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Lexus IS F high-performance sedan thrills and sends chills

- - Thursday, August 23, 2012

The IS F pioneered Lexus' high performance portfolio when it was developed. Much of the IS F development took place at racetracks around the world, including Germany's legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife, Circuit Paul Ricard in France, Japan's Fuji Speedway and the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan. Fuji Speedway is the IS F's home circuit, and the shape of its turn one inspired the F logo design.

The IS F was the first Lexus to wear the brand's "F" marque when it was introduced for the 2008 model year. This high performance sport sedan now shares the "F" badge with the LFA supercar. The fun-to-drive IS F brings an exhilarating experience to the line-up with its high performance 5.0-liter V8 and deep, throaty exhaust note.

The forged crankshaft features journals polished to a mirror finish to minimize the friction generated between the connecting rods and the crankshaft. Forged sintered iron alloy connecting rods ensure high-rpm durability. High-flow cylinder heads designed by Yamaha have a lightweight valvetrain, including forged cam lobes on hollow, chain-driven camshafts, with the inside of the shafts serving as oil passages. Titanium valves are operated by roller rocker arms.

A dual air-intake system uses a primary intake passage for low and medium engine speeds. In the higher engine speed range (above 3,600 rpm), both the primary and secondary passages are opened, helping boost high-rpm power.

Lexus made a leap in valve-control technology with the Variable Valve Timing with intelligence by an electric motor (VVT-iE). An electric drive motor alters the intake camshaft phasing, which made it possible to expand VVT operational range to lower engine speeds, where engine oil pressure is usually not high enough to operate conventional VVT. The exhaust camshaft uses hydraulically controlled variable valve timing.

A scavenge pump forces oil from the cylinder heads back to the oil pan, ensuring a reliable oil supply even during cornering that exceeds one g. The low-restriction dual-exhaust system terminates in distinctive stacked quad diffusers.

The Lexus IS F is based on the robust IS platform, which was engineered from the start to allow a high dynamic envelope. Although using the basic double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension configurations of the IS platform, the IS F features a multitude of track-proven modifications.

A specially calibrated version of Lexus' innovative Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system helps provide superior handling dynamics and traction control. Combining input from a variety of sensors, VDIM is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and help correct the situation with a combination of braking, steering and throttle control. VDIM integration provides precise management for Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), traction control (TRAC), the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque (via the electronically controlled throttle).

During cornering, VDIM suppresses any tendency for the inside wheel to spin, transmitting more power to the outside wheel to help maintain traction and momentum. When braking on a mixed-friction surface, VDIM will direct steering assist in the direction that will help provide greater control.

The available Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce collision damage. The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. PCS relies on the radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car. The PCS computer, taking sensor inputs from vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate, is designed to determine whether a collision is unavoidable. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.

Based on the IS luxury sport sedan, the IS F is clearly differentiated when viewed from the front, rear and in profile. The hood's raised center section makes room for the V8 powerplant, and the front fenders were widened to envelop the 19-inch low-profile tires. Total grille area is increased to ensure adequate cooling for the 5.0-liter V8, and both upper and lower grilles feature a special wire-mesh pattern. The lower grille is flanked by large brake cooling ducts adjacent to standard fog lamps. The front fenders wear a discrete silver, black and blue "F" marque.

The car's wedge-like profile is accentuated by functional front fender air outlets with lower edges that transition into larger rocker panels and continue as a character line into the rear bumper. Four vertically stacked exhaust diffusers, two per side, are integrated into the rear bumper.

Navigation equipped vehicles feature Lexus Enform with App Suite. The App Suite leverages the customers' mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing, utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through OpenTable, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com, tap into internet radio, including Pandora or iHeartRadio, search business reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook places. A one-year trial subscription is included for the App Suite.