Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance
The first-ever Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance's throaty V8 is music to our ears.Courtesy Image

The Ballad of the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance

This article was produced in partnership with Lexus

As passionate enthusiasts, we’ve never much cared for the term ‘engine noise.’ It’s a phrase that implies the sounds coming from under the hood and out the tailpipes are ugly. Of course, to gearheads like us, they’re mellifluous, especially from a big, naturally aspirated V8. When an octet of cylinders sings in perfect harmony—don’t dare call it noise. Call it music! For those who appreciate an engine’s song, the first-ever 2022 Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance is an old-school crooner that belts out a helluva tune. It’s got a five-liter V8 voice that screams notes through a stacked quad-tipped exhaust all the way to 472 horsepower¹ sans the help of a turbocharger—or autotune.

2022 Lexus IS 500 in motion
This rear-wheel drive beast hits 60mph from a full stop in 4.4 seconds.² Courtesy Image

2022 Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance Is an All-Out Performer

The IS platform is one of the most popular models in the compact sport sedan segment, but this beefed-up version is a little bit extra. It also happens to be the first in Lexus’ new F SPORT Performance line. Thanks to a pair of additional cylinders, this rear-wheel-drive beast will hit 60mph from a full stop in 4.4 seconds², more than a second faster than the IS 350 F SPORT model.

Of course, all that power wouldn’t be worth much if you couldn’t channel it in the right direction. Lexus has coupled it with an F SPORT-tuned adaptive variable suspension that monitors G-forces and makes automatic adjustments to reduce body roll, and enhance precision and agility as you plot your way through corners.

The IS 500 also comes standard with a Torsen®³ limited-slip rear differential to enhance traction in a multitude of driving situations for more control and dynamic performance.

Brawny brakes make the IS 500’s speed easy to control. Aerodynamically cooled, 14-inch, two-piece aluminum rotors in the front and 12.7-inch rotors in the rear keep the driver in command whether screeching to a halt or just tapping into a turn.

Front grille of 2022 Lexus IS 500
New to the 2022 Lexus IS 500 is a raised hood (nearly two full inches) that offers more space for the V8. Courtesy Image

It’s Got the Look

Sure, it’s a four-door, but this is no sleeper. Even to the untrained eye, the IS series looks like a fast and furious sedan, and the 500 looks quicker still. The design team at Lexus raised the hood nearly two full inches to create a bit of space above the beastly V8, which is crammed into a space meant for six cylinders, adding mettle to the 500’s aesthetic. The IS 500 is also 2 inches longer in length than the standard IS to accommodate better engine cooling.

Exclusive dark chrome trim projects a bit of velocity onto the look, while intricate, lightweight 19-inch split-10-spoke Enkei alloy wheels swell the car’s already athletic stance.

Interior of the Lexus IS 500
The interior is just as sleek as the exterior. Courtesy Image

Refined on the Inside

In a sports car, drivers need extra support in the seats. Using a unique foam-injected construction, Lexus gives those behind the wheel comfort without diminishing road feel. Also built into the seats are bolsters positioned as close to the car’s center of gravity as possible to keep the driver and front seat passenger secure through tight turns taken at speed.

A dynamic digital instrumentation cluster with a unique startup animation makes it easy for the driver to keep tabs on the car, while the standard 8-inch or available 10.3-inch touchscreen can display navigation info or mirror a smartphone using Apple CarPlay⁴ or Android Auto integration⁵.

Without even having to check an option box, the IS 500 comes standard with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5⁶. It’s an advanced suite of high tech features that include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection⁷, Lane Tracing Assist⁸, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist⁹, Road Sign Assist¹⁰,  All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control¹¹, and Intelligent High Beams¹²—all working together to keep your drive safe. For additional peace of mind Lexus also optionally offers intuitive parking assist with auto braking, rear cross-traffic braking, and a panoramic view monitor.

Optionally, as music fans, we would add the 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson¹³ sound system, one of the finest in the industry, for cruising speeds when the motor is more sotto voce. But, because the engine song is such a draw, we’d definitely want a moonroof during spirited sessions to better hear every note of the naturally aspirated V8’s beautiful music.

*Launch Edition

For drivers who want something extra special, Lexus will offer a Launch Edition of the IS 500 limited to 500 serialized vehicles across North America in an exclusive Incognito exterior color with Black and Gray Ultrasuede® trimmed seats and unique Silver Ash wood interior trim. The Launch Edition will also feature 19-inch, seven-spoke forged alloy Matte Black BBS wheels.

Available Fall 2021; lexus.com/IS500

Get it

Still have a need for speed? Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the License to Thrill documentary (and head to Lexus.com to watch the IS 500 in action in the full 6-minute video), get an inside look at racing in a track experience for the first time, and read our Q&A with IndyCar Driver JR Hildebrand.

*Disclaimers

  1. Ratings achieved using the required premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. If premium fuel is not used, performance will decrease.
  2. 0-60 in 4.4 seconds is applicable to the IS 500 F SPORT Performance only. AMCI Testing Certified.
  3. Torsen® is a registered trademark of JTEKT Torsen, Inc.
  4. Apps and services are subject to change at any time without notice. Data charges may apply. Apple CarPlay® functionality requires a compatible iPhone® connected with an approved data cable into the USB media port. Apple CarPlay is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
  5. To use Android Auto on your audio display, you’ll need an Android Auto–compatible vehicle and Android phone. For phone compatibility visit: android.com. Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statement apply. Requires compatible smartphone connected with an approved data cable into the USB media port and data plan rates apply. Apps and services vary by phone carrier and are subject to change at any time without notice. Android and Android Auto are trademarks of Google LLC.
  6. Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 effectiveness is dependent on many factors including road, weather, and vehicle conditions. Drivers are responsible for their own safe driving. Always pay attention to your surroundings and drive safely. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  7. The Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection (PD) is designed to determine if impact is imminent and help reduce impact speed and damage in certain frontal collisions involving a vehicle, a pedestrian or a bicyclist. PCS w/PD is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, size and position of pedestrian or bicyclist, and weather, light, and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  8. Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) is designed to read visible lane markers and detect other vehicles under certain conditions. It is only operational when DRCC is engaged. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  9. Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist is designed to read visible lane markers under certain conditions. It provides a visual and audible alert and slight steering force when lane departure is detected. It is not a collision-avoidance system or a substitute for safe and attentive driving. Effectiveness is dependent on many factors including road, weather and vehicle conditions. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  10. Do not rely exclusively on Road Sign Assist (RSA). RSA is a driver support system that utilizes the vehicle’s forward-facing camera and Navigation System (when data is available) to recognize certain road signs and provide information to the driver via the multi-information display and/or Head-Up Display. Effectiveness is dependent on road, weather, vehicle and sign conditions. Use common sense when using RSA and do not drive distracted. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  11. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is designed to assist the driver and is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving practices. System effectiveness is dependent on many factors, including road, weather and traffic conditions. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  12. Intelligent High Beams operate at speeds above 21 mph. Factors such as a dirty windshield, weather, lighting and terrain limit effectiveness, requiring the driver to manually operate the high beams. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.
  13. Mark Levinson is a registered trademark of Harman International Industries, Inc.

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