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The 2022 Lexus IS 500 is part of a dying breed. As cliche as that might sound, it is true. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a whole lot of room left in the world for RWD, naturally-aspirated V8 sedans. Most consumers will want an EV like the controversial Tesla Model S Plaid. Or an SUV like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. That’s alright because Lexus made the IS 500 for those of us who still care.

The 2022 Lexus IS 500 is a masterclass in sensory engagement | SavageGeese

It gets the same motor as the amazing LC 500, and thank the Lord for that. Obviously, there’s a few of the typical Lexus pitfalls, but you won’t care when you hear how the IS 500 sounds.

You want a 2022 Lexus IS 500 for the same reason you want an LFA

A white Lexus LFA Nurburgring edition shot from the front 3/4 angle
Every Lexus worth talking about has a fantastic engine behind it | Martyn Lucy via Getty Images

It’s not common when the experience you get out of a car is solely defined by one thing. It’s even rarer when that one thing is the engine. Hell, it’s even more rare when that car-defining engine isn’t one made by Ferrari or Lamborghini. However, that’s exactly the case with the 2022 Lexus IS 500.

In all honesty, that’s kind of become a Lexus sports car staple. The excellent Lexus LC 500 luxury car was defined by its engine, and so was the Lexus LFA. And that engine, be it in the LFA or the IS 500, is exactly why you’d buy either car. Both had some other letdowns that were more than made up for every time you mash the gas.

The IS 500 is more luxury car than sports sedan

The 2022 Lexus IS 500 luxury car in red, shot from the front 3/4 angle
We likely won’t see another Lexus like the 2022 Lexus IS 500 again | Lexus

So, despite a V8 making 472 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, this 2022 Lexus IS 500 is still far more luxury car than sports car. It’s got an interior with fantastic materials quality and more subtle looks than most other near-500 hp sports cars. However, we simply cannot ignore the Lexus infotainment system. It’s almost infamous at this point, and a massive weak point, as Edmunds found.

Thankfully, that’ll be disappearing soon with a refreshed Lexus infotainment unit. Again, the transmission (an 8-speed auto for those that care) is more luxury car than pure-bred sports sedan. That’s ok, because as long as it downshifts to make more V8 noise, who cares?

Will the IS 500 be AWD?

A red Lexus IS 500 shot in profile in the desert with cacti in the background
The Lexus IS 500 gets RWD proportions just right | Lexus

Of course, 472 hp will generate more than enough smoke if you turn off traction control thanks to the car’s RWD system. For now, there’s no talk of an AWD variant. While that may be a letdown for some, we all need to be glad something like this even exists. The electric age is upon us, and cars like this aren’t long for the world. Buy one and enjoy it while you can.


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