Sedans & Coupes

The V8 Returns in the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance

While the 2021 IS 350 F Sport isn’t exactly a dud, the Lexus sedan isn’t quite as sporty or exciting as it should be. And one of the reasons is the car’s somewhat-lackluster power-to-weight ratio. However, the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance promises to address that. And its solution comes courtesy of something we didn’t think Lexus would offer again.

The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport gives the sedan some extra ‘Performance’

A red 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance sedan
2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance | Lexus

Last year, reports claimed that Toyota was stopping all V8-related development. So, no LC F, and likely a hybrid powertrain for the next-gen Land Cruiser. However, that didn’t necessarily mean all V8-powered cars were canceled. The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is proof of that.

Instead of the IS 350 F Sport’s 311-hp 3.5-liter V6, the Lexus IS 500 has a 5.0-liter V8. It makes 472 hp and 395 lb-ft, sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic, Roadshow reports. Lexus claims the IS 500 F Sport Performance goes 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is already 1.1 seconds faster than Car and Driver saw in the IS 350. However, Car and Driver thinks that the claim may actually be slightly conservative.

The rear 3/4 view of a red 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance
2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance rear 3/4 | Lexus

Apart from the V8, the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is very similar to the IS 350 F Sport, MotorTrend reports. And it’s only 143 pounds heavier, Motor1 reports. Visually, the only differences are the quad exhaust tips, a different rear diffuser, lightweight Enkei wheels, and larger brake rotors.

However, the IS 500 F Sport Performance does get the IS 350 F Sport’s Dynamic Handling Package as standard, Autoweek reports. That means a limited-slip differential, adjustable suspension, as well as upgraded springs and anti-roll bars, Autoblog reports.

It’s not a full ‘F,’ but the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance should still be sporty

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

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Given that the Handling Package makes the IS 350 F Sport a surprisingly deft sport sedan, it may seem odd that Lexus isn’t calling the V8 version ‘IS F,’ Road & Track muses. Especially because the 2022 IS 500’s V8 is basically an updated version of the engine in the 2008-2014 IS F, Automobile reports. However, there’s a very good reason for this.

Lexus is essentially repeating what BMW currently does. The German automaker has M Sport, M Performance, and full-on M cars. Of these, the M Sport models are the least sporty, while the M ones are the sportiest. Lexus has a similar hierarchy in mind with its F Sport, F Sport Performance, and F models, The Drive explains. And yes, that last bit does suggest that a new IS F is around the corner, Motor1 muses.

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Granted, determining if the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance is worth considering will have to wait until later. But on paper, the V8-powered sedan compares favorably to some of its main rivals, The Drive reports. The BMW M340i, for example, is slightly faster to 60 mph and about 40 pounds lighter but is down 80 hp and 29 lb-ft. And the Mercedes-AMG C43 and Audi S4, being down on power and torque, need all-wheel drive to deliver similar acceleration figures.

When will it be available?

The side view of a red 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance's black front seats and dashboard
2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance front interior side | Lexus

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As of this writing, Lexus hasn’t revealed pricing details for the IS 500. For comparison, the RWD 2021 IS 350 F Sport starts at $42,900. And in 2014, its last year of production, Roadshow reports the IS F started at $63,350. So, figure a price somewhere around $50,000.

We should know closer to its release in fall 2021.

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