2014 Lexus IS F Review: Gone, But Not Soon Forgotten
There are only a few cars that get me really excited every time I get behind the wheel. The Lexus IS F is one of those cars. I’ve driven it already, but each time you seem to learn something new about it that gets you to love it even more. For this third, and likely final time, it was no different.
Lexus reinvented the luxury saloon segment with its V8-powered IS. It's ridiculous in every sense to the word. The engine is too big, the body too small, and it's all mish-mashed together to form one big, overcompensatory four-door. But it is so much damn fun. The immediate reaction comes from under the hood. While the styling itself is still tame enough not to draw too much attention, the 416-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 grips both driver and passenger from launch.
Still keeping its rear-wheel drive and 8-speed paddle shift gearbox, the IS F feels composed enough to manage that monstrous V8. It’s not afraid to take on some sharp corners, snarling all the while. MPG isn't great, to say the least — somewhere near 18, but truth be told, it's not really about that. It’s about an IS with a V8 and that’s all that matters. Outside, as mentioned, the styling is still rather tame. Lexus attempted to toughen up the IS F from the standard IS with some new wheels and tires, a carbon fiber lip, and a boat-load of aerodynamic new enhancements. But the previous generation getup still can’t shake what some often refer to as a ‘boring’ profile. The new generation is much prettier.
Inside, it’s comfort times ten. The new Alcantara seats are coated in black and red leather, and are able to keep the driver in place, but not so much to where it’s uncomfortable on long road trips. The rest of the interior though feels cheap. For now, the IS F keeps most of its old parts. But come the 2015 IS F, it's going to be a whole new animal. But when it comes down to it, we still love the Lexus IS F.
Yes it's aging, yes it needs a revamp, and yes it's ridiculous, but it's a sign that Lexus– and more importantly Toyota– was willing to take a big risk on a car that was about more than the bottom line. We don't doubt that a new IS F will be much sharper, and much more the object of our desire. But for now, we still have this behemoth to be thankful for. Specs: Engine: 5.0L V8 Horsepower: 416 0-60: 4.6S Price (as tested): $63,600 Positives: As Fun As Ever Fresher Interior V8 Goodness Negatives: Aging Inefficient Cheap Interior Bits