Auto Express Comparison Test: Lexus IS-F vs. BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 vs. Audi RS4

Lexus IS-F vs. BMW M3 vs. Mercedes C63 vs. Audi RS4

Auto Express is the latest to pit the Lexus IS-F against the competition, throwing it into a test against the BMW M3, Mercedes C63 and the Audi RS4.

It’s almost a forgone conclusion that the M3 is going to place first, but Auto Express puts in a curveball, calling the Mercedes C63 the best of the test. And how did the IS-F fare?:

On a more fundamental level, the driving position is the least adaptable. The plush seats don’t hug you enough and you sit too high, so headroom is tight, while the chunky windscreen pillars leave you feeling hemmed in. And it’s not that spacious in the back, either.

But it’s pace, not practicality, that’s crucial here – and first impressions suggest the IS F is lacking. It was the quietest at idle inside and out, and its 5.0-litre seems like any other Lexus unit; effortlessly smooth, docile and calm. Don’t be fooled, though, because once the needle sweeps past 3,700rpm the 417bhp V8 takes on a whole new persona – there’s an instant hit of acceleration and the engine note, previously almost silent, becomes purposeful and loud.

Overall, while the Lexus is fast, composed and technically very capable in corners, it doesn’t quite have the handling of the M3, the fierce power, control and charisma of the C63 or the surefootedness of the RS4. Still, for a company with no previous experience in this segment, it’s a great achievement.

The more comparison tests that come in, the more clear it becomes that Lexus is going to be facing an difficult and lengthy uphill battle to establish the IS-F, but it certainly seems that they’re on the right track.