In a world where compact luxury performance sedans are powered by mild hybrid or turbocharged drivelines, the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport is a glorious, rowdy throwback, a four-wheeled middle finger to a world that has vilified the internal combustion engine. This is a raucous, rambunctious automotive insurrectionist that refuses to be seen and not heard. Don’t tread on me? You bet.
Overview: The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance First Drive
The IS 500 F Sport Performance is the top dog in Lexus’s entry-level compact luxury sedan line-up, aimed at younger — or at least young-at-heart — buyers. Its smaller size and taut suspension provide an uncompromising performance-oriented driving experience that sets it apart from more traditional Lexus offerings.
The latest IS wears styling that’s a bit more refined than the IS models that have preceded it. Yet it retains much of the compact, taut stance that characterized previous models. But the crazy creases are a bit more muted and mature. It’s helped by standard 19-inch split-seven-spoke forged alloy matte black BBS wheels that are typically part of the IS 500’s standard IS F Sport Dynamic Handling Package, which is optional on lesser IS models. Each wheel is four pounds lighter than the standard 19-inch rim.
The interior mirrors that of IS models, with the exception of the usual upgrades in trim bits. The rest of the cabin will feel familiar, with adequate head and leg room up front, and little — if any — legroom in the rear. But the cabin is laden with an ample assortment of luxury gear to reassure you that you’re in a Lexus, along with the look, feel and quality you’d expect in this league.
A 472-horsepower naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 engine and 8-speed automatic are this vehicle’s call to arms. The automatic can be shifted manually though steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Rear-wheel drive is standard. This contrasts with the milder IS 300 with a 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, or as the IS 350, with a 311-horsepower V-6.
Safety and Technology
As you might expect of a car with such high-performance parameters, the IS 500 is equipped with Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, which includes pre-collision system with frontal-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection and bicyclist detection, and emergency steering assist. Other driver assistance features include dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, lane-tracking assist, automatic high beams and road sign assist.
The IS 500 is rated five stars in crash safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2022 IS 500. However, the 2021 IS was rated a Top Safety Pick+, the organization’s top award.
A 10.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen is standard and comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration are standard. But its user interface is the old outdated system that’s being replaced, beginning with the new Lexus NX. A Wi-Fi hotspot is standard, as is an impressive sounding 1,800-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio system.
2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Specifications
|Dimension||L: 185.4 inches/W: 72.4 inches/H: 56.5 inches/Wheelbase: 110.2 inches|
|Powertrain||5.0-liter quad-cam V-8, 8-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 mpg combined (Lexus estimated)|
|Performance Specs||472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $68,475; including $1,075 destination and delivery charge|
|On-Sale Date||Fall 2021|
The eight pots under the hood love to rev, producing a sinister symphony that leaves little doubt as to intent. This is a true roadway warrior, one that thrusts its way through small spots in traffic, possessing the agility of a true automotive athlete, remaining flat in corners and more than willing to hang its tail out should you choose to do so.
Reaching 60 mph from a standstill requires a mere 4.4 seconds. Just be sure the IS 500’s driving mode is set to Sport S or Sport S+ mode for maximum thrills. But this wild child is so extreme, even in Eco mode it’s one fun party animal.
Part of the credit goes to the Dynamic Handling Package, which includes an adaptive variable suspension and a Torsen limited slip differential. Engineers also fitted a Yamaha rear performance damper, which the company claims increases comfort at low speeds, while increasing stability and agility as speed climbs. Given our experience, we believe them.
But while it’s easy to drive with precision, the comfort dialed into the suspension does produce some body dive and roll, more than you might expect. In this regard, it feels similar to the IS 350 F Sport.
The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is a healthy step towards returning some of the former IS-F’s performance credibility to the Lexus IS line-up. Given the industry is moving towards an electrified future, this revival might be short lived. So, if you desire one, we’d advise getting one sooner rather than later.
2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the Lexus IS 500 F-Sport cost?
When it arrives at dealers this fall, the IS 500 F-Sport starts at $56,500; the IS 500 F-Sport Premium, $61,000; the IS 500 F-Sport Launch Edition, limited to 500 copies, $67,400. Prices do not include a delivery, handling and processing fee of $1,075.
The IS 500 Launch Edition’s horsepower?
472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 395 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.
What Lexus has a V8?
Aside from the 2022 Lexus IS 500, the 2022 Lexus RC-F and LC 500 coupes, and GX and LX SUVs are equipped with V8 engines.