- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2008

Lexus brings a new high-performance, rear-drive sedan to the U.S. market this spring; it’s the first to carry the Lexus ‘F’ badge. The 2008 Lexus IS-F is fashioned after the IS sports sedan, with a new logo designed to resemble the first turn of the Fuji Racetrack. The new F comes with like attributes to the IS, while touting a few extras to make it stand out.

The Lexus IS-F shows off its sports appeal with a sleek, aggressive body, flared front fenders, a larger grille and matching lower fascia. The smooth hood design features a defined bulge, bringing attention to the hefty engine that rests inside, and finishes with a snub nose that aligns its angles with the mesh-style grille below. Fog lamps grace the fascia, with added venting that continuously feeds cool air to the brakes, when the vehicle is moving.

The IS-F’s front fender flare is also designed with integrated air vents to circulate constant air out-flow from the engine compartment; they smooth aesthetically into rocker panels, ending at the rear fenders. Horizontal tail lamps integrate into the trunk, with marker lights fashioned into the bumper.

Inside, a luxury interior sports a clean look, with bucket seats in both the front and back that cradle driver and passengers with thick bolstering. The 10-point power front seats and roomy rear seats are offered in two colors, black and alpine white, with contrast-highlighted stitching. The interior trim and door panels are accented in hand-finished aluminized composite; natural lighting comes a power moon roof.

The IS-F comes equipped with an exclusive aluminum block 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 416 horsepower and 371 pounds-feet peak torque. This engine is supported by a dual air intake system, and oil and transmission coolers. Sprinting from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, the engine is matched with the world’s first 8-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission, with a console shifter as well as steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. A dash-mounted switch allows drivers to toggle between Sport, Normal or Snow modes.

The IS-F’s suspension was engineered and developed on the racetrack, and is constructed of high-strength steel to give a heavier, more rigid foundation. Its front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension are the same as the IS, although the IS-F sits lower by one inch; its lower center of gravity improves handling. It also has a wider front track, a more narrow rear, and measures 3.3 inches longer.

Larger stabilizer bars and an exclusive rear control arm suspension set-up accommodate 19-inch alloy wheels. Both front and back are fashioned with Brembo drilled and ventilated rotor brakes. The new model is shod with a choice of Bridgestone Pontenzas, or Michelin PS2 rubber; each low-profile tire is designed to handle the top speed of the IS F, and are sized 225/40R19 in the front and 255/35R19 in the rear.

The IS-F comes equipped with front and seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags extending from the A to C-pillars, knee bags for driver and front passenger, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Optional are a Pre-Collision Package, with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, that helps keep distance between the IS-F and another vehicle in front, and Intuitive Park Assist, which helps to detect objects near the front and rear bumpers, and display distances on the multi-information display system.

The new Lexus is available in six colors; Starfire Pearl, Mercury Metallic, Smoky granite Mica, Obsidian, Matador Red Mica, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica, a color exclusive to the IS-F. Equipment includes a SmartAccess keyless entry system, with push button start; a pollen filter and smog detector; and a 13-speaker audio system with CD changer, with an optional 14-speaker Mark Levinson upgrade system exclusively tuned for the IS-F.

The IS-F can also be equipped with the Lexus voice-activated DVD Navigation System that comes with a 7-inch LCD touch screen, Bluetooth hands free technology and a rear-back up camera.

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