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click the image above view our high-resolution gallery of the Lexus IS-F

The boys over at Lexus were dialing F for Fast as they took the wraps off their new performance division with the presentation of two high-performance show cars. The LF-A supercar was a revised and updated version of the one they showed here two years ago – more on that later – but center stage belonged to the highly anticipated IS-F super-sedan.

Just a few hours before the press conference, a few factory images were leaked (which followed an internet ad that went online a tad early), and we're happy to report that the car is as impressive and aggressive in the flesh as it is in the photos – despite the poor lighting on stage that would make even the cast of Sesame Street look shady. The gaping air intakes up front, the side skirts cutting out from the side vents behind the front wheels and the rear bumper with trick quad tailpipes would look at home on the DTM circuit. Inside are special sports buckets in either black or contrasti-licious white and black leather, plus silver fiber-weave trim, drilled aluminum pedals and shift indicator lights on the dash that let you know this is a place of business as much as other Lexus models are luxury enclaves.

Follow the jump for more of our thoughts on the LF-A, the official press release, and our own high-resolution gallery here.

For our comprehensive listing of everything from Detroit, click here.

The striking styling only gives you a clue as to the beast that lies beneath the hood: a 5-liter V8 pumping out over 400 horsepower and upwards of 350 lb-ft of torque. The engine also features a two-stage intake system, engine oil and transmission fluid coolers and an oil pump designed for high-speed cornering. All that juice is channeled through an eight-speed (yes, we said eight-speed) automatic transmission with paddle shifters to the rear wheels. With that kind of power, Brembo was brought on to serve up the stop with perforated discs measuring 14.2 inchs up front and 13.6 in the back, encased in specially-designed 19-inch BBS alloy wheels on some very, very low-profile tires. Those are hooked up to a dropped and tuned suspension controlled by Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system with three modes (normal, sport or off).

For the past twenty years Lexus has been chasing after BMW, Audi and Mercedes – and have by many accounts long since passed them. But with the launch of their first F model, Lexus finally has a high-performance sports sedan to compete with the M, S and AMG offerings from their German counterparts. We can't wait to see how it stacks up when it hits showrooms next year.


Lexus Unveils Two High-Performance Vehicles at the 2007 North American International Auto Show
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January 8, 2007 - Detroit - Lexus unveiled the IS-F high-performance luxury sedan and the LF-A sports-car concept at a press conference today at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

The all-new 2008 IS-F high-performance luxury sedan will deliver more than 400 horsepower from a 5.0-liter V8 engine when it goes into production. The LF-A supercar concept is equipped with a V10 engine that produces more than 500 horsepower. Together, the two exciting new cars make a dramatic statement of Lexus performance.

The IS-F and LF-A are very different vehicles, yet they share the same DNA, design philosophy, and heritage. Prominent in both vehicles, the "F" designation was first conceived nearly 20 years ago with a project internally coded "Circle-F," with the "F" standing for "flagship." This was the original code for what became the Lexus Division. The Circle-F designation further evolved into the code name Flagship One, or F1, and the first F1 concept developed into Lexus' first vehicle, the LS. Since then, the "F" code has come to signify a special vehicle program within Lexus that falls outside the normal engineering and development process.

"Lexus has long been perceived as the maker of mainstream luxury vehicles, but the unveiling of the IS-F and LF-A not only changes this perception, it also introduces a new Lexus marque," said Bob Carter, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "The 'F' shared by both vehicles is the signature for a new high-performance marque conceived by an engineering team that dared to turn their dream of 'a Lexus like no other' into a reality."

IS-F Performance Sedan
Much of the development of the new IS-F took place at Fuji Speedway and the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan. The IS-F is based on the proven rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS, which is equipped with a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. As well as the IS performs, Lexus engineers demanded much more of the all-new IS-F. The result is a performance tuned 5.0-liter V8 engine, topped with specially engineered heads fed by a two-stage intake system, that produces 400-plus horsepower and more than 350 ft.-lbs. of torque. The all-new IS-F is equipped with engine-oil and transmission-fluid coolers for high-speed performance and a cylinder head-scavenging oil pump for high g-force driving.

