Automobile Magazine Reviews the 2008 Lexus IS-F

2008 Lexus IS-F

The Lexus IS-F reviews keep coming in, this time from Automobile Magazine.

This review is similar in a lot of ways to Edmunds’, in that they loved the on-track performance but were disappointed with its ride harshness off it:

The IS-F rides on nineteen-inch BBS wheels that are forged rather than cast, saving somewhere around ten pounds each, but the result of all these changes is still one stiff-riding IS. The ride is fairly brutal, so your passengers certainly won’t mistake this for a regular Lexus.

More to the point, Automobile Mag doesn’t believe the IS-F is anything for its competitors to worry about:

But is that [the IS-F perfomance] enough to turn the IS-F into the kind of icon that the M3 has become? We don’t think so. The small sport sedan category is less about track prowess than it is street cred. The M3 has that in spades. Like the C63 and the RS4, it shares precious little of its driveline, suspension, and chassis with the more pedestrian car that it’s based on.

…For all the speed the IS-F gained on the track, it lost even more of the ordinary IS’s drivability and good looks. And on the streets and in the showrooms, that’s what really counts.


Automobile also performed a dyno test, which showed that the rear wheels are getting 333bhp and 318 lb-feet of torque, a very impressive figure:

2008 Lexus IS-F Dyno Results

Car Magazine, The Lexus LF-Xh, and Some Photoshop Fun

The Lexus LF-Xh Concept

Car Magazine has put in their two cents regarding the design of the Lexus LF-Xh concept, and they like what they see:

The concept’s exterior dimensions are similar to the RX400h’s, but crucially massaged in all the right ways to alleviate the current model’s slightly ungainly ‘body-disconnected-from-its wheels’ stance.

The LF-Xh is longer and wider (by 50mm), lower (by 70mm) and with a wheelbase stretched by 130mm. The result is an SUV that looks altogether more planted to the road and agile in a sporty coupe-like manner. The slatted razorblade-style front grille adds to the smooth feel.

I’m in total agreement about the current RX model looking a little uncomfortable on its wheels, but I think this concept takes it too far to the other extreme. However, if they simply “stretched” the entire body upwards when converting the LF-Xh concept to a production model, it’s going to be a winner, hands down.

With that in mind, I went ahead with my first ever automotive image manipulation, just to see (please ignore the rear wheel):

Lexus LF-Xh Photochop

The front end is way off, but I like what it fortells.


I was a little disappointed to read Car Magazine’s blurb on the LF-Xh interior:

‘Anticipation’ is apparently a keyword for the inside in a similar way to the light that illuminates the ground by the door when you unlock the production GS model before getting in. Trouble is, Lexus is clearly not fully happy with the interior their designers made as it wouldn’t let any journalists see the finished inside first hand.

That’s just too bad.

Motor Trend Reviews the 2008 Lexus IS-F

2008 Lexus IS-F

I saved the Motor Trend IS-F review for last — not only is it the most positive, it’s written by Arthur St. Antoine, who’s become one of the automotive writers I always pay attention to.

If you were thinking about purchasing an IS-F, and maybe the other reviews have you feeling a little unsure, this review is going to put the swagger back in your step:

Acknowledging that their new IS F offers higher-performance limits than any public road can handle, the Lexus team unveiled their new black sheep at Laguna Seca racetrack. There, it took about, oh, two or three turns to realize the Nrburgring-tuned IS F is going to make serious trouble for the likes of the new BMW M3, the Audi RS4, and the Mercedes C63 AMG. The car is, quite simply, a monster: Acceleration is brutal, the brakes are wicked-strong, and handling grip is immense.

Back in L.A., senior editor Kiino grabbed the keys and came back from a sprint through his favorite canyons all but frothing at the mouth: “This may be the best Japanese car I’ve ever driven! Under normal driving, the 5.0 feels like a typical Lexus V-8–super smooth and quiet–yet stomp on it and all of a sudden it’s like there’s a honkin’ Hemi on-board–one that got its Ph.D. at the University of NVH. Shift speed is remarkable–feels like a DSG. And you can flog the suspension and it never gets upset. This car is a riot.”

With the exception of the now standard criticism of the on-road ride quality, this is without a doubt, the most flattering road test of the IS-F yet.

(Also, Part 1 of a Motor Trend video review has also been posted.)

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.

Car & Driver Reviews the 2008 Lexus IS-F

Car & Driver Reviews the 2008 Lexus IS-F

Next up in our day of Lexus IS-F reviews is Car & Driver, who don’t really say much, yet provide some contrasting opinions when compared to the Edmunds review.

For instance, where Edmunds was altogether blown away by the Sport Direct Shift transmission, C&D had some criticisms:

Polished paddles put your fingers in charge when you wish it. And they’ll be busy, the swift-revving engine and ratio-stuffed, eight-speed automatic gearbox bringing forth the redline cutoff with annoying frequency. With all that engine fettling, the warning beep reminding you to upshift at 6400 rpm and the cut-out at 6800 rpm feel a bit low. The new 414-hp BMW M3’s engine screams all the way to 8400 rpm.

Yet, when it came to on-road ride quality, something that Edmunds found overly harsh, C&D sang a different tune altogether:

At leisure speeds, the air is hushed, Lexus-like, with just a distant snort from the engine and the extra thrum of the fat summer Michelins disturbing the peace. Given the low profile of the rubber mounted to the 19-inch forged aluminum rims, the ride is tightly controlled but commendably mellow. The ride-and-handling balance is perhaps the IS F’s biggest achievement. It makes allowances for road fissures and drops the body into holes with cushioned lurches.

Oh, the subjectiveness of car reviews!