Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Wow, the Lexus IS 500’s 5-liter V8 is an absolute monster compared to the IS 300’s 2.5-liter or the IS 350’s 3.5-liter. You rock a Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance compact sedan because incessant exhilaration is your endgame. The IS 500 is a track star dazzling energetically in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dash with a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.4 seconds from 472-horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque.
First thing’s first, let’s pinpoint the amplified exterior styling. A blackened spindle grille dominates the front fascia while exclusive Enkei 19” split 10-spoke alloy rims, unique F SPORT Performance badging, dark chrome window trim, a lower rear diffuser housing the RC F-inspired quad exhaust tips, and a raised power-dome hood set off the vehicle’s physicality. A black rear spoiler and 19” Goodyear Eagle performance tires round out the rest of the IS 500’s appearance highlights. As the first Lexus model in the F SPORT Performance line, the Japanese roadrunner ignites with a growl to signify it’s ready to rumble.
My weekly loaner arrived in a fire-burning Infrared hue with black interior artistry that kept me entertained during every mile, whether the drive was long or short. The traditional hand shifter can be tapped to the left for manual operation. Alternatively, you can employ the paddles shifters from the racing F Sport steering wheel to operate the 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission. For aggression, set the IS 500 in Sport S or Sport S + modes, which also hold each gear longer before an upshift is required.
Here in the Mid Atlantic, unpredictable weather turned wintry after a 60-degree day. In this case, Snow mode came in handy during an impromptu spring snow blitz in MD and was ideal for my hour drive to the airport. I was still apprehensive since the vehicle rides on a RWD platform, but it managed. Once the roads cleared, I was back to galloping and hitting corners hard with the Adaptive Variable Suspension and Torsen Limited Slip Differential as part of the standard Dynamic Handling Package. Yet, I want to see an AWD model soon to match up with Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC, BMW’s xDrive, and Audi’s quattro.
The surprisingly roomy cockpit is comprised of F SPORT bolstered seats (heated and ventilated), large aluminum pedals, perforated NuLuxe black trim, a 10.3” high-resolution touchscreen which is also operational through the small touch pad, and a Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium audio system with Quantum Logic Surround. Thank you Lexus for physical volume/tune knobs! Also at your disposal are Lexus Enform Remote, Lexus Enform Safety Connect, Lexus Enform Service Connect, and Lexus Enform Destination Assist.
Standard “Lexus Safety System+ 2.5” blesses and protects owners with Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), All-Speed Dynamic, Radar Cruiser Control, Intelligent High Beam, and Road Sign Assist.
With a starting MSRP of $56,500 for the base model, my specific IS 500 F SPORT Performance came in at $61,000, excluding the $595 premium paint charge. Set your Lexus aside from others with eight exterior color options, including Atomic Silver, Ultra White, Cloudburst Gray, Iridium, Caviar, Infrared, Grecian Water, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0.
For additional excitement, enthusiasts may be interested in the $67,400 IS 500 Launch Edition that focuses on the Lexus Takumi craftsmanship. It features optimized interior materials such as sporty two-tone Black/Gray Ultrasuede–trimmed seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a unique Silver Ashwood treatment. In addition, the exterior rolls on 19” split-7-spoke forged alloy Matte Black BBS rims that accentuate the Incognito paint scheme.