Recently, we got our hands on the new Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance, the small Lexus IS with the big naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that comes in the RC F and every other F car before it. Upping the cool factor, we wrangled old 2008 Lexus IS F to see how the two compare. This was a combo I won’t forget, and we turned our time with the two into the first official Car Autance video.
- Car: 2008 Lexus IS F, 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance
- Location: Black Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA
- Photog: Chris Rosales (me; @chrishasacamera on IG)
- Camera: iPhone 11 Pro Max
What’s amazing about the original IS F is that the rumors say the car started as a behind-closed-doors after-hours pet project of Toyota engineers in Japan. They started by taking a normal XE20 chassis Lexus IS, which is nerd speak for second-generation, and fitted the direct-injection 4.6-liter 1UR-FSE V8 and world-first eight-speed automatic gearbox to it.
They then took that and tested it on various tracks, including Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway in Oyama, Japan. The history is a bit unclear, but it seems that Toyota approved the high-performance sedan, then development began under Yukihiko Yaguchi, who pitched the original idea. Fuji and the Nürburgring were the chosen development grounds for the V8 IS, and this is where the “F” comes from.
Eventually, they massaged the car into the brute it became. If the legend is true, without Yaguchi-san, we never would have had that amazing Yamaha-tuned 5.0-liter 2UR-GSE and the F performance brand might have gone a totally different direction.
Many journalists have long said that Japanese cars are digital, technological, and have no soul. Yet, the IS F is a magically sonorous thing. Even on the transcendent Lexus LFA, I heard the same “digital” garbage being spouted about that car. We think it’s nonsense, and we urge you to appreciate these cars while they’re still around.
As big as we could get it:
More great stories on Car Autance
- How Kevin Williams made $800 flipping a rust-free Mazda Tribute in Ohio.
- Everything that could fail, did: What I learned owning a BMW E46 ZHP.
- The Lexus RC F GT3 differs from its road-going counterpart in some fascinating ways.
- Chris Rosales played ‘Gas Station Simulator‘ for more than 10 hours. He explains whether or not it’s worth playing.
- The supposed deal between Hertz and Tesla made a big splash, but it doesn’t really make sense for the rideshare drivers.
- In the first full video from Car Autance, we inspect the technical differences between the Lexus IS F and the new Lexus IS 500.