Auto Express Drives the Lexus IS-F Around Fuji Speedway


2008 Lexus IS-F

Auto Express’ first drive of the IS-F is different than the other reviews today, in that they travelled to Japan to try the IS-F out on the Fuji Speedway, the track that inspired the F-Performance name.

However, the end result was very similar to the Edmunds review, with a key difference — Auto Express was confined to the track and unable to test the car on tarmac.

At first, they weren’t particularly impressed:

In profile, there’s no missing the super-low stance, yet to our eyes it all looks more like an aftermarket special than flagship performance car.

The interior changes are surprisingly low-key, as well. It’s as if the designers ran out of either money or ideas. It’s a standard IS cabin with carbon-effect trim on the console.

Start the engine, though, and you can tell where the cash has really gone. The unique unit was developed under the watchful eye of the Toyota Racing Development division.

Once they started their laps though, it seems all thought of the exterior went out the window, and we start seeing terms like “absolute gem”, “a real joy” and “inspiring.”

However, Auto Express did have some reservations, due to their track-only test drive:

On a smooth circuit, the IS-F is an impressive package, but we couldn’t help but wonder how the car would deal with a wet, bumpy B-road. We’ll have to try it on UK tarmac before we know if the likes of BMW and Audi really need to start to worry.

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