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08-23-2011, 06:55 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
Test Drive | Lexus IS-F - The Most Furious Lexus Yet!
Before we get to know it more, let me say this: Iíve become a true fan of IS-F and I suspect the affair has gone so deep that I literally wish to own one. Over to my fantasy world, you press the button and you get it. In reality, ISF is expensive and why not? A figure of a 5.0 liter V8 engine draining out a stupendous 417 horsepower at 6,600rpm and 505Nm of torque at 5,200rpm, allowing 0 -100kph sprints in 4.8 seconds deserves that value.
More onto the F thing. The development of the IS-F has a story linked to it, developed on a renowned circuit - Mount Fuji, the 4.56km Fuji Speedway is regarded as one of the world's most stunning and challenging race circuits. Ever since its debut in 1963 as a NASCAR style circuit till the recent return to the Formula One in 2007, the place has witnessed many events as part of the evolution. Lexus used the circuit as a testing bed for the new model-in-making and hence the F borrowed from Fuji. F got further derivation attributes from the shape of the speedway. Everything from the IS-F's handling to braking and overall performance was honed at the testing circuit. Today, Lexus has got a training facility in Fuji and itís even referred to as the home of Lexus. So I am sure by now, we all notice the importance of IS-F and how Lexus regards this model.nbsp;
Letís see how the car looks from outside. I think we can just refer it to the existing IS300. It follows the general L-finesse design language of Lexus. The bonnet is taller and larger just to make sure the V8 engine stays comfortably inside. A low stance and deep front spoiler with larger grille and intakes obviously reflects the ferociousnbsp;attitude. To balance the overall design, the rear overhang is also slightly greater than on the regular IS models. At the rear, the stacked quad tailpipes (two sets of twin stacked tailpipes) in a deep rear bumper signal the presence of the V8 engine and a spoiler is neatly integrated into the lip of the boot. The spoilers are exceptionally neat and aggressive. The five spoke 19' alloys with a smoked metal finish is a great highlight to perceive and to contain the wheels, the front arches are a bit wider this time. Surely the car looks gorgeous and is unmistakably the best looking Lexus in the city - I got the acknowledgement from a few local wandering eyes staring at this beauty and yes, did I mention that it was 'A Black Beauty'?
We can spot many F logos inside. F sport tachometer, another F on the side of the seat cushions, steering with the F logo in a blue section at the base, etc. was few among them. It has a typical Lexus interior of converged luxury, comfort and a feel of 'all perfect'. The seats are upholstered in a combination of perforated semi-aniline leather for the centre part of the cushion, seatback and shoulder area, with smooth leather for the headrests andnbsp;side sections. The rear has a two-seat configuration with a central armrest. Further,nbsp;we found silver carbon fiber effect finish around the gear shift, aluminum pedals and a three-spoke steering wheel finished in perforated leather to add more impression to its sporty trait.nbsp;
Talking about comfort, the vehicle has a dual-zone climate control system, featuring a new electronically controlled variable compressor which results in better temperature distribution throughout the cabin. To entertain we have got the Mark Levinson system which has undergone over 1000 hours of specialty tuning and features an in-dash DVD/CD player and MP3/WMA compatibility with a built-in seven-inch widescreen touch panel LCD screen and 14 speakers. Truly power packed.
A Deep Push in Manual Mode, the Car Picks Up Terribly Quick!
Itís true that Lexus holds a status of a humble rich car, but IS-F broke that clichť. Right from the start I felt like I was in a race car, itís a V8 managed by an 8 speed transmission that gives seamless, linear acceleration and good fuel efficiency. Eighth gear is set high to promote fuel efficiency at higher speeds. The intermediate gears are all close ratio, giving smooth and powerful acceleration and optimum power and torque across the complete performance range. A new torque converter was designed to handle the greater torque produced by the 5.0 liter engine and ensures the ISF moves smoothly and powerfully away from the rest. In M mode, the torque converter only operates on first gear.
On the safety side, we have VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management), Vehicle Swerve Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), ABS anti-skid brakes and Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) thereby minimizing vehicle instability. The four-channel, four-sensor ABS is teamed with the Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Lexus Brake Assist (BA). There is also an eight airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) that includes knee, side and curtain shield airbags.
In the automatic D mode, the automatic gear selection has sporty but comfortable characteristics; in the manual mode each gear can be held right up to the 6,800rpm red line. While in manual mode when we play around the paddles behind the steering, the direct feel and quick response for every shift (up or down) was just so unbelievable. I was left so high on my nerves with the way engine responded in just no time. Certainly at times, it was terribly quick or can I say 'disturbingly quick', but I liked it. Now with such a power packed engine, you expect some real safety measures.
The compact Torsen LSD is capable of handling the 500Nm-plus of torque produced by the ISFís V8 engine, and automatically diverts drive torque to the rear wheel with the most grips. Brakes with much priority to have the best of stopping power had 360mm ventilated and drilled six-piston front discs and 345mm two-piston rear discs jointly developed with 'Brembo'. Michelin tires have been used, which of note is that they have a rally history. In the ISF, a little re-engineering was done on its IS platform to derive a lighter suspension system, fully optimized to suit the carís dynamic performance. Apart from the lovely growl pumped out through those quad mufflers in theear, the car was just so smooth in normal roads. 'You dare tease him and he shall get you down,' could be the driverís stance.
This was one of my best times with the car and I have only good things to say about the ISF. But if you try to test the car off of the highways, the parameters just might not meet the equation. But the point is, these cars follow the footsteps of racers and you donít race on mud. The better price placement of ISF in the league of BMW M3, M5 and Benz C63 sets a good sign to relish in our market.