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Exclusive: Why Isn’t The IS 500 Called IS F?

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.

ssun30

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In short, this is their equivalent of the "M/AMG-minus/Audi S". Regular sport trim with more powerful engine for less money. Makes a lot of sense since these have been the backbone of performance car sales in German brands. The full M/AMG/RS have bloated too much in price due to excessive technology.
 

Will1991

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Well... Hypothetically speaking of course, when we read:

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.

What could we read for an supposedly IS F engine?

A-xWRJYr2WT0KuVXcgpU2B74BQ8STZpprDjoh8Tn7vAjselUG4_xCVqtk57hBEMV7ayxogYyG40mAVpGNO0EuBhuvyY0G68cLHMOB-8YJGWJAqRE7iT5kBwRclntxl6sfD5hqMgYPi6-1kw3xS0PCfZ3tTVToXzOI0w
 

Gecko

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Hi All: We were very excited to work directly with Lexus on this launch and once seeing it under embargo, assumed there would be questions from the enthusiast community like:

IS 500 F SPORT vs IS F? Why?

What does F SPORT Performance line mean?

Does F SPORT Performance replace F?

So, we were able to go back to Lexus with these questions and get answers for you. I hope you find this useful and insightful. Lexus is really excited about this car, and we are as well!
 

Gecko

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In short, this is their equivalent of the "M/AMG-minus/Audi S". Regular sport trim with more powerful engine for less money. Makes a lot of sense since these have been the backbone of performance car sales in German brands. The full M/AMG/RS have bloated too much in price due to excessive technology.

Exactly. I don't know where this car will shake out on price yet, but if you look at adding the "Full F" kit, I think you're probably in the realm of another $10k. From my POV, Lexus built the car this way for a reason: You'll be able to get everything you want and need without some of the other add-ons jacking the price up further.

Bottom line: 472hp V8 IS 500 F SPORT will be less expensive than a full on IS F, and I don't know about you, but I just want that V8 and RWD for the most accessible price of admission. They delivered in a very big way.
 

meth.ix

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I figured. So if an IS F were to happen in this generation it would have those additional features mentioned in the article, but it still wouldn't be enough for a significant performance gain over the IS 500. It would need more power and even more torque.

Lexus even said:
F will continue to receive our most innovative engineering and advanced driver-inspired technology.
Having the same 12-year-old V8 doesn't exactly sound like Lexus' "most innovative technology". So the IS F would need a new engine or it won't come at all.
 

meth.ix

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Exactly. I don't know where this car will shake out on price yet, but if you look at adding the "Full F" kit, I think you're probably in the realm of another $10k. From my POV, Lexus built the car this way for a reason: You'll be able to get everything you want and need without some of the other add-ons jacking the price up further.
This will be interesting because Lexus' is well-known for undercutting other manufacturer's pricing for similar spec models. However, with the 2UR-GSE which isn't a mass-produced engine, I'm not sure if Lexus would be able to keep the price of the IS 500 competitive with the M340i and S4, which are its main competitors when looking at sales and performance.
 

meth.ix

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This really makes me think Lexus should've named the GS F as the GS 500 F Sport Performance. It got absolutely ripped apart being compared to the M5, E63 and even the 640HP CTS-V which were basically in a whole different tier in terms of speed.
 

James

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I like the three stages of F Sport, F Sport Performance, and Full F but my question to you Lexus is are you going to continue it or no? We've seen ISF come and go. We've seen GSF come and go. We still have an RCF for now. Are they going to continue this approach where we will get these products constantly? We don't know that yet but on 2/22/21 LE should be very excited about what we see and are hearing from our brand.

Hey if all the complaining we have done in the past year or so get us to what we want then kudos to Lexus to listening to us and actually caring about their best supporters.
 

Levi

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Great !
But not for me (Europe) ?!
Ask this to Lexus.
If we manage to import it, it will be the most exclusive sedan. I am sure in south of france, paris and switzerland there will be some imported ones.
 
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I like the three stages of F Sport, F Sport Performance, and Full F but my question to you Lexus is are you going to continue it or no? We've seen ISF come and go. We've seen GSF come and go. We still have an RCF for now. Are they going to continue this approach where we will get these products constantly? We don't know that yet but on 2/22/21 LE should be very excited about what we see and are hearing from our brand.

Hey if all the complaining we have done in the past year or so get us to what we want then kudos to Lexus to listening to us and actually caring about their best supporters.

I second this. Here's my question.

When Lexus is not asleep, they are one of the last hopes for many enthusiasts who want something pure as other manufacturers are running towards excessive gimmicks that takes away the driving experience. I wanted to know how you will be able to upstage the F-Sport Performance line with an F model. Many people are anticipating the twin-turbocharged V8 that you guys have been developing for several years.

My second question is, will there is a crossover F (or F-Sport Performance) model? Those would sell like hotcakes.
 

Gecko

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I like the three stages of F Sport, F Sport Performance, and Full F but my question to you Lexus is are you going to continue it or no? We've seen ISF come and go. We've seen GSF come and go. We still have an RCF for now. Are they going to continue this approach where we will get these products constantly? We don't know that yet but on 2/22/21 LE should be very excited about what we see and are hearing from our brand.

Hey if all the complaining we have done in the past year or so get us to what we want then kudos to Lexus to listening to us and actually caring about their best supporters.

While I don't know the answer for sure, I thought about this a lot and I think "F SPORT Performance Line" is probably something new to stay. Why? Direct4, hybrids and batteries.

I bet you the trademarks for vehicles "RX 500h" and TX 500h" end up under "F Sport Performance" because with Direct4, there are going to be new powertrains with additional horsepower over the standard models.

I could also see LC F being dead, but if there is a new turbo V8 floating around somewhere, we get "LC 600 F SPORT" like this car.

The way it's spelled out in the article makes a lot of sense to me:
F SPORT: Standard car with suspension and styling changes.
F SPORT Performance: F SPORT car + actual powertrain upgrades
F: Mac Daddy

Batteries and hybrids make that middle tier very exciting - and very real.
 

Faisal Sheikh

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But to be faster it has to have some weight reduction, otherwise it will be heavier and slower (on straight line).

It would be similar in straight line, but better for consistent lapping around the track than the IS500 F-Sport.
 

maiaramdan

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This refresh is already sold in a lot of places as Mideast and post Soviet states so I think it will be quiet safe to say that the IS500 will be sold there too
 

spwolf

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i doubt that, i think that rumor was because they new V8 was coming to IS and they thought it would be IS F.
 
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