David Booth, a columnist with Canada’s National Post, has posted up his latest column comparing the Lexus IS-F with the Nissan GT-R, and it’s just as expertly written and to the point as I’ve come to expect:
With the IS-F, you have time to prepare for the acceleration as the big 5.0-litre V8 gathers itself and builds up steam. If the Lexus feels like it’s being pushed out of the way by a 130-kilogram NFL lineman on his way to get a fresh libation from a scantily clad Budweiser girl, the Nissan feels like said Budweiser girl is his girlfriend and he smacked you, full-force, upside the head with a telephone book because he thinks you’re hitting on her.
It’s not that the Lexus is slow. Au contraire; it’s roughly as quick as BMW’s M3, which is plenty quick. It’s just that if you’re going to play with the GT-R, you’d better have one of those new supercharged ZR1 Corvettes or the very latest, 560-hp Lamborghini Murcielago.
The IS-F is as sporty as Lexus can make it without sacrificing one iota of luxury; the GT-R is as luxurious as Nissan can engineer it without sacrificing even a bit of performance. The IS-F is a slightly softer competitor to BMW’s M3; the GT-R is a stiffer, more committed alternative to Porsche’s 911 Turbo.
With both of these cars coming out of Japan and retailing within the same ballpark, it’s inevitable that comparisons be made. However, Booth’s last paragraph there accurately sums up the real competition and keys directly into the bigger picture — the Japanese have reset their eyes on performance, big time.