.  All of the touch points are soft and high-quality for that luxury finish.  The leather-wrapped and chrome stick shifter is perfectly placed for easy use as are the paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.  All buttons, dials and switches are easy to use and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel.  The ‘F’ logo is found inside on the steering wheel, the rear-center console with a fold-down armrest and pop-out dual cupholders, floor mats seat sides and all seat headrests.  Standard features not mentioned above includes 3-person driver/passenger memory, auto dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, aluminum door sill plates, carbon fiber door switch plates, self-dimming rearview mirror, power door locks, all express up/down windows, Lexus Premium Audio system with 13-speakers, automatic sound levelizer, Bluetooth, USB audio plug, Sirius Satellite Radio, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lexus Personalization settings, rain-sensing wipers/washers, dual map lights, power moonroof, Homelink, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, remote trunk and fuel filler door, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door and rear air-outlets behind the center console.  Attention to detail is found all over the interior, another Lexus cue.  The new 2014 IS F has it all to keep me comfortable with high-performance and luxury cues throughout the cabin.

2014 Lexus ISF Front Seats Done Small

The real fun and thrills begin when I turn on the engine and get ready to be pushed hard into the seatback.  I feel one with the car as it impeccably follows my every input quickly and precisely with confidence.  The eight-speed Sport Direct automatic transmission proves to be very intricate part of the exciting driving experience with racecar dynamics.  For maximum performance I shift manually with steering wheel paddles in either ‘D’ or ‘M’ modes.  For more exciting thrills when in ‘M’ mode the transmission holds each gear to the 6,800rpm redline and executes ultra-quick shifts in one-tenth of a second.  Further quickening my pulse when cornering on the road or on a road course in ‘M’ mode the transmission ‘blips’ the throttle to match engine rpm to vehicle speed which helps me maintain traction and control.

Selecting Normal, Sport or Snow driving modes alters the car’s dynamic control systems to sharpen performance or increase comfort and traction.  In order to perfect the IS F’s road/track dual persona, Lexus conducted IS F development work not only at Germany’s renowned Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack, but also at Circuit Paul Ricard in France and Fuji Speedway and the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan.  The shape of Turn 1 at Fuji, in fact, inspired the car’s ‘F’ badge design as homage to its home track.  These facts guarantee that the IS F is a true track or road burner.  Turn off the Traction Control and the IS F easily lets the rear hang out when cornering for even more fun when no one is looking on the road, and more importantly, on the road course.  Numerous track-proven modifications were made to the front double-wishbone setup with high-mount upper arms, high-rate coils with bound stopper, monotube gas-filled shocks and hollow stabilizer bar.  The rear multi-link setup features special low mount upper arms, high-rate coils with bound stopper, monotube gas-filled shocks and solid stabilizer bar that gives the IS F an uncanny ability to cut through curves while maintaining a refined comfortable ride.  Steering couldn’t be better with a refined electric power-assist with vehicle speed sensing coaxial rack & pinion F-Sport adjustable mode.  The feel is always slightly heavy but with super-quick reaction to my steering inputs.  It is weighed perfectly and gives a superb feel for the road.

2014 Lexus ISF Rear Seats Done Small

A Torsen rear differential helps to provide additional traction during high-speed driving.  The IS F deftly integrates an array of advanced chassis control systems to help maximize braking and traction performance in the IS F.  Specifically, engineers calibrated the brand’s Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system to support the car’s high dynamic capabilities.  By integrating the car’s dynamic systems, and by combining input from a variety of sensors, VDIM doesn’t merely react to hazardous handling situations but rather can anticipate the onset of a skid or slide.  The system can help correct the situation with a combination of braking, steering and throttle control-but of course it can be shut down to let the fun continue!  In Sport mode, VDIM increases steering feel and allows higher dynamic thresholds before intervening with confidence.

Quickly slowing the IS F down from speed are world-class brakes.  Brembo brakes can be found on the world’s best high-performance cars, of course they are fitted to the IS F. Up front are 14.2 in. drilled and vented discs clamped with opposed  six-piston aluminum calipers with high friction brake pads, while 13.6 in. drilled and vented discs are clamped with two-piston aluminum calipers with high friction brake pads.  Further helping the IS F slow are standard ABS, EBD and BA.

