Daily Driver: 2024 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance

May 14, 2024
3 mins read

In this digital age where every function is in a touchscreen, and automakers are turning to EVs, the 2024 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance is the old guard. Not only does it come with a 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8, but it keeps the old technology it’s had for years. Even last year, I complained about how the IS has outdated tech. Now, it’s a breath of fresh air utilizing buttons for climate control. The infotainment system still is an annoying touchpad, but you get used to it. Here’s a different take on the IS500 F Sport performance.

It’s a shape and recipe we’ve seen for a long time. Take a Lexus IS, and give it a large 5.0-liter V8, some wider wheel archers, and a spoiler. Painted in blue, the IS500 F Sport Performance seems to be just a swole sedan until you see the exhaust pipes. A double-stacked staggered exhaust setup is synonymous with IS cars with V8s. I don’t get the appeal of these, but Lexus approves them. Since this is the V8, the hood has a bulge, and this model sporting 19-inch black wheels. Does the exterior still hold up? I think so. It’s a unique look.

Now for the advantages of the IS500’s older interior. Firstly, the climate control system is extremely simple to operate, featuring intuitive buttons and knobs that manage climate settings alongside amenities like heated and ventilated seats, as well as a heated steering wheel. Secondly, accessing drive modes and other functions doesn’t require navigating a complex infotainment system, simplifying the driving experience. Technophiles won’t appreciate the interior since there’s nothing over-complicated in here. I appreciate that.

Although the digital instrument cluster in the IS500 is simple, its functionality is quite limited. Lacking features such as navigation mapping and offering limited color options, it falls short in versatility. Even as an F Sport variant, the steering wheel sports some unmarked buttons and unconventional placement for volume controls. Lexus has made efforts to modernize the infotainment system, which now features a touchscreen interface and a unique touchpad input method. However, some passengers find the touchpad interface difficult to use. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a welcome addition, especially considering the shortcomings of the native navigation system. You’ll also find a CD player, something that’s been phased out of cars for years!

Let’s dive into the heart of the IS500 F Sport Performance: the 5.0-liter V8. Generating 472 horsepower (347 kW) and 395 lb-ft (537 Nm) of torque, this powerhouse propels the IS500 F Sport Performance from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.3 seconds. Once you surpass 3,000 RPM, you’ll hear one of the best-sound V8s on the market. Remember that the competition has gone to turbocharging six- and four-cylinders with some sort of electric assistance. While the eight-speed automatic transmission felt a tad clunky, the IS500’s it ok to live with. Despite its performance, The IS500 F Sport Performance managed around 18 MPG. I wonder why automakers are switching to more fuel-efficient performance sedans…

For a sedan to earn its sports sedan moniker, handling must be one of the top priorities. Offering various drive modes like Custom, Eco, Normal, Sport S, and Sport S+, along with manual gearbox control via paddles or the shifter, the IS500 F Sport Performance delivers. The optimal balance between fun and ferocity is found in Sport S mode, while Sport S+ unleashes the engine’s full thunder, accompanied by exhilarating driving dynamics. With rear-wheel drive, playful maneuvers like kicking out the back end and inducing wheel spins are easily attainable, making for a thrilling ride. For those wanting a more relaxed and secure commute, Lexus equips the IS500 F Sport Performance with an adaptive cruise control system, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep warning features.

Pricing for the IS500 commences around $60,000, with optional packages like the $4,000 Premium Package, boasting enhancements such as the infotainment system, sunroof, and upgraded seats. Add-ons like the $2,500 BBS wheels and other amenities elevate the IS500 F Sport Performance to approximately $66,000. Viewing it through two lenses, one might perceive the car as aged with a dated interior, yet undeniably potent with its robust V8 engine. Amidst its competition gravitating towards turbocharging and electrification, the allure of a V8 remains tempting, even if the tech is sparse. Nevertheless, the IS500’s sheer enjoyment factor compensates for any perceived shortcomings. If tech abundance is necessary, the IS500 may not fit the bill, but for those prioritizing raw performance, it’s a quick, raucous, and visually striking contender worth considering. For those wanting some old-school V8 roars with a simple-to-use interior, the IS500 F Sport Performance is literally the only car you can consider.

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