The Lexus IS-F Engine Uncovered

Perhaps the most amusing part of Jalopnik’s review of the IS-F, and something I forgot to mention in my post, was their removal of the engine cover, revealing this jumbled up pile:

Lexus IS-F Engine Uncovered

You can check out more photos of the engine innards at the Jalopnik site.


Another thing I missed, or rather didn’t realize, was that there was a third part to Jalopnik’s review,  which included their rating on the IS-F’s individual characteristics, as well as a summary that can only puff up the car’s potential buyers:

I walked into this thing with low expectations. In my head, the notions of Lexus and high performance couldn’t even park next to each other. Color me impressed. A perfect car? No. There’s too much sound insulation.

Toyota on the Lexus F Model Design

Lexus GS-F Rendering

Ward’s Auto had a chance to sit down with Toyota Design Chief Wahei Hirai to discuss the unfavorable reaction to the Lexus IS-F’s design:

Critics say the derivative does not distinguish itself enough from the current IS, especially with the interior, and that its bulbous nose is downright ugly.

Toyota Motor Corp. design chief Wahei Hirai is familiar with the complaints but says creating a unique feel for all F-performance models, more of which are said to be coming, is a bigger priority than tweaking the IS-F.

“We have to establish our own identity as a Lexus premium brand,” Hirai says at an event here during the Tokyo auto show. “Maybe we will put some flavor or dynamics, or more emotion, toward (F models) than the basic Lexus design.”

For one thing, Lexus can be more aggressive in designing its F cars than the German brands, Hirai says. “They appreciate consistency, or continuity, very much. We like to make (our vehicles) a different way.”

There’s a bit of circular logic in Hirai’s response, which almost sounds as though future F models will be uniquely designed. In a way, it makes sense, the GS may be the only other model that could pull off the IS-F design elements, and it sounds like there’s much more than a GS-F in the pipeline. Maybe we’ll actually see an RX-F!

Jalopnik Reviews the Lexus IS-F

Jalopnik & The Lexus IS-F

Spanning two parts, the Jalopnik review of the Lexus IS-F is a real fun read, but the most interesting aspect is how contrary it is to other published reviews.

First off, whereas every other review, bar none, praised the IS-F on the track, Jalopnik came away shaking their heads:

If it sounds like I wasn’t exactly smitten with the IS-F on the track, you have good ears. And I wasn’t alone. Wes was wandering around the paddock shaking his head no. The rest of us were trying to figure out the difference between third gear and fifth. Yeah, the IS-F did some things real well (straight line speed + stopping), but it just felt out of its element.

When they took the car out on the road, I was expecting to read about its ride harshness, setting up the review for an outright pan, but it turned out to be quite the opposite:

If my passenger, who squealed and hissed and yelped the entire time, is any indication, the IS-F is a Japanese joy-buzzer. Over the ensuing week I made passengers scream, holler, carsick, beg me to stop and howl with delight and glee. As for me, the driver, I was always in control, pushing it and pushing it harder and harder and never being let down. Not by the engine, the handling or the brakes. The transmission started to make sense and I’ve even got a callous on my middle finger from ripping the up-paddle. Lexus is practically doing handstands to convince you that the IS-F has legitimate track credentials. Why bother? No 3,774-pound sedan is a good track-day proposition. But, as a back-road carver, no sedan is better.

No sedan is better?! I suppose it’s possible to chalk this up to Jalopnik’s bombastic writing style, but that’s hardly faint praise.

*Update*: Silly me, didn’t realize there was going to be a third part to this review.

New Lexus IS-F Photos

The Lexus IS-F in Black

Lexus has issued a new batch of IS-F photos today, replete in every available color but Starfire Pearl. It’s really a shame that this car was featured in that awful blue for so long, all the other colors suit it much better. That black is just perfect.

Edmunds Sport Sedan Comparison Test

The 2007-2008 Sports Sedan Comparison Test by Edmunds

Edmunds has posted up a comparison test of 2007-2008 sports sedans, pitting the 2007 Lexus IS 350 and Infiniti G35 Sport against 2008 models of the Cadillac CTS, Mercedes C350 Sport and BMW 335i.

How did Lexus fare? Fourth place:

Not one editor who scored this test was able to find the kind of personal connection with the Lexus that they felt behind the wheel of the top-scoring cars. Its awkward, synthetic steering, soft brake pedal and slow-responding transmission kept us from maximizing the Lexus’ man-machine interface. Synthesizing the IS 350’s abilities with one’s own limits was near impossible, and it earned less confidence in its abilities than any other car in the test. And it’s not because the IS is slow — far from it actually, as the IS’s accelerative surge will tear your head off — but it just doesn’t encourage the at-the-limit driving that we think should be a part of every true sport sedan’s abilities. If this doesn’t matter to you, then you should consider it more highly.

The sport sedan market is a fierce segment, and ranking these cars is like making a list of your favorite foods, it all depends on your mood. In the end, the Infiniti won, mostly due to price and a desire to put BMW in second place. The redesigned CTS came in third, and there’s every appearance that it’s going to be a huge success for Cadillac. The poor new Mercedes C350, with so much riding on its shoulders, came in last.