Lexus’ IS compact sedan has been a perennial favorite among enthusiasts who want a sport sedan to rival the BMW 3-series, but with expected reliability and ease of ownership that comes with the Lexus brand. Lexus “redesigned” the IS for 2021 – really, it’s a heavy refresh of a platform dating back to 2014 – and I spent time with a 2021 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport in December. Though I came away largely impressed, comments on my YouTube video brought one recurring theme to light… the Lexus IS needs more power.
Personally, I enjoyed the power from Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6. In Lexus IS guise, it produces 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which allows the ~3,750 lb sedan to hustle well enough – and sound quite good doing it. I also admired the fact that, while my test car included all-wheel drive, Lexus has stuck to a rear-drive platform and equips those cars with an optional Torsen limited-slip differential.
That Torsen limited-slip is about to be put to the test, as Lexus has announced a V8-powered IS 500 F-Sport for the 2022 model year. Appearing as rear-wheel drive only, the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F-Sport will send 472 horsepower (161 more than IS 350) and 395 lb-ft of torque (115 more than IS 350) to the wheels through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic. Lexus’ Dynamic Handling Package will come standard on the IS 500, so you’ll get that Torsen differential out back, paired to adaptive shock absorbers front and rear.
I liked the sounds produced by the IS 350, and suspect the IS 500 will be even more aurally pleasing. Lexus is using a quad exhaust with stacked pipes peeking out from the rear bumper. It’ll be worth running the V8 to its redline, as the power peak of 472 horses will be produced at 7,100 rpm.
Stopping the IS 500 F-Sport are 14″ two-piece front rotors and 12.7″ rear rotors. Lexus has added additional brake cooling to help out when you’re really hammering on the pedal, be it on back roads or at a track day.
All of this power, torque, noise, and stopping power add 143 pounds to the IS 350 F-Sport (in RWD form), with Lexus claiming a 3,891 pound curb weight.
Pricing is not yet available, and Lexus says the 2022 IS 500 F-Sport will go on sale this fall. We’re eager to get behind the wheel to hear that V8 snarl!