Lexus IS-F Released to the Automotive Press

The Lexus IS-F Rear

The automotive press has finally been given the keys to the upcoming Lexus IS-F, not that it means we’ll be getting any insight into the overly secretive final specs, at least according to Arthur St. Antoine of Motor Trend:

Tonight I’m in Carmel, California, in preparation for tomorrow’s test drive of the all-new, hugely anticipated Lexus IS F sport sedan at Laguna Seca racetrack. Can’t tell you a thing yet about the Lexus; all that information is top secret until the official release date.

At least it’s a step in the right direction.

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St. Antoine also got an opportunity to have dinner with Jim Farley, Toyota Vice-President and Lexus general manager, who passed along some rather interesting information:

Lexus sells more cars per dealership in Russia and China than it does in the U.S. Surprise you? It did me. “We’re huge in Russia,” Farley says. “China, too. They love our cars.” The same can’t be said for Europe, though. “We don’t have the diesels for France, Germany, Italy,” Farley admits. “Just making a transmission for a diesel engine can take ten years to recoup the costs, yet that’s what European buyers want.” When I asked if Europe really matters that much, given the Lexus success in Asia, Farley didn’t hesitate: “It is a status thing. If you want to be taken seriously as an automaker, you’ve got to do well in Europe.” Then he cracked a sly smile: “We have some things coming that I think will impress you.”

I pray that he’s not referring to the rumored small luxury car.

Farley confirms the fact that Lexus is making the European market a top priority, though that was of little doubt. With his talk of the cost associated with building a transmission for a diesel engine, my mind went straight to the IS 220d, which has been available in Europe for some time. However, after looking into it, the IS 220d is only available in manual, meaning Farley must be referring to an automatic transmission.

[Source: Motor Trend]