2023 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Premium - There is nothing like a V8.


There is no mistaking the rumble and burble of a V8, and there is nothing like the scream of a DOHC V8 as it races to its redline. These are some of the things that keep an old man young at heart. 

I've been critical of Lexus in the past for their touch pad control. Well it seems like they heard me, or more likely they heard from their customers. Although the dreaded touch pad is still there I never once had to use it to control anything. Sound system? Two dials provide volume and station selection. The only control I had trouble with was the temperature "slide" controls. I tried to adjust the temperature while driving and every bump or pothole moved my finger. I had to wait for a relatively smooth section of road (a rarity) to set it correctly.

The temperature controls are touch slides that work okay - when you're sitting still!

But let's get back to the engine. In the bigger scheme of things it is not all that powerful. Some domestic makers have V8s that put out over 800 hp; the Lexus 5.0 V8 tops out at 472 hp, and 395 lb-ft of torque. That is good enough for 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, a 1/4 mile in 12.8 seconds, and a top speed of 149 mph. And no I didn't try to duplicate those figures, I just got into it enough to enjoy the sound now and then.

The transmission is an 8-speed automatic. There were different settings from Eco and two Sport (ultimate Sport?). I usually left it in Eco but now and then I selected the ultimate Sport just to let the teenager in me have some fun. Thankfully the adult in me didn't let the kid do anything really stupid.

I'm not a big fan of the nose of most Lexus models. The rest of the car is okay but I think it is getting near the end of its life. Although there have been styling updates this IS generation has been around for almost ten years. 

I found the front seats comfortable and the driving position was good. The rears seats were a little short on legroom if the fronts were all the way back. 

The driver's seat is all the way back.

The trunk isn't the biggest (10.8 cubic feet; a carryon bag is about 2.5 cubic feet) but the rear seats do fold down to give a bit more room.

I didn't check the fuel economy, sometimes it seems silly to check economy on a performance vehicle. US-EPA says it will get 25-mpg on the highway and 17-mpg around town. 

There is a long list of amenities, standard and optional, but for the life of me I didn't see a wireless charger. Maybe I missed it? 

Did I enjoy the IS 500 F Sport Premium? Yes and no. I loved the sound, the acceleration, and the handling. My granddaughter would have loved it because it was red, but as a 5-passenger vehicle - five adults - it is lacking in my opinion. If you consider it a 2 plus 2 with 4-doors it is okay. 

An IS 500 F Sport Premium starts at $62,770, the version tested added $3,355 in options, and $1,150 for destination. With tax and license you're over $70,000. It is a fun car so don't let me dissuade you, go for it and enjoy the sound!


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