The newest Lexus IS sport sedan punches an eight-cylinder peg through a six-cylinder hole with predictably polarizing results. Essentially an IS350 F Sport with a 472-hp naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8, the IS500 F Sport Performance is a throwback to when turbocharged engines didn’t yet dominate the premium sport sedan space. The powerful Lexus carves its own path in a niche shared with the Audi S4, BMW M340i, and Mercedes-AMG C43, but we’ll get right to it: The Lexus doesn’t shift the conversation in a significant way. This one’s for dedicated Lexus performance fans.
Opinions on the special Lexus generally fall to one of two viewpoints. Some feel the flagship IS is a seriously desirable sport sedan and plead for enthusiasts to buy one before eight-cylinder sport sedans go extinct. On the other side, doubters scoff at this turbo-free V-8 engine appearing in yet another application, here in a four-door that can’t deliver the well-rounded performance of the segment’s best.
“I wanted this to be more fun than it was,” deputy editor Alex Stoklosa said. “Whether because of the V-8’s nonexistent low-end torque, the car’s mass, the eight-speed automatic transmission’s refusal to grab lower gears on its own, or all three, it feels almost as if the engine strains when you ask it for the beans.” Executive editor Mac Morrison added: “This automatic gearbox made for a disjointed experience on the winding-road handling track. Don’t even think about leaving it in auto mode.”
For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.