The Lexus IS 2021 debuted with a flurry of design and handling improvements, making it the finest IS ever. At Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, the new model was developed using the Lexus Driving Signature philosophy also and put through extensive testing and assessment.
According to many observers, the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive compact sports car found the ideal mix of sportiness and elegance. However, there is a subgroup of Lexus guests who represent the brand’s most ardent drivers, and their message was loud and clear: more power.
Table of Contents
Lexus brand of performance in power and transmission
With a tremendous 472-horsepower naturally aspirated V8 engine and a vicious quad exhaust system, the first Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Performance really raises the bar on the sports sedan’s models. It adds to the IS family and ushers in a new age of F SPORT Performance vehicles, which will appeal to ardent drivers looking for more performance than the basic F SPORT Design and Handling versions.
The IS 500 engine, as the first model in the new Lexus F SPORT Performance range, has more displacement and performance than the IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6. The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine roars to life at a press of the engine start button, giving a really “in-your-face” reminder that something exceptional lurks under its raised hood.
At 7,100 rpm, the IS 500 produces 472 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of max torque at 4,800 rpm. Despite the much more powerful engine, the car weighs in at 3,891 pounds, which is just 143 pounds more than the regular IS 350 F SPORT. According to AMCI testing, the IS 500 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has an EPA highway rating of 25 mpg.
A throaty quad exhaust system with twin stacked tailpipes that flawlessly accentuate the new V8 engine is among the other IS 500 performance improvements. This exhaust not only sounds mean but it’s also based on F models like the RC F.
The eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic gearbox with lockup torque converter seen in the RC F is used in the IS 500, as well. It also has the IS 350 F SPORT’s driving mode selections Sport S and Sport S+, which offer enhanced engine and gearbox mapping for improved performance.
Sport S+ also changes the amount of EPS steering help and damping force to match the revised powertrain parameters, resulting in sportier handling. Custom Mode is also available, with various engine (Normal/Eco/Power), chassis (Normal/Sport), and air conditioner (Normal/Eco) combinations to choose from.
Lexus quality design and trim
Starting with the 2022 IS 500, Lexus F SPORT Performance vehicles will be distinguished from F SPORT models by distinctive black badging on the sides.
The IS 500 is distinguished from the basic IS 350 F SPORT by slight cosmetic improvements. To accommodate the vehicle’s naturally aspirated V8 muscle, the hood has been lifted almost 2 inches and features sculpted center character lines, while the front bumper and fenders have been extended. Exclusive 19-inch split-10-spoke Enkei alloy wheels will be standard on the IS 500.
In comparison to the regular 19-inch F SPORT wheel, the wheels are about 1 pound lighter in the front and 2 pounds lighter in the rear. A redesigned lower rear diffuser accent that emphasizes the quad exhaust system, as well as dark chrome window trim, are among the other external changes. The black IS F SPORT rear lip spoiler ties these aesthetic and performance elements together.
On the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and on the door sill scuff plates, drivers will find black F SPORT Performance badging. The IS F SPORT accelerator pedal, brake pedal, and footrest are standard, as well, however, the combined instrumentation meter gets an updated launch animation that is only available on the IS 500.
Safety and driver assistance systems galore
The revised Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, which debuted on the 2021 IS, is carried over to the IS 500. A number of important elements of the Lexus Safety System+ have been improved, as well as the inclusion of a few new ones.
For starters, the Pre-Collision System (PCS), which includes Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection, and Bicyclist Detection, has been enhanced to increase the reaction range of the lens camera and millimeter-wave radar components.
The system can now identify not just the car ahead, but also a preceding bicycle and even a preceding pedestrian in daylight and low-light situations, thanks to improved radar and camera capabilities. At junctions, the system is intended to detect an approaching vehicle while making a left-hand turn, or a pedestrian when making both left and right-hand turns, under specific circumstances, and to activate standard PCS capabilities if necessary.
Emergency Steering Assist (ESA), which is intended to assist steering inside the vehicle’s lane when cued by the driver, is another PCS feature.
All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) is intended to conduct vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls down to 0 mph and can continue from a stop when engaged above 30 mph. A new function in DRCC allows for the seamless passing of slower cars.
When traveling behind a vehicle that is moving slower than the preset speed, the system will give an initial acceleration boost to prepare for lane changes; and after the driver changes lanes, the car will continue to accelerate until it achieves the original preset driving speed.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA) is a system that uses steering wheel vibrations or an audio signal to alert the driver if it detects an accidental lane departure at speeds greater than 32 miles per hour. It may also make minor adjustments to assist the driver stay in the clearly defined lane. Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) is intended to give a small steering force to aid the driver to navigate to the center of the lane using visible lane markings or a preceding vehicle when DRCC is configured and activated.
LTA provides a visible warning as well as an audio alert or steering wheel vibration to the driver. The performance of lane recognition, which enables LTA, has been increased in the new IS, with better identification of line and road border, lateral G performance, and improved control and stability following lane shift.
Intelligent High Beams, which detects preceding or approaching cars and automatically changes between high and low beam headlights, is another Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 feature. When data is available, Road Sign Assist (RSA) acquires specific road sign information using a camera and navigation maps and presents it on the multi-information display (MID).
The Launch Edition features exclusive, one-off, elements
The 2022 IS 500 Launch Edition interior expands on Takumi workmanship with enhanced inside materials, including sporty two-tone Black/Gray Ultrasuede – trimmed front and rear seats, door accents, and center console, which set it apart from the regular IS 500. In addition, the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel will be finished in Silver Ash wood with black F SPORT Performance badging, and the interior will include a serialized Launch Edition plaque to emphasize the vehicle’s rarity.
Furthermore, the Launch Edition starting animation has been added to the F SPORT combo instrumentation meter, further distinguishing it from the regular IS 500.
The IS 500 Launch Edition’s standard 19-inch split-seven-spoke forged alloy Matte Black BBS wheels from the IS F SPORT Dynamic Handling Package are guaranteed to turn attention on the outside. Not only do the BBS wheels look great, but they’re also around 4 pounds lighter per wheel than the regular 19-inch IS F SPORT wheel. The car will only be available in Incognito, a brand-new color for the Lexus range.
The MSRP for the 2022 IS 500 will start at $56,500, making it very competitive in the mid-performance category. The IS 500 Premium has a starting price of $61,000 and includes convenience features such as a Mark Levinson 17-speaker Premium Surround Sound Audio System, navigation system, panoramic view monitor, triple beam LED headlights and motorized rear sunshade.
The IS 500 Launch Edition will be restricted to just 500 vehicles in North America, with a price tag of $67,400. The new IS 500 for 2022 is set to hit showrooms later this autumn.