Road & Track Comparison: Lexus IS-F vs. BMW M3 vs. Audi RS4 vs. Mercedes C63

Lexus IS-F vs. BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 vs. Audi RS4

Road & Track has dared to compare the Lexus IS-F, BMW M3, the Mercedes C63 and the Audi RS4 in the latest of the super sedan shootouts. As has often been the case, the Lexus IS-F put in a good showing but was still relegated to last place:

Nobody likes to finish off the podium, but it’s not as bad as it might seem for the first Lexus to wear the stylized “F” — and the first Lexus capable of decidedly “non-Lexus” performance in the vein of the BMW M3. Its explosive 0–60 and quarter-mile times of 4.2 and 12.6 seconds put it second in the test, just a tick slower than the Mercedes. A slalom weave of 70.9 mph also puts it in second, behind the BMW.

So no flies in the ointment yet. Until you look at the IS F among the others. Said Dennis Simanaitis: “To me, the Lexus’ oddly pugnacious snout detracts from its otherwise stylish lines.” The tarted-up oval finishers for the exhaust do the car no aesthetic favors, and the side treatment makes the Lexus appear a little bottom-heavy. “It’s as if the bodywork additions were made of wax,” I wrote in my notes, “and then left under a heat lamp.” Bornhop added, “It looks a bit reptilian.”

Inside, the ergonomics and general layout are appealing, but the IS F deserves a much higher-quality dash pad; its contours are doughy, its surface texture indifferent and a gap was starting to appear between it and the top of the center-stack plastic.

The styling just isn’t going over well with the American mainstream automotive media. Mechanically, it’s more than keeping up, and the 8-speed auto transmission its getting a lot of positive attention.

[Source: Road & Track]

Mother Proof Reviews the Lexus LX 570

2008 Lexus LX 570

Mother Proof, a site that reviews cars from a mother’s point of view, has posted a review of the Lexus LX 570:

The sheer number of buttons that greeted me on that first drive was also a bit overwhelming; I thought I might need pilot training just to get it home. I was sorely disappointed to find that not one of the switches inside was capable of brewing my morning latte.

Once the initial aesthetic command and control shock wore off, I came to enjoy almost everything about the Lexus LX 570. Things I’ll miss most are the climate-controlled seats, front and side-view cameras and the automatic-folding third-row seats. The heated and cooled seats came in handy when we had 80-degree weather one day and a spring snowstorm the next. The front-mounted camera took a little getting used to, but it made me feel quite spy-like when I was able to easily park this rig in a tiny spot at the mall.

I enjoy these functional kinds of reviews, with very little to no focus on engine-size/0-60 times, they’re a nice foil to the more technical breakdowns. The slice-of-life perspective is refreshing.

Extended Footage of the Lexus LF-A (not the racing prototype)

It’s not the Lexus LF-A racing prototype, but this extended spy video of the LF-A is still something to watch:

It’s been rumored that one of the major reasons for the supercar’s production delay was the engineer’s desire to push the top speed higher. Well, when comparing this video, which was filmed last year, with spy footage of the Lexus LF-A racing prototype, you can practically hear the improvement.

Of course, there’s innumerable differences between the videos (distance from the car, speed, etc.), but even in terms of apparent speed, the new prototype seems much improved.

Top Gear’s Richard Hammond Reviews the Lexus IS-F

Lexus IS-F & Richard Hammond

I am, it must be said, a very big fan of Top Gear, so it was with great interest to find a review of the Lexus IS-F by Richard Hammond, one of the show’s presenters.

Like his Fifth Gear counterpart Tom Ford, Hammond was more than impressed:

And, like a penguin reincarnated as a lion with a machine gun, at times it gets giddy with the sheer joy it and cannot contain itself any longer, screaming with euphoria Needless to say, it was an engine I fell in love with. It lurks under the huge bonnet power-bulge that is only the start of the scattering of sporty tinsel and glamour that mean the hard-edged version of the otherwise pretty boring IS is yelling at you before you’ve even fired up the V8.

Slot the gear-lever into drive and take off. Flipping heck. Letting the V8 off the leash is like, well, doing exactly that – letting it off the leash to have a run around the park.

Seldom do I get the chance to really sit back in the driving seat and give in to genuine surprise. But here, at the wheel of a car from a manufacturer known best for durability and discreet reliability, I was flabbergasted as the IS-F took off and headed for the horizon.

Hammond does add some criticism of the ride quality, but compares the IS-F very favorably to the BMW M3 and Audi RS4.

It’s strange, the most favorable reviews of the IS-F so far have come from Britain, and I wonder if it’s due to how rare the car will be, with only 150 earmarked for sale in the UK. Next up, I hope, is a review from Jeremy Clarkson…

Lexus trademarks IS 250C, IS 300C & IS 350C

Lexus IS Coupe

The IS Coupe is one step closer to reality, as a moderator over at my.IS discovered some trademark applications filed by Lexus in both the USA and Canada: IS 250C, IS 300C and IS 350C.

These digits lead to some interesting speculation, particularly in the case of the IS 300C. The 102-hp gap between the IS 250 and 350 has long been a bone of contention, especially because the IS 250 is available with a manual transmission. Now, with this new IS 300C designation, this gap could very well be plugged with something along the lines of the 3GR-FSE V6 (from the 2006-2007 GS 300). Very good news, if that’s the case.

One glaring omission is the IS-FC, though it seems more likely that there would be no differentiation between the coupe and sedan models.

All in all, a very positive development. 

(Note: The above image is not the production IS coupe, but rather a rendering by a still-to-be-determined source.)

[Source: my.IS]