The Truth About Cars Reviews the Lexus IS-F

2008 Lexus IS-F

I have to appreciate The Truth about Cars review of the Lexus IS-F. Sure, it’s critical, but the writing is superb and full of character:

Given a long, empty ribbon of road, the IS-F again reveals a sharply split personality. Flexing your right foot rips away the layers of Lexus fluff. At WOT, acceleration is torrential and torque-soaked. Lexus claims 0-60 in “under 4.9 seconds.” Any attempt to prove them right/wrong and the V8’s murmur turns to a frenzied howl, courtesy of a secondary air intake that opens at 3,600 rpm. You might as well be pulling its head out from underwater, so dramatic is the shift in its voice.

There’s a predictable downside to the F’s binary nature: Mr. Hyde only comes out to play above safe, legal velocities. The chassis boasts tasty balance at the limit, and the steering enlivens somewhat under load. But given the tires’ immense grip, you’d be nuts to sample either trait on your morning commute. So you back off, the engine fades to Muzak and Toyota’s patented anesthetic drips back into the primary controls.

This touches on a primary point of this car, the excessive performance may be inline with its competitors, but tapping into it creates an awkward break between what’s expected from a Lexus and what’s expected from a super-sedan.