The "F" marque on any Lexus is the signature of this luxury brand’s high-performance division. A model bearing the F insignia means that it was packed with enhancements as sports package and accessories or individually-badged cars. Lexus filed the F emblem trademark in 2006 in the same tradition that BMW has the M Division and Mercedes-Benz has the AMG. Lexus derived the "F" marque from the Fuji International Speedway and based the logo on the tracks' profile from turn 9 to turn 16.
In the early years of Lexus, the performance packages for the Lexus IS 300 and GS 400 were done by the TRD-based L-Tuned division. Lexus then established its Lexus Vehicle Performance Development Division which was a branch of the Lexus Development Center located in Aichi, Japan and was responsible for all of Lexus’ racing activities and consequent developments.
From these beginnings, Lexus unveiled the IS F together with the F Sport packages for their other models. This vehicle performance division is also responsible for the legendary Lexus LFA. Further developments were also made to produce the Lexus RC F and the Lexus GS F.
Introduction of the Lexus IS F
The Lexus IS F was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January 2007. Based on the second-generation IS-series, the IS F was to have modernised features, the latest technologies, and a new and more aggressive body style.
In Europe, it was introduced in the September 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show and was unveiled in Japan at the Fuji International Speedway in October 2007. The production models were released as the 2008 model Lexus IS F, as opposed to its original designation as IS 500.
Drivetrain and Suspension
The Lexus IS F (USE20) was sold from 2008 to 2015, powered by the 5.0L 2UR-GSE V8 (310 kW, 503 Nm) coupled to an 8-speed automatic with a manual mode actuated by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h was timed at 4.6 seconds, and top speed was advertised as 274 km/h.
The rear-wheel-drive platform was equipped with a double-wishbone front suspension, and a multi-link system with helical spring rear suspension similar to other IS models but tuned and modified to handle the substantial increase in power and further improve handling. The front brakes were Brembo ventilated discs with 6-piston aluminium callipers while the rear had Brembo perforated discs with 2-piston callipers, all with high-friction brake pads.
The Lexus IS F was equipped with 19-inch BBS wheels that were custom-designed with a 10-spoke pattern. Front wheels are 8 inches wide, while the rear wheels are 9 inches with high-performance, low aspect ratio tyres (40 series) mounted. The IS F has a 25mm lower ride height as compared to an IS 350 on 18-inch wheels. It comes standard with a limited-slip differential and includes various other standard equipment and technologies like ABS, TCS, VSC, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.
Interior and Exterior
Standard features for the interior of the IS F include the latest offerings from Lexus and are only sold as options from other manufacturers. Dual front airbags, knee airbags, side airbags and head airbags protect the occupants. For convenience, the IS F includes an alarm/anti-theft system, powered front seats, power mirrors, power sunroof, satellite navigation, a Mark Levinson sound system with 14 speakers, and a whole lot more. These features come on top of all the luxury trimmings that are standard to the IS-series.
The IS F’s exterior is decked up in a new body kit and rear spoilers. Also very evident are the quad exhausts poking out of the aerodynamic rear valance. The front fascia is redesigned from the base IS series and include Xenon headlights and fog lights with a functional aero trim on the sides completing a body form that is very distinctive while maintaining its luxury heritage.
The Coveted Lexus IS F
The Lexus IS F is one of the most sought-after models in the IS series. Unfortunately, it was only produced for a short time. The IS-series is still the entry-level offering from Lexus, and we may yet see an IS F produced as a third-generation.
Truly one of the most exciting models that were ever sold by Lexus, the IS F may soon become a collectible. In the meantime, Lexus has given the sports-minded driver a high-performance machine in a luxury sedan package that’s roomy enough for the family.
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