2014 Lexus ISF Wheel Tire Brake Done Small

The new 2014 is amazing to drive, to look at and to be sitting behind the wheel.  It has it all.  To keep me and my passengers’ safe, the IS F comes with a long list of safety features: advanced front airbags (twin-chamber for front passenger), driver/front passenger knee airbags, front seat mounted side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, LATCH system for child seats, child-proof rear door safety locks, Smart Stop Technology with the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, 3-point safety belts for all four seating positions including front pretensioners/load limiters, front/rear crumple zones, Safety Connect automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and a tire pressure monitoring system.  Options in my test 2014 Lexus IS F included a Hard Disc Drive Navigation system with backup camera, Lexus Enform with destination assist, eDestination, and App Suite with Bing, Pandora, Yelp, Open Table Facebook Places, Movietickets.com, iHeartRadio, Sirius XM satellite radio, NavWeather, NavTraffic, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices; Intuitive Park Assist with front/rear sensors, Trunk Mat, Cargo Mat, Cargo Net and Wheel Locks.

2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Right HA Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Left Up Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Right Wide HA Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Right Up XLA Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Side Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Beauty Rear Done Small
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2014 Lexus ISF Wheel Tire Brake Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Dashboard Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Cluster Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Front Seats Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Rear Seats Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Door Trim Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Engine Done Small
2014 Lexus ISF Badge Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base ISF $63,350.00 base/$66,600.00 as tested
  • Engine: 5.0-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 416 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm / 371 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 107.5 inches
  • Total length: 183.5 inches
  • Total width: 71.5 inches
  • Total height: 55.7 inches
  • Track: f/r-61.4/59.6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-37.2/36.7 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-43.9/30.6 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 85.7cu.ft.
  • EPA cargo volume: 13.3cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,780 pounds
  • Weight distribution: f/r-54/46
  • Fuel tank: 16.9 gallons
  • Turning circle: 33.5 feet
  • EPA mileage: 16mpg/city, 23mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds

 



2013 Lexus IS F Review & Test Drive 1
Feb
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, featured, LEXUS, Lexus IS F, Lexus ISF, Test Drives on 02 1st, 2013
2013-lexus-isf

2013-lexus-isf

As Lexus continues to inject a sporty taste into their vehicle lineup, the new 2013 Lexus IS F continues to be at the forefront of serving up exactly what true automotive enthusiasts want in a high-performance luxury sports sedan. Featuring a powerful V8 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, unsurpassed fit and finish, and unique styling all continue to put the Lexus IS F on a prided pedestal as one of the very few high performance vehicles the automaker offers.

The Lexus IS is already a remarkable sports sedan with a capable chassis from the base IS 250 with a 204 horsepower V6, to the respectable IS 350 with a 306 horsepower V6. Each IS trim strives to offer a taste of the prided IS F with F-Sport packages while the new Lexus IS F is the ultimate realistically attainable high performance Lexus.

Already starting off with an excellent platform, the Lexus IS F doesn’t just stuff a 5.0-liter 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque V8 under the hood, the Lexus engineers made the IS F a complete package to run alongside of its competition. The new 2013 Lexus IS F, entering into its 6th year, has only received minor changes since its debut in 2008. For 2013, just after a slight refresh in 2012, the new IS F gets Lexus’ Enform 2.0 App Suite and slightly retuned suspension.

2013-lexus-isf-engine

The Lexus IS F’s road mannerism is well-adapted to the cable performance car driver where it communicates the road well even through the only transmission, an 8-speed automatic with manual shift mode. Though some enthusiasts will balk not having an available manual transmission option, the transmission and 5-liter V8 engine still work in harmony to do their job with ample available power at just about any rpm. A manual shift mode with steering wheel paddles offers a delectable driving experience. In manual mode, the transmission does not want to leave traditional Lexus out of the driver’s seat as it seems to limit the threshold of downshifting. Basically, you are not permitted to perform ‘aggressive’ downshifts where the computer does not let the rpm needle get anywhere near the redline. The 8-speed automatic also takes over a second to downshift into a higher gear when 3 or more up-shift cogs are demanded by an immediate full throttle.  Somewhat of a bummer for the track enthusiasts who want to take the Lexus IS F to the track, the IS F still begs to unleash its beefy V8 on road courses.

