When it launched in the United States for the 2008 model year, the Lexus IS F had models like the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG in its sights. The Japanese sedan followed the classic recipe of American muscle cars by installing a modified V8 from larger models into this smaller, performance-focused offering. Watch this video to see how a mildly modified example handles the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The most astonishing thing about this IS F is that the odometer shows around 273,093 miles (439,500 kilometers). The 5.0-liter V8 is still stock but receives normal maintenance like new timing chains at around 124,750 miles (200,000 kilometers). The powerplant's standard output is 416 horsepower (310 kilowatts) and 371 pound-feet (503 Newton-meters) of torque.
The car also has some minor modifications. It rides on a custom-tuned KW suspension. The brakes are from Endless. There are a set of OZ wheels. Inside, the rear seat is gone, and harnesses attach to the body.
When the Lexus hits the track, the rumbly sound from the engine is immediately evident. It sounds like an American V8 muscle car. An eight-speed automatic sends the power to the rear wheels. For an older gearbox with a traditional torque converter, the tech seems to shift through the cogs quickly.
The Nordschleife is busy during this lap, and there are two points where the cars have to slow down because of an incident on the track. The driver initially says that the suspension setup is a bit too soft. However, he changes his mind after having more time behind the wheel.
Gallery: 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Review
The closest thing to the IS F in the modern Lexus lineup is the IS 500 F Sport Performance model (pictured above). It continues to use a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, but the output is now 472 hp (352 kW) and 395 lb-ft (536 Nm). An eight-speed automatic still sends the power to the rear wheels. The setup gets the sedan to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 4.4 seconds and an estimated top speed of 165 mph (266 kph).
The IS 500 F Sport Performance starts at $57,575 after the $1,075 destination fee.
If you want to hear more about Japanese performance cars, check out this episode of Rambling About Cars.