The 2010 Lexus IS F is based on the regular IS entry-level luxury sport sedan, but is loaded with performance-oriented upgrades such as a fire-breathing V8 engine, stiffer suspension tuning, larger brakes and premium corner-gripping tires. The result is a vehicle with scorching power and sports-car handling that still features the relatively quiet and upscale cabin expected in a Lexus.
While there's lots to like about the Lexus IS F, it should be noted that some may find its very hard suspension calibrations could use some tweaking, as its performance-biased tuning can cause some bone-jarring driving experiences. That said, with its downright thrilling driving dynamics, the IS F is a great start for Lexus in the high-performance sport sedan segment.
And new for the 2010 model year, the IS-F gets still more standard features with the additions of a limited slip differential, Bluetooth audio, Lexus' new Safety Connect telematics, satellite radio and iPod integration.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Lexus IS-F is a very well-equipped high-performance luxury sport sedan offered in a single trim level. Its standard features include full power accessories, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats, leather upholstery, driver and front passenger seat memory functions, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front sport seats, adaptive xenon headlights, 19 inch alloy wheels, performance tires, Brembo brakes and a 13-speaker stereo system with a 6-disc CD changer, iPod integration, Bluetooth audio, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Available optional features include a hard-drive-based navigation system with a back-up camera, adaptive cruise control, park assist and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system (only available with the navigation system). Those who opt for the navigation system also get a one-year subscription to Lexus' Enform, which provides an on-call travel adviser who can provide such help as the nearest gas station or movie theater and can then send that information directly to the navigation system.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the rear-wheel drive 2010 IS-F is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that's good for a hefty 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a paddle-shift manual mode (a straight manual transmission is not available).
The IS F has proven to be among the truly elite in performance testing, rocketing from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Obviously not engineered for fuel efficiency, its EPA-estimated gas mileage is still far from dreadful, standing at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg on the highway.
Standard safety equipment on the 2010 Lexus IS-F includes traction control, stability control, antilock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, front seat knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The IS F also comes with a one-year free subscription to Safety Connect, which provides collision notification, an "SOS" emergency help button and stolen vehicle location. In addition, a pre-collision system that's coupled with adaptive radar cruise control is an available option and automatically adjusts seatbelt tension and braking force when an imminent collision is detected.
The IS F had not been crash tested at the time of this writing. However, its IS 350 cousin earned four out of five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts and rear side impacts. It received a perfect five stars for front side impact protection.
The 2010 IS F's interior is sleek and attractive with top-quality materials. Its controls and gauges are easy to see and user-friendly, while the sound insulation is excellent ... in fact, surprising so for such a vehicle. Seating is comfortable and supportive all around, however, the aerodynamic contours of its design may cause some headroom and rear-seat legroom issues for taller occupants.
What makes the IS F different from the other IS models is its sharp blue-hue ambient lighting, sport seats, aluminum trim accents and a two-passenger backseat instead of three.
The 2010 Lexus IS-F shines its brightest with its engaging and impressive road manners. In addition to its robust acceleration, the steering is precise and responsive while its grip is capable and confident when cornering.
It would be nice to have a traditional manual transmission option, but the 8-speed automatic is up to the task due to its super-fast upshift and rev-matched downshift abilities. The very stiff suspension is also outstanding for track performance and is bound to attract true driving enthusiasts.
That said, driving on public roads is a bit more challenging. Used for everyday driving, the IS-F's very hard suspension can take a toll on occupants. And with so many gears, the transmission seems to be constantly seeking the right ratio. Overall, however, drivers who value high levels of dynamic athleticism will likely be more than satisfied.
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2010 Lexus IS F:
Base, RWD: list price: $58,460, invoice price: $52,612