The body motion is kept to a minimum with a relatively firm ride that is not very forgiving on uneven roads. The rear wheels are easy to break loose with minimal upset to the chassis. Even though the Torsen limited slip differential keeps both wheels turning, you are prone to get some rear axle hop but a well-sorted out suspension that dampens abrupt movements.

2013-lexus-isf-side

The improvements on the suspension system are quite noticeable as it firms things up a bit. Some may consider the suspension out of character for a Lexus but on-point for a well-capable high-performance sedan. The 19-inch dark alloy wheels not only accent the characteristic body styling of the IS F, but they prove to aid in the handling department being wrapped in sticky 255/35R19 Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires. The IS F does not break a sweat when it is pushed hard into turns. The rear track of the IS F wants to snap out and bite back when you fully disable traction control and stability control with an on-set of oversteer. When oversteer does occur, the body roll is kept to a minimum allowing you to power out of your slides with easy – for as long as you do not abuse the throttle.

Sport mode, accessible by a steering wheel mounted button, advances throttle position and adapts the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic to hold lower gears longer. What is most interesting about Sport mode is that it is still well adapted to every-day driving in the sense that the transmission will often hit 8th gear without cruising for a long period of time. Quite the opposite of what other transmission’s mapping will do in sport mode. Disabling the traction and/or stability control is usually a temporary setting. In true Lexus style, the system wants to override to re-enable the control system after coming to a stop. Speaking of coming to a stop, the large 14.2-inch cross-drilled rotors and Brembo-sourced 6-piston calipers in the front and 13.6-inch rear rotors with two-piston calipers bite down hard to bring all 3,750 pounds to a stop in about 112 feet from 60 mph.

2013-lexus-isf-rear-side

The new Lexus IS F has the right formula for a high-performance luxury sedan with the interior appointments and goodies to match. The interior has topnotch fit and finish with several quality aspects of the materials used throughout. The cabin is quiet as it can be until the V8 really comes alive with a subtle deep drone from the exhaust and a noticeable purring pitch from the dual-stage intake manifold at about 3,500 rpm and above.

2013-lexus-isf-dashboard

All controls and instrument panels are characteristic to the IS in all trim levels with the slight exception of various F logos throughout. Even the seats feature F embroideries on the side visible when the doors are open. The soft-leather heated 8-way power front seats are extremely comfortable with just the right amount of bolstering and headrest support. The bright electroluminescent gauge cluster with accented soft-blue LCD background colors accent the F logo theme well. The cluster features a centralized rpm gauge as the focal point exuding what the IS F is all about – that being performance. Lexus did well to place a digital speedometer inside of the rpm gauge with an analog gauge on the right side, as these prove to be useful tools to keep from getting chased down by the highway patrol.

2013-lexus-isf-rear-seats

Rear seating, as with the other current Lexus IS trims, can be a bit cramped for someone in the 6-feet tall range. The rear seating is ideal for smaller adults and children. The over-all ride quality can be a bit harsh, as mentioned previously, especially for those accustomed to other Lexus vehicles. The soft feel and gadgetry of the cabin does a good job of over-shadowing the ride quality with the optional 7-inch touchscreen, as part of the navigation package, including a new Enform 2.0 system with excellent smartphone app integration. HD radio with iTunes tagging, back-up camera and automatic Bluetooth phonebook capabilities are also part of the options available to complete the infotainment spectrum of the new IS F.

The competition for the Lexus IS F is ‘fast’ to say the least. For one, there is the fast German side of the spectrum including the BMW M3, Benz C63 AMG and Audi S4 looking down on the IS F in some aspects. Lexus has literally performed well with the IS F proving that a high-performance luxury sedan can exude what Lexus has stood for all of these years in terms of proven quality and durability with a generous injection of performance.

