Lexus has an all-new super saloon, and it’s left us as confused as we are excited. With 472bhp from a naturally-aspirated V8, it certainly songs like one of the Toyota luxury division’s famed F models, yet it gets a more convoluted title. Ladies and gents, please welcome the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance.
One rung up the ladder from the more widely used F Sport trim level, the Performance designation here stays true to its name, offering a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds. A little way off the new BMW M3 (the 500 is pretty porky at 1764kg), but in terms of the soundtrack, it’ll be no competition.
Power goes to the rear wheels exclusively via the same eight-speed ‘Sport Direct Shift’ automatic gearbox used for the IS 300 and IS 350 models. There’s also a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential in the mix, which is bundled along with adaptive dampers as part of the standard-fit Dynamic Handling Package, an option on non-performance F Sport models.
Other upgrades include a vibration-absorbing ‘rear performance damper’ (also seen on the LC500), better brake cooling, and larger brake discs.
To hint at what lies beneath, the bonnet has been given a power bulge lifting it 50mm higher than the IS 350’s at the centre. The front bumper has been tweaked, while at the back, there’s a new diffuser with the trademark Lexus F diagonally-stacked exhaust pipes. The finishing touch is provided with a set of 19-inch, 10-spoke Enkei wheels which are marginally lighter than the 19s fitted to the 350.
If you’re reading this in Europe you might be thinking this would be an ideal alternative to all the downsized super saloon options out there. After all, with the impending demise of the V8 Mercedes-AMG C63, you’re looking at the last compact four-door V8 standing. We’re going to have to disappoint you, though - the IS F Sport Performance is for the US market only.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but we suspect it’ll be around $60,000.