With every day that passes we get more and more upset that Lexus isn’t bringing the IS500 F-Sport to the UK and Europe. Remember this is a small, BMW 3 Series-sized sedan with rear-wheel drive and a 478hp, 535Nm nat-asp V8. It’s a manual gearbox and an estate version shy of on-paper perfection.
Today has been more difficult than most, for Lexus has just revealed the IS500 ‘Performance Launch Edition’. No mechanical changes, though the 19-inch BBS alloys are supposed to save a couple of kilos a corner, but doesn’t it look lovely?
It’s painted a shade of grey Lexus calls ‘Incognito”, and inside is trimmed with ‘Ultrasuede’ and leather. According to the plaque on the dash Lexus will only build 500, with prices to be announced this Autumn when it arrives in dealers.
The IS500 is not an ISF replacement, though it does have the diagonally-stacked exhausts, and nor is it an M3 or C63 rival. It’s softer than that – closer to an S4 or C43, only with a big nat-asp V8 (that doesn’t make peak power until 7,100rpm) instead of a turbocharged six. Mechanical changes versus the normal, North America-only IS includes bigger brakes, a Torsen LSD and adaptive damping.
STORY Tom Harrison