Pricing for the Lexus IS F starts at $61,750. My fully loaded IS F test vehicle, equipped with the navigation/Mark Levinson premium audio package, came to an as-tested price of $66,405 including a destination, processing and handling fee of $895.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base IS F $61,750 / As-Tested $66,405
  • Engine: 5.0-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 416 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm / 371 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 107.4in.
  • Total length: 183.5in.
  • Total width: 71.5in.
  • Total height: 55.7in.
  • Track: f/r-61.4/59.6in.
  • Fuel tank: 19.9 gallons
  • Turning circle: 33.5ft.
  • Headroom: f/m-37.2in./36.7in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.9/30.6in.
  • Curb weight: 3,750lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 16 mpg/city, 23 mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds


2011 Lexus IS F Sport Review & Test Drive 16
Dec
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, featured, LEXUS, Lexus IS F, Lexus ISF, Test Drives on 12 16th, 2011

‘SUPER HIGH PERFORMANCE WRAPPED IN LUXURY’ 

If you crave super-high-performance with a sporty and luxurious interior, then look no further than the 2011 Lexus IS F small sedan.  As the first production model to wear the brand’s ‘F’ marquee, the IS F offering a thrilling, fun-to-drive experience with all of the luxury and amenities that Lexus brings to the fore.

The model races into 2011 with several updates including LED daytime running lamps, an improved suspension system, new instrument cluster, and a special interior leather package.

To improve its responsiveness and ride comfort, in addition to providing you with more control, engineers revised the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system and suspension.  With revised front and rear spring rates, shock absorber dampening, rear bushings and rear camber angle, the IS F provides a more confident ride straight ahead at speed and when attacking sharp corners.

The sporty interior is complemented with new IP gauges, a silver colored-trimmed steering wheel, dark finish aluminum composite ornamentation, and a sport model switch that is now moved to the steering wheel for easier access.  In addition, the all-new orange and black leather interior with contrast stitching flaunts the IS F’s vivacious attitude with deeply cut side bolsters and an orange ‘F’ emblem on the bottom of the new power tilt/telescoping sport steering wheel.

The Lexus IS F is exclusively powered by a performance-tuned 5.0 liter V8 engine teamed to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission.  The IS F engine produces 416hp at 6,600rpm and 371lb.ft. of peak torque at 5,200rpm.  the engines’ high specific output (83.2hp/liter) and high operating range (6,800rpm redline) reflect the thorough attention to detail underlying the core engineering.  The resulting performance character, while quite responsive in low-speed situations, provides a rush of power at high engine speeds.

The forged crankshaft features journals polished to a mirror finish to minimize the friction generated between the connecting rods and the crankshaft.  Forged, sintered iron alloy connecting rods ensure high-rpm durability.  High-flow cylinder heads designed by Yamaha have a lightweight valvetrain, including forged cam lobes on hollow, chain-driven camshafts, with the inside of the shafts as oil passages.  Titanium intake valves are operated by roller rocker arms.

Lexus innovative technologies help to maximize efficiency and reduce emissions, including the SFI D-4 fuel injection (direct-to-cylinder injection system with secondary port injectors) and the Electronic Throttle Control system with intelligence (ETCS-i).  essentially, SFI D-4 integrates two types of fuel injection.  A direct type high-pressure high pressure fuel injection system which provides a cooling effect in the cylinders and enables the high compression ratio (11.8:1) employed to extract maximum energy from the fuel; a set of low-pressure port fuel injectors that help produce a precise burn to optimize power and efficiency under light and medium load conditions.

A dual air-intake system uses a primary intake passage for low and medium engine speeds.  In the higher engine speed range (above 3,600rpm), both the primary and secondary passages are opened, helping boost higher-rpm power.

With the IS F 5.0 liter V8, Lexus made a leap in valve-control technology with the variable valve timing with intelligence by an electric motor (VVT-iE).  An electric motor alters the intake camshaft phasing, which made it possible to expand VVT operational range to lower engine speeds, where engine oil pressure is usually not high enough to operate conventional VVT.  The exhaust camshaft uses hydraulically controlled variable valve timing.

A scavenge pump force oil from the cylinder heads to the oil pan, ensuring a reliable oil supply even during cornering that exceeds one g.  The low-restriction dual-exhaust system terminates in distinctive stack quad diffusers and the sound produced out the rear is deep and growls, even at startup.

The world’s first eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic transmission combines the performance characteristics of an automated manual-type transmission with the smoothness an refinement of a planetary-type automatic transmission.  As a result you can choose between ultra-quick manual shifts for performance driving and smooth automatic shifts when convenience is the top priority.