The IS-F engine is mated to the world's first eight-speed direct sport-shift transmission. A new torque-converter lock-up control was developed that allows for a direct, crisp gear change through the constant lock-up of the torque converter in second through eighth gears. In Drive mode, the IS-F transmission performs with great smoothness, and the torque converter allows for great launch ability for fast standing-start acceleration that will register a zero-to-60 time in less than 4.9 seconds.

This unique transmission also features an advanced Manual mode. A pair of paddles located within a fingertip's reach behind the steering wheel enables the driver to make ultra-fast up-shift gear changes within a tenth of a second. Downshifts are accompanied by automated and incredibly precise throttle blips to match engine RPM to vehicle speed.

The impressive acceleration achieved by the IS-F requires it be equipped with heavy-duty Brembo brakes designed to the specifications of the Lexus engineering team. Huge, 14.2-inch cross-drilled front discs are gripped by rigid, powerful six-piston aluminum calipers, while 13.6-inch rear cross-drilled discs feature two-piston calipers. High-friction brake pads are equipped on all four wheels. The brakes are finished with the Lexus name displayed on the calipers, a first for a Lexus production vehicle.

The IS-F features custom-designed 19-inch forged alloy wheels as standard. The wheels were built to Lexus specifications by BBS and are surrounded by high-performance sport tires.

The attention to performance also extends to a modified suspension that lowers the entire car by more than a half-inch when compared to the base IS, and one full inch when compared to IS models equipped with 18-inch wheels. This specially modified suspension allows for an exciting and energetic drive, whether on a race track or the streets.

The IS-F features an all-new three-mode version of Lexus' Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. In addition to the Normal mode, the new VDIM features a Sport mode that allows the driver to push the car even further before its braking-, throttle- and steering-control systems kick in. The third VDIM system mode is Off, which allows the driver to push the IS-F to its ultimate level of handling performance.

The attention to performance is complemented by modified styling cues that differentiate the IS-F from the standard IS. Lexus engineers provided the IS-F with a dual-exhaust system and quad-tail pipes, wider front fenders, and a larger grille and rear spoiler. Both the hood and lower intake were enlarged to accommodate and cool the V8 engine.

Like the exterior, the interior of the IS-F receives unique styling with aluminized composite trim and special surface treatments. The instrument panel includes an oil-temperature gauge and shift indicator-lights, while the "F" logo is showcased on the steering wheel and rear-center console.

In addition to the usual Lexus standards of comfort and convenience, the interior of the IS-F features specially shaped and trimmed seats, which hold the driver comfortably and securely in place. The special sport seats are available in black or a unique high-contrast white and black trim.

"The intent of creating the IS-F was not to be a competitor to other performance-sport sedans," said Carter. "Rather, the goal was to create a true performance sedan in a uniquely Lexus way-one that is totally authentic with a unique interpretation of raw driving thrill at all speeds and provides a whole new definition of 'usable power.'"

The IS-F will arrive at Lexus dealerships in early 2008.

Lexus IS-F Preliminary Specifications

Engine: 5.0 Liter V8
Estimated Horsepower: More than 400
Estimated Torque: More than 350 lb.-ft.
Transmission: Eight-speed direct paddle sport shift gear box

Large diameter cross-drilled discs
Front/Rear: 14.2 inches/13.6 inches

Opposed aluminum calipers
Front/Rear: Six piston/two piston

Forged aluminum wheels
Front: 225/40R19 (19 x8)
Rear: 255/35R19 (19 x 9)

0-60 MPH Acceleration: Under 4.9 seconds
Fuel Economy: TBD
Emissions Rating: ULEV II

Dimensions (inches)
Overall Length: 183.5
Overall Width: 71.5
Overall Height: 55.5
Wheelbase: 107.5

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let's see:
      1.) Dredging up the Toyota oil sludge problem for no reason...check.
      2.) Whining about no manual transmission...check and double check.
      3.) Obligatory "rice burner" comment...check.

