Lexus has introduced the F Sport Performance Line and the IS 500 is the first model to debut the new series of more powerful Lexus models.
The IS 500 is not the replacement for the revered and brand changing IS F sedan that ended production in 2014. Lexus USA, when replying to enthusiast website LexusNews, said that the new F Sport Performance Line is positioned in between the fully-fledged F model like the GS F and cosmetic-focused F Sport variants.
As such, the IS 500 F Sport Performance is more skewed towards being a regular IS with F Sport treatment featuring a larger V8 engine rather than an IS F build that had wider tracks, stickier tyres, downforce-inducing aerodynamics, multi-piston brakes and bucket seats.
The IS 500 F Sport comes with the high performance ‘2UR-GSE’ 5.0-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine, churning out 472 hp and 535 Nm of torque. Lexus has not reduced the power output for being an F Sport model as these are the same figures found on the Lexus RC F Track Edition!
Power is channelled to the existing 8-speed automatic transmission and registers a 0 to 96 km/h (0 to 60 mph) sprint time of 4.5 seconds.
The large intake system of the V8 engine means a new bonnet is required. With that, the new bonnet is raised by nearly two inches, with a distinctive bulge. A familiar-looking quad exhaust system ensures all the best noises and aesthetics too.
A boot lid spoiler and window surround in black plus F Sport badging separates the Lexus IS 500 from the regular IS models.
The brakes have been upgraded compared to the IS 350 V6, with the ventilated brake discs gaining an inch to measure 14.0 inches up front and 12.7 inches at the rear.
Handling duties are shouldered by the adaptive suspension and a Torsen Limited Slip Differential (LSD). A Yamaha performance damper is also placed across the rear of the vehicle to reduce dynamic structural distortion.
Lexus says the 19-inch rims from Enkei are also lighter compared to the IS 350 V6, with a total of six pounds (2.7 kg) shaved off per vehicle. Overall, the Lexus IS 500 is just 65 kg heavier than the six-cylinder IS, tipping the scales at 1,765 kg (3,891 pounds).
Inside, the interior only received an upgrade to the digital multi-information display with an exclusive IS 500 start-up animation. The seats, steering wheel, foot pedals and trim inserts are all unchanged F Sport items.
The Lexus IS 500 F Sport is exclusive for the North American market only and it is no surprise given they are the largest market for the brand. Looking at the performance figures and minor technical upgrades, Lexus USA is surely targeting the bridging high-performance sedans such as the BMW M340i xDrive and Mercedes-AMG C43 with this IS 500 F Sport Performance model.
BMW M said their sales performance in 2020 were strongly boosted by sales of the M Performance variants.