Eight speeds allow gear ratios that maximize torque up to the tire-grip limitations in the lower ranges while optimizing efficiency.  Intuitive powertrain control optimally smoothes out off-the-line response.  You can selectNormal, Sport or Snow driving modes wit the flip of a switch.  Artificial Intelligence-SHIFT (AI-SHIFT) complements the Sport switch selection by automatically adapting the shifting based on road conditions and your input.  The IS F transmission is also highly responsive to uphill/downhill driving, always selecting the best gear for power or engine braking.

You can shift manually using either the console shift or steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.  Hydraulic-control technology allows the IS F’s eight-seed Sport Direct Shift transmission to perform on par with manual transmissions without sacrificing the smoothness of a torque-converter automatic.  Paddle-shifting operation is allowed in eight D or M modes, but shifts are quicker and more direct in M mode.  In M mode, the transmission will hold each gear to the 6,800rpm redline, and upshifts are executed in just one-tenth of a second.  At higher speeds, downshifts are accompanied by automated and precise throttle blips to match engine rpm to vehicle speed.

This is how all high-performing sport sedans and sports cars work or should work today.  Giving the enthusiast the choice between heart-pounding stimulating driving times and true automatic transmission gear-changing at leisure times behind the wheel.

The Lexus IS F is based on the robust IS platform, which is engineered from the start to allows a high dynamic envelope.  The stiff body structure and the rear subframe are connected through several reinforcements.  Much of the IS F development took place at race tracks around the world, includingGermany’s legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife, Circuit Paul Ricard inFrance,Japan’s Fuji Speedway and theHigashi-FujiTechnicalCenterinJapan.  Fuji Speedway is the IS F’s home circuit, and the shape of its turn one inspired the F logo design.

Although using the basic double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension configurations of the IS F platform, the IS F features a multitude of track-proven modifications.  The IS F sits an inch lower on its suspension than the standard IS models, which lowers the center of gravity and helps provide quicker handling response.

Spring and damper rates are increased, and larger-diameter stabilizer bars are used.  The rear suspension control arms are specific to the IS F to optimize geometry for the big, 19 inch wheels.  In addition, the monotube shock absorbers use a larger-diameter piston rod.  As on other IS models, the sophisticated shock-absorber design utilizes multi-leaf linear control valves to help improve damping force, and rebound springs offer improved body control without degrading ride comfort.  I did find the ride stiffer than normal but was surprised how well it damped bumps and potholes on the worn streets ofLos Angeles.

When I was driving over newly paved black-top roads in the mountains it felt like I was gliding over glass.

Subframe suspension mounts are stiffer than on IS models to help reduce sway and ensure control under acceleration and braking.  The engine mounts are also stiffer for amore direct feel.  Special jounce stoppers on both the front and rear suspension come into play early in the compression stroke to help reduce the sway angle when cornering and to reduce dive when braking.

The IS F rides on 19 inch forged-alloy race-bred wheels by BBS with a distinct dark-gray finish and an asymmetrical 10-spoke design.  Up front are 19X8 inch wheels wrapped with 225/40R19 tires and 19X9 inch wheels wrapped with 255/35R19 tires.  Both Michelin Pilot and Bridgestone Pontenza tires were each developed specifically for the 170mph track capability of the IS F.  High-rigidity hub unit bearings are engineered for rigorous high g-force track driving.  The direct-type tire pressure monitor system allows two sets of tires to be registered giving you the benefit of a system with a set of track tires or winter tires.  The multi-information display indicates the tire selector switch.

A specially calibrated version of Lexus’s innovative Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system helps provide superior handling dynamics and traction during spirited driving times.  Combining input from a variety of sensors, VDIM is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and help correct the situation with a combination of braking, steering and throttle control in a way that is essentially transparent to you behind the wheel.  VDIM integration provides precise management for ESP, VSC, traction control and ABS, BA, EBD, and engine torque (via the electronically controlled throttle.

During cornering, VDIM suppresses any tendency for the inside wheel to spin, transmitting more power to the outside wheel to help maintain traction and momentum.  When braking on a mixed-friction surface, VDIM will direct steering assist in the direction that will help provide greater control.  This all happens in less than a second for you to gain greater control of your direction.