      All I need is the "Toyota's got more recalls!" comment and someone using the term "Jap Crap" and I'll have a winning Autoblog Comment Bulls**t Bingo card.
      • 8 Years Ago

      If the transmission shifts as fast as Toyota says (0.1 sec) then it is better than SMG. It shifts as fast as SMG, shifts don't break your spine, and has a proper auto mode. What else do you need?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ignore #44 toyota faithfull, everyone put there finger in there ears and chant: toyota is infallable. We will drown teni out with our blind faith in toyota....
      • 8 Years Ago
      I must say, Toyota has come out guns blazing and, in my opinion, has taken aim at every major auto manufacturer and said, "yes, we build high quality automobiles unsurpassed in long-term operating cost and durability (have you replaced the xenons on your bimmer lately?) but from here forward, when you shop Toyota, you will get the inherent quality + style + RELIABLE powertrains on the cutting edge of technology"... say what you all want, Toyota has invested massively in their powertains and with the acquistion of Isuzu for deisel development, the domestic manufactures HAVE TO bring their A-game in the next 5 years if they want have a hope in hell of wooing back those that have gotten behind the wheels of a current generation Toyota/Honda product and realized:
      a. These cars are solid
      b. These cars are extremely reliable
      c. These cars don't cost me nearly as much in depreciation
      d. These cars have style
      "the value proposition is so far in favour of the Japanese that it blows ones mind that GM/Ford/Chrysler are able to move the volume they currently do"...

      And for those of you who feel I am biased towards 'japanese imports'... just look to the Tundra business plan and you'll see it's just as american as any of the big 3's offering... cheers
      PS - I drive a 2001 Acura CL-S with 100,000mi's of daily redline shifts and not a penny spent on unscheduled maintenace... There's no point in technology if it isn't durable, the Japanese have won my vote because of this one fact, they're durable...

      • 8 Years Ago
      I hope that is pre-production. The hi res pictures show some defects. Sloppy paint on the paddle shifter.
      The orientation of the start button lettering is offset by 20 degrees. Pictures of the dash with errors (tire pressure), loose thread on the "F" stiching on the side seat bolster, etc...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lexus IS = Toyota Corolla.

      Great, another overpriced, rebadged and shoe wedged v8 Toyota Corolla. BMW should make a few more M3's for next year, as so far they have no competition.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Your comments seem a little acidic. Are you expressing some latent hostility at the idea that high performance vehicles can also be reliable if Lexus makes them? I love Bimmers and M cars, but BMW just can't make a reliable car. A good buddy of mine car club member and owns two bimmers; i've picked him up at the side of the road twice in the last year (once for each car) while he waited for the BMW dealer to send a tow truck. ouch! Sufficient to say, his attempts to get me to convert to BMW have fallen on deaf ears.
      • 8 Years Ago
      culattone, the Elise is a Toyota motor/tranny combo in a race ready rocket. This is a much larger and more refined machine designed to deliver luxury AND performance. Two different targets, same engine/tranny manufacturer. Either way, Toyota wins.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Am I mistaken or does that front end look like it was extended by 2 to 3 inches.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Between that press release and the specs, it sounds as if they have absolutely no idea how to promote it or what kind of potential it's going to have. Said it before, they may make nice cars, but they'll never equal the Europeans.
      • 8 Years Ago
      1. toyota hypes up reliability to a fetish level. Look at high mileage registries on the internet - you'll find several saabs, mercedes, bmws, volvos with over 300k on their engines. Then compare the looks of a 1989 3-series to the looks of a 1989 lexus es. The 3-series looks like a classic and will look good forever. The es looks like what it is - a severely dated camry that used cheesy design du jour.

      2. lack of manual gearbox or automated gearbox just isn't going to cut it. (and no, adding paddle shifters to a slushbox automatic does not make it smg/f1)
      • 8 Years Ago
      It is great to see Lexus getting back into performance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      bimmers/mercs/audis are for 200km/h autobahn driving, that's their sole purpose and they belong there. people who buy them in america have inferiority complexes trying to show they can afford a german car. trust me we can afford any car but instead of showing off I enjoy flying in my rice rocket EVO and my wife drives the %$#& off the 10yr old Lexus. no other cars but Lexus withstands such a beating
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