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2008 Lexus IS F Base 4dr Sedan

2008 Lexus IS F
Trim Info:
Rear Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Sub-Compact
16 mpg city / 23 mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

May 4, 2019 by Jon Alain Guzik

2008 Lexus IS F 1
2008 Lexus IS F

DriverSide Overview
If you’ve ever wondered what automotive engineers do in their free time, what they dream about when they aren’t designing thoroughly researched products to appeal to the masses and appease the bean counters, or what they would build if turned loose with all of the resources a company like Lexus has to offer, wonder no more. The legend behind the Japanese company’s new M3 stalker is that it was conceptualized and largely executed by just two engineers working in their free time after hours. If you believe such automotive lore, then the IS-F has been bred from the same automotive passion that forged companies like Ferrari and Lotus, free from the upper managerial chains that drag so many great possibilities into the mire of mediocrity. This car is a laugh in the face of responsibility, and Lexus is seizing on the chance to prove that it is more than luxury cruisers and hybrid SUVs.

What's to Like
The sports sedan comes with a cockpit that comfortably envelops both pilot and passengers. High bolsters, clear gauges and fine details dominate inside, while a near-flawless direct-shift 8-speed transmission delivers up shifts as fast as one-tenth of a second outside. The 5.0-liter V-8 produces thrills both from thrust and the sound of the exhaust. Massive rotors and calipers provide unbeatable stopping prowess. It looks pretty darn good too.
What's Not to Like
Though the interior manages to keep occupants planted while you dance around the track, ingress and egress can be a bit of a challenge for everyday driving thanks to an incredibly low-slung seating position up front. The big V-8 provides plenty of thrust, but it is a heavy drinker with fuel economy of 16-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, not bad, but not that great either.
The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions

From the moment you slide behind the wheel of the IS-F, you’re aware that there is something different about this car. Mash the throttle, and it quickly becomes clear what that difference is – abundant power. The V-8 delivers blinding speed, with enough power to push the hefty sedan to a 4.6-second 0-60 time. Straight lines are fast, but the IS-F dominates through the corners, staying firmly planted from apex to apex. The car forgives trespasses of drivers unfamiliar with 416 horsepower to the rear wheels thanks to the VDIM stability management system, which is capable of controlling any of the four brakes to help you maintain control. The effect is an uncomprehendingly simple to drive beast. In automatic mode, the transmission shifts briskly, though the 8-speed in manual mode delivers lightning-fast up shifts and devilishly quick rev-matched down shifts via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. We think the IS-F really shines on the highway, where traffic falls by the wayside and its smooth power delivery never falters.
Engine and Drivetrain
The 5.0-liter all-aluminum V-8 under the IS-F’s hood is a marvel. While the maximum 416 horsepower is available at 6,600 rpm, just 200 rpm below red line, the power is consistent throughout the rev range. The 371 lb-ft of torque presses occupants even deeper into the seats at around 5,200 rpm. The 8-speed direct shift transmission with manual mode is a tad bit of overkill but somewhat awe inspiring in its intricacy. As much as we loathe to admit it, the IS-F’s automatic can shift faster, match revs better and deliver power to the pavement with the kind of precision we could only wish for.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The IS-F is decked out with all kinds of innovative go-fast goodies. The VDIM stability control has three modes: Standard, Snow and Sport. In Standard mode, the traction control operates so smoothly that it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s engaging. An in cabin “beep-beep-beep" lets you know when you’re pushing your limits – not the car’s. Massive 14.2-inch drilled Brembo rotors and six-piston calipers bring all 3,780 lbs of high-speed sedan to a halt.
Key Technology Evaluation
Aside from the cutting-edge stability management system, the IS-F is available with a 14-speaker 7.1 surround sound system and a DVD navigation system with backup camera for $4,590. While the sound system is just about as sweet as it gets, something tells us that if you’re driving this car, you don’t mind getting a little lost along the way.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
While the big V-8 has a larger displacement and produces more power than the BMW M3, it manages to get slightly better gas mileage. The IS-F gets 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway thanks largely to the super-slick 8-speed transmission. Be prepared to see those figures drop if you plan to flog out all 416 horsepower.
A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details

Though the IS-F’s performance is an about face for the company known for its luxury rides, the interior delivers all of the refinement that Lexus prides itself on. Supple leather, a clean dash and high bolstered seats are par for the course inside.
Lexus’s new street fighter carries some family resemblance to the IS line with a smooth, rounded hood, but the car flexes its performance muscles through a few specific design elements. A brake vent up front dominates the side of the vehicle, and out back quad stacked exhaust pipes let the competition know exactly why they’re behind you.
Market Segment and Pricing
Competition is somewhat fierce in this neck of the woods, with the IS-F starting at an even $56,000. It’s clear the company had its sights set on one car in particular, the BMW M3 sedan at $53,800, though other German competitors include the Audi S5 at $51,800 and the Mercedes Benz C63 AMG at $53,800. The Audi S4 sedan could also be a potential match at $48,610, though the lower power numbers may be a slight disappointment. We’ll have to wait for the Cadillac CTS-V to compete in the segment later this year. 
What We Think
The IS-F clearly has the goal of trying knocking BMW’s beloved M3 off its performance podium. Have they done it? Well… the car is an absolute blast to drive, and while purists will bemoan the lack of a manual transmission and complain that the VDIM separates the driver from the track at too great a degree, we say such is the advancement of the automotive world. F is for future.

