To help get the most from the engine to the wheels, the Lexus IS-F is fitted with a transmission based on Lexus's, and the world's first, eight-speed automatic 'box.
To help get the most from the engine to the wheels, the Lexus IS-F is fitted with a transmission based on Lexus's, and the world's first, eight-speed automatic 'box. It is specially tuned for the IS-F with a Sports Direct Shift control (SPDS) comprising 'M' mode, which is the clutchless manual setting with paddle shifts on the steering wheel, or fully automatic. To be honest, I don't think I made it to gear No.8 in manual-mode as third or fourth are adequate and reward you with a goose-bump inducing noise from the exhausts. Note: there are three distinct exhaust tones, all of which are spine tingling.
The transition through the gears is seamless in fully automatic but a swift down-change in M, for overtaking, can result in being pinned to the back of the seat. Either way, the press-and-go performance seems to be limited only by the laws of the land and a healthy sense of self-preservation.
Not that you need it, because the Lexus IS-F is one of the most composed cars that you will ever drive. Fast bends leave you breathless for the right reasons, thanks in part to the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM). This has been tweaked to cope with the IS-F's performance and encompasses the ABS (with EBD), TRC traction Control, Electronically Controlled Brakes - Limited Slip Differential (ECB LSD) and VSC, Vehicle Stability Control systems.
It also manages the three gearshift modes of Sport, Normal and Snow, by adjusting the electric power steering and power delivery to suit the conditions. It can be switched off, if power slides are your thing but, under normal circumstances, it doesn't spoil the party too much. To prove that point, Lexus's own top test drivers lapped the Fuji circuit faster with the VDIM on than with it switched off.
Lexus IS Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Lexus IS-F|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||4.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||168 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||34 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 09/12/08)||£50,076|