Cars and Bids Bargain of the Week: 2008 Lexus IS F

Luxurious comfort and reliability might be Lexus’s main strengths, but the Japanese brand also has a performance side. One that’s getting an upcoming boost thanks to the 2022 IS500 F Sport Performance. That car, though, owes its existence to this week’s Cars and Bids bargain car: a 2008 Lexus IS F.

The Lexus IS F is a luxury sedan “with true enthusiast credentials,” Car and Driver says

A blue 2008 Lexus IS F on a desert racetrack
2008 Lexus IS F | Lexus

When Lexus unveiled the IS F in 2008, it caused a significant stir. Remember, this is several years before the LFA supercar. Up until this point, Lexus was mostly known for making comfortable luxury cars and hybrids, not performance vehicles, Autocar notes. Indeed, Car and Driver called the IS F both a segment-changer and “a radical shift in its maker’s attitude.”

Much of that ‘shift’ comes from what’s under the hood. The 2008 Lexus IS F has a 5.0-liter V8 co-developed with Yamaha (shades of LFA?) rated at 416 hp and 371 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. And it sends that power to the rear wheels via a sports-tuned version of the world’s first production eight-speed automatic, PistonHeads reports. With all this, the 2008 IS F goes 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

That V8 isn’t the only upgrade the 2008 Lexus IS F offers over the standard car, though. It has BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, and stiffer suspension, MotorTrend reports. Arguably too stiff, which is why Lexus retuned it for the 2011 model year, MT notes. That same year also brought a standard limited-slip differential and a retuned power-steering system. The leather sport seats, alloy pedals, multiple driving modes, and performance tires were there from day one, though, Car and Driver reports.

It’s worth pointing out that the first-gen Supra-engine IS 300 was a genuine BMW 3 Series competitor. And the same applies to the Lexus IS F and the contemporary E46 M3. The BMW is “more of a precision instrument,” Autoweek reports; especially compared to pre-2011 IS Fs, Car and Driver points out. But even so, the Lexus is “a true M3 chaser,” MT reports, with the ability to freely switch between a luxury cruiser and a performance sedan.

The 2008 Lexus IS F on Cars and Bids

The front 3/4 view of a silver 2008 Lexus IS F parked on the street
2008 Lexus IS F front 3/4 | Cars and Bids

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As a 2008 model, the Lexus IS F currently listed on Cars and Bids doesn’t have all the updates the later cars received. But it’s also unmodified, has less than 29,700 miles on the clock, and only has a few scrapes. The seller notes, though, that there is a loan on it.

Plus, this 2008 IS F comes well-equipped. In addition to the F-specific features mentioned earlier, this car has heated seats, adaptive HID headlights, and a Mark Levinson audio system with a six-disc CD changer and XM compatibility. It also has push-button ignition, a power-adjustable steering column, GPS navigation, Bluetooth, a sunroof, a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

The blue-and-black-leather front seats and gray dashboard of a 2008 Lexus IS F
2008 Lexus IS F front interior | Cars and Bids

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Cars and Bids reports this 2008 Lexus IS F has an accident-free history. The seller also recently replaced the oil and oil filter, the battery, and the passenger-side rear tire-pressure monitoring sensor.

It’s a more reliable BMW M3 alternative bargain

The rear 3/4 view of a silver 2008 Lexus IS F in a parking space
2008 Lexus IS F rear 3/4 | Cars and Bids

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As of this writing, this 2008 Lexus IS F is listed on Cars and Bids at $25,678 with three days left in the auction. Given this car’s mileage and condition, that’s below the average asking price on Autotrader, and that’s including high-mileage examples. Limiting the search to pre-update models, the cheapest IS F on Autotrader with similar mileage is almost $15,000 more expensive.

Although the E46 M3 is arguably the sharper car, the Lexus IS F has the reliability advantage. The Lexus V8 doesn’t have to deal with VANOS issues, for one. And with proper maintenance, IS Fs can rack up well over 200,000 miles without issue, Motor1 reports. Perhaps that’s why an updated version of the IS F’s V8 is found in the upcoming IS500 F Sport Performance.

If you’re looking for a reliable luxury sports sedan, then, this Lexus IS F is a bargain worth considering.

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