Why isn’t the IS 500 instead called “IS F”?
You want to know, and we did too, so we asked Lexus directly. The answer opens an entirely new chapter of Lexus performance while giving enthusiasts even more options within the lineup.
Lexus Enthusiast: Can you tell us a bit more about the hierarchy of F products now? We have F SPORT, F SPORT Performance Line, and F… Is this a three-tiered approach to performance where all-out performance cars will still be “F” at the top of the range? Or is F Sport Performance Line a replacement for F?
Lexus: Great question. The IS 500 will be the first model to debut the Lexus F SPORT Performance line. F SPORT Performance models will be positioned between current Lexus F SPORT models, like the IS 350 F SPORT, and F models, like the RC F.
While current F SPORT models are denoted by upgraded performance components honed at the track (e.g., sport tuned suspension, limited-slip differential, race-inspired styling), new F SPORT Performance models will be further upgraded with those components and a high output powertrain.
As the highest expression of power and performance, F will continue to receive our most innovative engineering and advanced driver-inspired technology.
So there we have it. The IS 500 F SPORT Performance ushers in a new, third dimension for Lexus performance vehicles above “F SPORT” and below “F.”
- F SPORT: An option package on Lexus models with upgraded performance components such as sport tuned suspensions, limited-slip differentials and race inspired styling.
- F SPORT Performance: Includes F SPORT upgraded performance components paired with a high output powertrain.
- F: The highest expression of Lexus performance with the most innovative engineering and driver-inspired technology.
Lexus Enthusiast’s Take
Having this information makes it easier to understand what ingredients are missing to create an IS F: Exclusive F front and rear bumpers with side fender vents, Brembo brakes, driver-focused suspension enhancements, active weight reduction, unique interior trim, launch control and more.
The IS 500 F SPORT Performance delivers where it matters most: 161 more horsepower, 115 more lb-ft of torque, two more cylinders, and a curb weight under 3,900 pounds.
Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that Lexus has delivered a perfect blueprint for performance-oriented buyers to enjoy and enthusiasts to modify as they see fit — without the added cost of full F gear.
More Lexus performance vehicles is better, and a naturally aspirated, rear-wheel-drive, V8 IS is the vehicle that started it all 13 years ago. Is it possible that the IS 500 F SPORT Performance is set to do the same for future Lexus generations? We hope so.