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      04-18-2011, 11:32 PM   #1
Kartelli
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M3 vs 2011 IS-F

Had a chance to test drive a 2011 IS-F tonight.

After having some seat time in an 08 IS-F, there are some significant improvements in the 2011!

Suspension has been revised, the bone jarring 08 suspension was rough on anything but uneven pavement reminding me of my 06 STi (a bit over exaggerated, but you get the picture). The new 2011 IS-F includes revised spring/shock dampening allowing for more forgiveness. I'd say its on par with my 08 M3 with no EDC.

The mechanical LSD, no comments here, street driving wouldn't produce the feedback needed to tell if it made a difference or not.

The led head lights, added a nice flare to the car, its difficult to capture the effect it gives the front end via camera. Its a nice change to the lineup and is not overpowering as in some of the pictures.

The rear seats are slightly cramped compared to an e90 m3. I adjusted the front seats to where I'd be comfortable in the front, then had some time in the back to see what the complaints were about. I'm 5'9, I had about 3" head clearance and about 2" knee clearance with enough room to sit comfortably (feet under the seat). Not the ideal positioning, but could definitely maintain a long distance drive comfortably. Note the car is 4 passenger only, and would comfortably fit 4 adults under 6'1.

The engine is a true sleeper, under 4000 rpm, you couldn't tell its a v8. The dual stage intake opens up above 4000 rpm giving a loud growl all the way to red line. Lexus has included new led shift lights instead of the annoying beep in the pre 10 vehicles. Straight line speed it feels just as quick as my m3. The 8 speed transmission has quick upshifts in sport mode, and nice rev blip downshifts, similar to the C63 AMG I drove 2 weeks. Id say the transmission is on par with the c63 amg characteristics.

Using the back road course, there were some twists in the road, pushing it as much as I felt comfortable, it felt like the M3 - 1 point. It was not confidence inspiring. It could be due to the fact I was not used to the vehicle nor confident to push out of test drive boundaries.

If I had to rate it, its a great 8.5/10 if I was to give the m3 9/10.

From the research I've done, the IS-F does not seem prone to engine/transmission issues and most owners have a strong belief the vehicle will last over 200k on the clock. Other than general maintenance, they seem to be built rock solid. Lexus has narrowed the gap from 08 to 11 to be comparable to the M3.

Thoughts from others who have had some seat time in the new IS-F's?
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      04-18-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
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nice write up, from what I've read all over, the revised IS-F now boast equal lap times from various tracks, they stepped up their game
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      04-19-2011, 09:45 AM   #3
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Sounds about right.

The IS F from the get go has been very reliable and without any ongoing issues. Quite remarkable considering that it's Lexus first true performance offering and this is only their second generation. The extremely limited after market is something that causes some people to shy away.

Both cars have their own merits to stand on. Buy whatever makes you happy.
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      04-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #4
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nice write up!
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      04-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnrockies View Post
Sounds about right.

The IS F from the get go has been very reliable and without any ongoing issues. Quite remarkable considering that it's Lexus first true performance offering and this is only their second generation. The extremely limited after market is something that causes some people to shy away.

Both cars have their own merits to stand on. Buy whatever makes you happy.
I'd say this is still the first generation IS-F, with just the first set of minor tweaks.

Amazing.

The IS350 was almost there, but really not with it in terms of a ride/handling compromise. Same with the IS-F. Haven't sampled the latest IS350, but the current iteration of the IS-F (along with the first iteration of the LF-A) shows that Lexus is now a really important player as far as gearheads are concerned.

Who woulda thunk it?

Bruce
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      04-19-2011, 10:22 AM   #6
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what was the LSD used in the 08 ISF was it revised in the 2011?
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      04-19-2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce.augenstein@comcast. View Post
I'd say this is still the first generation IS-F, with just the first set of minor tweaks.

Amazing.

The IS350 was almost there, but really not with it in terms of a ride/handling compromise. Same with the IS-F. Haven't sampled the latest IS350, but the current iteration of the IS-F (along with the first iteration of the LF-A) shows that Lexus is now a really important player as far as gearheads are concerned.

Who woulda thunk it?

Bruce
True enough Bruce.

I also find it amazing that they listened to their customers and the market and in only 3 short years made the changes necessary to run neck and neck with an M3 on both the straights and a track.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdosu View Post
what was the LSD used in the 08 ISF was it revised in the 2011?
LSD was not an option or available for the '08's.

Competition like this is a great thing as it only forces companies to work harder and bring better products to market.
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      04-19-2011, 10:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
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what was the LSD used in the 08 ISF was it revised in the 2011?
The LSD in 2008/09 were electronic LSD in 2010/11 are Torsen LSD.
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      04-19-2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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The LSD in 2008/09 were electronic LSD in 2010/11 are Torsen LSD.
This is the same type of LSD that 997.1S's had, it was done through the ABS. The new mechanical locker is a giant step forward.

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      04-19-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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I think that with the continual advances in their F line, such as the LF-A, we will see some of that trickle down to more affordable cars, such as the IS-F. I'm looking forward to the 2nd gen of this car...We're actually getting quite close. I believe the 2nd gen IS was released in '07.
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      04-19-2011, 01:26 PM   #11
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Nice writeup and I agree with everything you said. I liked the '08 ISF but I love the '11... they have really improved upon the car and made subtle changes that when put together have a significant impact on the overall car. That, and I LOVE the engine... and with an exhaust it sounds incredible!

I'd have no qualms with buying one and feeling that I could put 200k on the clock with nothing more than scheduled maintenance.
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      04-19-2011, 10:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADV.1 Matt View Post
Nice writeup and I agree with everything you said. I liked the '08 ISF but I love the '11... they have really improved upon the car and made subtle changes that when put together have a significant impact on the overall car. That, and I LOVE the engine... and with an exhaust it sounds incredible!

I'd have no qualms with buying one and feeling that I could put 200k on the clock with nothing more than scheduled maintenance.
I'm super tempted! Need to consider an alternative to my M3 without warranty around the corner.
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      04-19-2011, 11:10 PM   #13
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that is a pretty generous test drive btw lol

nice review
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      04-21-2011, 11:05 AM   #14
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I have to agree there is a huge improvement in 2011 IS-F.
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