Other Resources

Shoot Out Teaser - Lexus IS-F vs. Audi RS4 – Get ready for the ultimate battle between Lexus' IS-F and Audi's RS4. Watch this teaser of the goodness that will be dropped on 4-24-08!! Download iPod / PSP Video Source:

Shoot Out - RS4 vs. IS-F "Bout of the Middleweights" – In this 3 round No-Holds-Bar Shoot Out, the new Lexus IS-F tries to steal the title belt from the current champion Audi RS4. With both cars boasting engines with over 400 horsepower, this will be a balls-out performance slug fest! For detailed techn Source:

Lexus IS-F Warm-up Lap @ Horse Thief Mile - Craig Stanton Driving – Here's one lap at horse thief mile in the Lexus IS-F. Behind the wheel, Craig Stanton. This wasn't quite full out as the Lexus ran a 1:03.4 average. We had to strip out all of the camera equipment to let these cars ride at their full speed! Source:

2008 Lexus IS F – BMW has M, Audi has S, and now Lexus has F -- a letter to designate their ultra-high-performance cars. The first example of the F-series is the 2008 Lexus IS F, and what an entrance it's making -- 416 horsepower V8 engine, 8-speed transmission, speci Source:

Updated: Top Ten Cars for Dads – Since I'm on this whole Top Picks kick, I thought I'd get a jump on Father's Day by updating my Top Ten Cars for Dads. Most of my Top Ten... Source:

Lexus IS-F gets tuned by Wald – Filed under: Aftermarket, Tuners, LexusClick above for gallery of the Wald IS-FThe extrovert of the entire Lexus lineup, the IS-F isn't light on visual or actual horsepower. Japan's Wald Tuning hasn't let that fact get in their way of releasing the S Source:

Lexus IS-F, Road and Track Test Drive – Lexus, as the premium car manufacturer of giant Toyota has always been chasing down the big dogs of the automotive market, especially those three coming from Germany that the whole world knows and respects. In ... Reader Comments Source:

Long Term Arrival: 2008 Lexus IS F – Surely make you lose your mind, no? Well, assuming that a year with Lexus's new bad-boy would give us the answer, we ordered one for our long-term fleet. Plus, as the first Lexus production car to wear the "F" badge-a designation that will adorn futu Source:

Motive Versus: BMW M3 Sedan vs. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG vs. Lexus IS-F – The face-off between ultra-capable small sports sedans from Mercedes-Benz and BMW is nothing new. But Japan has an honest-to-goodness answer to Germany's legends: the 416-horsepower Lexus IS-F. Does it have what it takes to topple the Teutons? Source:

Club Lexus – Welcome to the Club Lexus Forums. Source:

Long Term Update 1: 2008 Lexus IS F – The IS F is "class that's bad-ass""This thing is a chum bucket full of torque," says Truck Trend art director Thomas Voehringer. "It seems you could keep diggin' in for more and more. It's responsive without hesitation and fully governable without re Source:

SEMA 2008: Lexus Rolls Out The IS Goods – It’s no wonder that Lexus’s IS-F will be a hot ride at this year’s show. You already know we’re pretty excited about the Fox Marketing and Artisan twin-turbo version, and now it looks like there will be at least four other IS’s on the floo Source:

Lexus IS-F by Wald, the official pictures – Our good friends over at Wald sent us official pictures of their latest kit for the IS-F. If unfortunately there are still waiting for in-depth details of the cost of this kit, the pictures below are quite expl... Reader Comments Source:

Wald International Unvelis Lexus IS-F(ugly) – Wald International has released some images of their body kit for the Lexus IS-F, and while we’ve certainly seen worse, this kit definitely sports some, er, questionable styling choices. That extra low, extra huge front-end probably creates a Source:

Long Term Update 2 : 2008 Lexus IS F – "I don't get all the 'it's so stiff' comments about the suspension," says editor at large Arthur St. Antoine of the Lexus IS F."I don't get all the 'it's so stiff' comments about the suspension," says editor at large St. Antoine, who disagrees with J Source:

Wald Tunes Nissan GT-R and Lexus IS-F For Tokyo Auto Salon [Tokyo Auto Salon] – Styling specialists Wald are showing upgrades for both the Nissan GT-R and the Lexus IS-F at this years Tokyo Auto Salon, the ramen-flavored version of SEMA. Wald only really does exterior modifications, so don't expect go-faster parts on either of t Source:

Long Term Update 4: 2008 Lexus IS-F – "The bellow from the IS F's exhaust under full load is absolutely addictive""The bellow from the IS F's exhaust under full load is absolutely addictive, and the V-8's grunt is as burly as ever," notes associate Web editor Rory Jurnecka. Photo Gallery Source:

Verdict: 2008 Lexus IS F – Verdict: 2008 Lexus IS FStiff CompetitionSince its inception in 1989, Lexus has never directly gone after the high-performance divisions of Germany's automakers. As a result, over the past 20 years Audi RS, BMW M, and Mercedes-Benz AMG hot rods have Source:

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