Tuesday, May 19, 2015

20k: Japanese AMG: 2008 Lexus IS-F

In 2008, the Japanese finally responded to BMW's M division and Mercedes' AMG with a little F-badge on the back of a Lexus.  It was the first really fast Japanese luxury sedan with track manners and a penchant for oversteer, and they have finally depreciated into the price range of the common man.  Find this 2008 Lexus IS-F offered for $24,888 via cars.com.

The basic Lexus IS was a competent luxury-sport sedan with an emphasis in luxury, but in 2008 model year the IS-F was released into the wild.  It was a skunk works project led by Yukihiko Yaguchi who had previously been in charge of the lauded MkIV Supra -- but the gist of it was a monster V8 shoved into a stiffly sprung IS with a fast shifting automatic transmission. 

The IS-F is powered by the 2UR-GSE, a 5.0 liter direct injected V8 that pushes out 416 horsepower and 371 ft-lbs of torque.  Power is sent into an 8-speed automatic transmission, which at first glance might seem like a mood killer, but the 8 speed slushbox is one of the best in the business and fires off 100 millisecond shifts at the press of a steering wheel mounted paddle shifter.  Magazine pundits declared the 8-speed one of the best autoboxes available and claimed it was hard to differentiate from a dual clutch version.

On the inside you can expect to see a nicely decorated Lexus interior with all of the comfort and basic durability you've come to expect from the maker of the world's best appliances.  

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  1. I think I drove one of these at a Lexus ride-and-drive event. It was okay,. It wasn't well suited to a six-foot-one driver, and the over-the-road (well, over-the-cones) behavior was nothing to make me trade my E39 M5.

  2. Oh, and this was the one (the first one, there's probably others since) where the four exhaust outlets are actually plastic, molded into the rear bumper cover, the real exhaust pipes end in front of them.

  3. I am sure it is a "nice" car but it is another shot and miss on the M3.

    1. It's kinda like the Jag S-type R - they thought they could be just a little softer than the BMW and find a market.

      It's not a bad car, but like so many of the sub-LS Lexes it doesn't accommodate drivers of 90th-percentile-and-taller well. The back seat is surprisingly tight. And it's like many Audis in that it's ruthlessly competent but just not much fun.

      This is the dutiful wife who works out three times a week, a CTS-V is the girlfriend who wants to do you in every room in your house, even the closets.

  4. No mileage numbers available on dealer's site.

  5. I think when Lexus tries to go bonkers and extreme they fall short.
    The lexus lfa wasn't an ass kicker and when ever they try to out muscle BMW they always fail.

    The designers and engineers need to go to Vegas and have a Hunter S. Thompson mindmeltig party time, come back to their cubicles and really blow it out. It is just too soft.

    It reminds me of design school. The best designers we always the students that were hooking up, going out, and living life, not just siting behind the desk all day. I believe this is why the Italian's are so good at what they do.

  6. Great car but the interior is so damn tight fitting, much like an S2000 morphed into a sedan. They are terrific drivers cars and super fast around track or in a straight line, lots of fun! I almost bought a low priced from a mild crash IS-F locally but there is no use in hauling any normal sized humans in the rear seats. Unless you comnpare the interior to a Scion FR-S. Nice price but needs to find just the right buyer.


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