By Brandan Gillogly / Hagerty.com
While other automakers are replacing V-8s with turbocharged sixes and even turbocharged four-cylinders, Lexus is dropping a high-revving, naturally aspirated V-8 into its usually-sedate IS compact luxury sedan. The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance will be sold exclusively in North America and pairs the sharp looks of the recently updated IS sport sedan with a 472-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8 and some posh cosmetic enhancements.
The new model marks a return of a V-8 to the IS lineup after the IS F was discontinued in 2014. More importantly, the IS 500 F Sport Performance will soon be the only V-8-powered car in its class, once the Mercedes-AMG C63 retires to make way for exclusive four-cylinder power in the new C-Class.
Highlighting the power on tap, Lexus gave the IS 500 F Sport Performance a bulging hood and a stacked, quad-exit exhaust. New on the F Sport Performance is a set of Yamaha rear dampers and a larger set of brakes, with 14-inch rotors in front and 12.7-inch rotors in the rear. The IS 500 will also get black badging and unique 19-inch Enkei wheels to set it apart from its V-6-powered IS 350 F Sport brethren. Those wheels are each one pound lighter in front and two pounds lighter in the rear compared to the F Sport’s 19-inch aluminum wheels. Despite the added power and handling capability, Lexus noted that the F Performance’s curb weight is 3891 pounds, up just 143 pounds over the standard IS 350 F Sport.
The additional V-8 power, which trickled down from the RC F Coupe, will stack on top of the Dynamic Handling Package that’s inherited from the IS F Sport and includes a Torsen limited-slip differential and Adaptive Variable Suspension. Selectable drive modes including Sport S and Sport S+ provide the driver with differing levels of assist from the electronic power steering, unique shift strategies from the transmission, and differing levels of throttle response. A Custom mode is also available that lets drivers tailor the powertrain, chassis, and even the air conditioning (Normal or Eco).
The 5.0-liter engine’s peak power comes at a lofty 7100 rpm, while torque peaks at 4800 rpm with 395 lb-ft. The 2200-rpm gap between the two speaks to a wide power band, so the eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission shouldn’t need to make frequent shifts to keep the engine happy. Lexus claims that the potent mill is capable of 0-60 mph sprints of 4.5 seconds and promises 24 mpg highway.
In addition to the power and handling upgrades, the IS F 500 Performance gets the updated Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 with Frontal Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, and Bicyclist Detection. Those systems use a camera and radar which is also used in the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control to allow a safe distance between the vehicle in front even if it stops and starts again.
Lexus noted that the IS F Sport Performance is just the first in the F Sport Performance line that will add another rung in its enthusiast car ladder. In case you’re confused about the naming, and you have every right to be, the F Sport Performance line will sit above F Sport and below just plain F. There’s no word yet on pricing or available colors, but Lexus did add that the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance is due in dealerships this fall.
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