Lexus has carved out a niche as one of the most earnest producers of hybrid and electric cars. Perhaps that’s why the 2021 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is such a surprise. The emphasis here isn’t on efficiency but rather on engineering and the simple joy of driving.
A 4.5-second Sprint
Lexus engineers have to hit a lot of marks to create a truly exciting ride. Power is, of course, first. Here the 2021 Lexus IS F Sport Performance really excels. The feisty V8 engine can produce 472 horsepower. What’s more, it can do that at a startling 7,100 rpm. To provide some serious push whenever it’s needed, the engine produces 395 lb-ft of torque at rates as high as 4,800 rpm.
When you jump in this car, there’s no key to turn. You push the button and enjoy some startup animation letting you know that the car’s ready to go. There’s some racy noise compliments of the high-rev engine and a quad exhaust with its dual stacked tail pipes.
With all of that power, the IS 500 F Sport Performance can make the sprint in just 4.5 seconds.
With all of those horses under the hood, the car has earned the right to look sexy and athletic. It covers both with lots of aerodynamic nips and tucks. This Performance model even has a raised hood and sculpted character lines. The engineers and designers conspired together, lengthening the bumpers and fenders. All of these adjustments to the regular 2021 Lexus IS turn it from handsome to extraordinary.
The Whole Package
Of course, you can have good looks and serious speed without really being the whole package. This is Lexus, however, and they seem intent on providing every amenity, convenience and technology. There’s even a whole suite of driver assistance systems. This sports car even comes with some free maintenance, including a Lexus oil change.
Smart Weight Control
A typical V8 engine can add too much weight, but in this case, it added only 143 pounds to the package. Unsprung weight is reduced by the special Enkei alloy wheels. The rear wheels drop two pounds while the front wheels drop one pound.
When in motion, the car’s Adaptive Variable Suspension can control how the weight is thrown around by the bumps in the road. It reduces bounce and improves handling.
A Driver’s Car
The driver enjoys rare features such as advanced transmission mapping. The Sport Direct Shift transmission has a lockup torque converter. A Torsen limited slip differential improves how this fast mover takes a corner, makes a turn, and maintains a straight line advance.
The Sport-Plus mode regulates EPS steering, altering the damping force and improving the car’s sporty response to commands. Aerodynamic features help cool off the brakes. A Yamaha rear performance damper improves high-speed agility.
While there are other choices out there, the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance definitely pleads its case well. A true driving enthusiast may not be able to resist its charms.