In Sport mode, VDIM allows a higher dynamic thresholds before intervening and alters steering assist to increase steering feel.  Sport mode helps provide excellent optimal vehicle control on a track in areas where the skills even of top-level drivers are challenged.  The experienced driver can disengage VSC/TRAC by pressing and holding the TRAC-off button for more than three seconds.  Even with VSC/TRAC off, however, the system still provides the brake-based limited-slip differential effect and ABS.  The Torsen rear differential helps provide additional traction during very spirited driving.

World-class Brembo brakes were designed to the specifications of the Lexus engineering team.  The 14.2 inch ventilated, drilled front rotors are gripped by rigid, high-friction, six-piston aluminum calipers, while 13.6 inch ventilated, drilled rotors use two, high-friction two-piston calipers.  Front bumper ducts adjacent to the foglamps stream cool air to the brakes.  The brakes are finished with the Lexus name displayed on the calipers.

Passive-safety technology in the IS F begins with a reinforced passenger compartment that helps protect occupants with front-and-rear crush structures.  Seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters are used for all seating positions.

In addition to advanced dual-stage front and front seat-mounted side airbags, the Lexus Supplemental Restraint System includes side-curtain airbags that extend from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, plus knee airbags up front for both.  The optional Pre-Collision System uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and maintain a pre-set distance from the vehicle traveling ahead.  PCS if it detects an object closer to the set distance can retract front seat belts, and pre-initialize BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant you apply the brakes.

The IS F interior is both sporty and luxurious with specially shaped and trimmed, 10-way front bucket seats that help hold you in place comfortably and securely.  The standard SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button start/stop button is great for convenience.

Standard amenities include dual-zone automatic climate control, pollen filter and smog detector, one-touch power moonroof, power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, three-position memory function, all power-express windows, remote-heated sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, power door locks, grab handles at each door, rear pull-out armrest with dual cupholders, front console with dual cupholders and storage bin, Lexus Premium Audio System with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, 13-speakers, USB/iPod connectivity, streaming audio via Bluetooth, XM radio, and an auto sound levelizer.  Options include the Mark Levinson Surround Sound system with 14-speakers.  The optional Lexus Navigation system features Voice Command.  Lexus Enform and Safety Connect response centers operate 24-hours per day/seven days per week.

Based on the IS luxury sport sedan, the IS F is clearly differentiated when viewed from the front/side or rear.  A trapezoidal-shaped front bumper fascia, a theme that is repeated in the rear, sets off the V-shape grille.  The hood’s raised center section makes room for the V8 engine, and the front fenders were widened to envelope the 19in. low-profile tires.  Total grille area is increased to ensure adequate cooling for the 5.0 liter V8, and both upper and lower grille feature a special wire-mesh pattern.  The lower grille is flanked by large brake cooling ducts adjacent to standard foglamps.  The front fenders wear a discrete silver, black and blue ‘F’ marque.

The car’s wedge-like profile is accentuated by functional front fender air outlets with lower edges that transition into large rocker panels and continue as a character line into the rear bumper.  The rear view conveys a strong parting signature for the IS F, with a dramatic trapezoid shape and easily recognizable design elements.  Four vertically stacked exhaust differs, two per side, are integrated into the rear bumper.  Above them light-emitting diode stop and tail lamps behind clear lenses give the IS F a unique nighttime appearance.  The subtle rear spoiler is one of  many aerodynamic enhancements which also include special underbody panels to optimize airflow.

For a base price of $59,010.00 or $63, 572.00, you can’t buy a finer, more luxurious and high-performing sport sedan on the market.  The IS F is definitely worth the money!

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COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base IS F $59,010 / As-Tested $63,572
  • Engine: 5.0-liter 32-valve DOHC V8 416 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm / 371 ft-lbs. torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 107.4in.
  • Total length: 183.5in.
  • Total width: 71.5in.
  • Total height: 55.7in.
  • Track: f/r-61.4/59.6in.
  • Fuel tank: 19.9 gallons
  • Turning circle: 33.5ft.
  • Headroom: f/m-37.2in./36.7in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.9/30.6in.
  • Curb weight: 3,780lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 16mpg/city, 23mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds






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