Tag Link: lexus is-f f is


Stereotypes, they say, have their basis in fact. Well, at least in the automobile world, there's some truth to that. Take Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota , which has a reputation for building beautifully appointed, bulletproof products that seem predestined for the sort of aging, affluent buyers who don't really enjoy driving all that much.

So what to make of the new Lexus IS-F? Yep, it's well executed, from nose-to-tail, with near-flawless attention to detail and the absolutely precise fit-and-finish you'd expect from the Japanese marque. But boring and bland? Not on your life.

The original IS, launched in 2000, was intended to serve as a hip, sporty and affordable alternative to more mainstream models, like the Lexus LS. But in a segment where everyone benchmarks the BMW 3-Series, the IS fell short, even with the second-generation update, introduced two years ago.

Rather than trying to gain ground, and credibility, by slowly honing in on the base BMW 328, the new Lexus IS-F takes aim at the toughest challenge of them all, the German maker's vaunted M3. What Lexus has delivered is a growling, 416-horsepower muscle car that would likely shock the brand's traditional owners into apoplexy.

"The IS-F is likely to represent everything you didn't think we were -- thank goodness," declared Jim Farley, who until recently headed the Lexus division, (and who put in his last public appearance at the IS-F launch before unexpectedly taking the top marketing job at Ford Motor Co.).

In today's alphanumeric soup, every automaker seems to glom onto some letter to represent the high point of their engineering prowess: M for BMW, V Cadillac, R for Jaguar. Considering our less than stellar school days, the letter, F, still carries some painful overtones, but for Lexus, it seems, F stands for "fast," "furious," and "fun."

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Business Week:   2008 Lexus IS-F

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