2010 Lexus IS F Review


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2010 Lexus IS F Overview

Born at Nürburgring, the Lexus IS F debuted in late 2007 in Japan and early 2008 in the United States as a performance version of Lexus’ luxury sport IS series of sedans. While the other members of the IS line are available as a sedan or a convertible, some with all-wheel drive (AWD), the IS F comes solely as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sedan, with an enlarged high-performance engine, upgraded suspension and brakes, and unique styling inside and out.

The IS F’s 5.0-liter V8 engine has several performance features, including both port and direct fuel injection, a two-stage intake system, engine-oil and transmission-fluid coolers, and an oil pump designed to fight the centrifugal forces involved in high-speed cornering. With a 11.8:1 compression ratio, the IS F’s V8 produces 416 hp at 6,600 rpm, quite close to the engine’s 6,800 rpm redline. It comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, equipped with Lexus’ Sport Direct Shift, which allows shifts in 100ms. Wheel-mounted paddle shifters and an optional manual mode offer greater control with no loss of performance. EPA estimates peg the IS F at 16/23 mpg, with the required premium gasoline.

The all-electric rack-and-pinion steering system translates impressively precise and nimble handling from the sport-tuned suspension, which sits a half-inch lower than other IS trims. The IS F is truly capable of competing with and even besting competent rivals such as the BMW M3, while still providing a comfortable ride when not testing the vehicle’s limits. Yes, the brakes are aggressive and the suspension is stiff, but your molars won’t be pre-loosened as you make your way to a dentist appointment.

While the IS series comes well-equipped regardless of trim, with standard 10-way power front bucket seats, dual-zone automatic climate controls, leather, and heated power mirrors, the IS F has several unique features, like automatic steering-linked bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, aluminum trim, and a memory system for the driver’s seat, mirrors, and power steering wheel. Eight standard airbags come with any IS, and the IS F gets upgraded antilock four-wheel disc brakes and daytime running lights. Immediately recognizable from the outside, the IS F comes with a rear spoiler, a bulged hood to accommodate its larger 5.0-liter engine, the aforementioned squatted stance, and unique fenders, skirts, and vents as well as a wire-mesh grille.

The IS F offers solid competition for its rivals and is a welcome performance entry in the Lexus line-up, providing luxury, speed, and comfort in a well-rounded package. Lexus has hinted at a coupe version to come, although little is known about arrival dates or how it will change look and performance. If coupes are your thing, perhaps you should wait, but there’s little else to give pause in the IS F.


A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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