The first automotive press test drives of the Lexus IS-F were published today, so let’s go through them one at a time.
First up is Edmunds, which seesawed between being impressed by the IS-F’s on-track performance and unimpressed by its on-road experience:
While the kind of on-track schooling the IS-F has received is generally a good performance-tuning practice that tends to breed more performance-capable vehicles, it doesn’t always make for a livable car.
The IS-F short-travel suspension rides taut and firm like a racecar’s — all the time. Without driver-adjustable suspension, freeway overpasses that are usually registered by the seat of your pants as a gentle, rolling hop become spine-compressing jolts. Consider yourself warned.
There was some considerable praise for the IS-F Sport Direct Shift transmission:
Automatic transmissions are slow-acting, power-sapping, indirect hindrances between an engine and a driver’s will, right? Yet the IS-F’s eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission (AA80E) obliterates this notion with an entirely novel — and we think industry-changing — control system.
In manual mode, it comes as close to instant shifting as anything we’ve driven.
The gloriously quick downshifts (with matched revs) sound as if the car has a true sequential gearbox. It’s unbelievable. The only other transmission that comes close to such quick, driver-friendly action is the dual-clutch DSG gearbox like the one in an Audi A3, or perhaps the latest $9,000, Formula 1-style automated sequential manual like that in the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.
This was balanced somewhat by their dislike of the IS-F styling, though:
There’s also something about the gimmicky styling. The most telling trace of disingenuousness can be found in those stacked quad exhaust “resonators,” as Lexus describes them. We discovered that not one of the chromed ovals is directly plumbed to the muffler and are instead part of the rear fascia. They’re there just for looks.
There’s too much of this car that reminds us of the supersonic jet-powered sports cars we all used to draw on our denim binders back in third grade.
All in all, the review is a mixed bag, with their assertion that the harsh ride quality detracts from the otherwise exemplary performance sedan. As for the exterior criticism, I think everyone’s formed their own opinion by now.
(Of special note, be sure to check out the Edmunds video review of the IS-F, which very nicely encapsulates their written review.)