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      01-21-2008, 03:23 PM   #1
spearfisher
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Drove the Lexus IS-F at Moroso

short facts, I won't go into any story telling.

went up to Lexus drive they had at Moroso, and was pleasantly surprised, they allowed you to hammer the car as hard as you wanted as long as you weren't reckless.


My personal observations of the Lexus IS-F:

Appearance
The car itself does not look much different from the regular IS350 aside from the following
1. The hood has a power dome similar to BMW's M3 but larger to accommodate the V8.
2. the front and rear bumpers are slightly different, fog lights different
3. and of course the cladding, it's sort of you either like it or don't, (I personally don't like it) but the car does look better in person than in pictures.
4. oddly enough there was a lot of controversy on the quad tail pipes and configuration, the are connected to the exhaust and I ended up liking how they came out.

Interior
1. the white interior looks clean, can't imagine it wearing well though
2. the bolsters are more supportive and seats hold you in place in tight corners, and aluminum accents
3. no noticeable squeaks or rattles, other than that basically same as the IS350 with the usual IS-F badges.

Brakes
1. Huge Brembo brakes 14.2 F 13.6 R, hammered the brakes for 4 laps and that's after someone had driven the car, they felt strong and fade free, very good brakes.
2. a lot of brake dust, but considering the car has been tracked from morning and I drove it about 2pm, the pads still looked good and no cracks in the rotor holes, Brembo knows brakes.

Suspension
1. good handling car, handles well, but a bit too much nose dive, braking from about 125mph, made the rear feel a little loose.
2. too much body roll in corners, you can tell this car weighs 3800-3900 lbs
3. easy to catch over steer and pull back in though, instructor had all nannys off by mistake when I took the helm, I went completely sideways on the South end of the track but was able to recover easily.
4. under steers at the limit and like all high HP cars able to control via the gas, car handles well, but it's no corvette.

Engine & Drive train

1. Smooth with a nice but somewhat quiet exhaust note
2. a bit anemic before I say about 3800 Rpms then it begins to pull hard and sounds a bit nicer and louder.
3. one thing I must say is for an auto, the tranny was very impressive, fast shifts and fast downshifts, up shifts were done as soon as you hit the paddle, no noticeable lag, nice thing about the tranny it has a reminder when to shift to execute red line shifts, nice.


I have not driven a new M3 Iíll compare it to what I have driven
1. E46 M3
2. 335I stock 6sp


The Lexus still does not have the steering feedback and road feel that the E46 offers, but funny enough offers more at the limit grip than both the E46 M3 and 335I. Brakes are better but does not inspire confidence when braking from 125-130, rear feels a little light, but that is due to the suspension. The rear is just as easy to control in a slide as the E46 M3, easier to modulate or squeeze throttle out of corners than the 335I. In a straight line though neither the E46 M3 or 335I can hold a candle to the IS-F, and I did say stock 335I, never driven a proceed 335I, but it feels every bit as fast as the claimed 12.7.

I think they did a good job, but based on the information Iíve gathered, the new M3 should be:
1. A better track car
2. be a more rewarding drive
but considering that this is Lexus 1st attempt, itís a damn good one, itís a good car.
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      01-21-2008, 04:38 PM   #2
JEllis
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Thanks for the write-up
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      01-21-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
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Nice review. Not surprise about the nose dive, considering the weight distribution on that car. Thanks for sharing.
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      01-21-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
DASHOCKER
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Nice write up I will still take the M3 over this car for the price.
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      01-21-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DASHOCKER View Post
Nice write up I will still take the M3 over this car for the price.
For the price, it's a decent value if you compare both fully loaded. Fully loaded ISF is $63.5k and fully loaded e90 M3 is $72k. But if you get either one standard with no options, the e90 M3 at $54.5k vs the ISF at $56k, the e90 is probably the better value.
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      03-08-2008, 02:01 AM   #6
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Nah, just the gas guzzler tax alone makes the base about the same price and a base IS-F has way more options than a base M3.
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      03-08-2008, 10:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToothDoc View Post
Nah, just the gas guzzler tax alone makes the base about the same price and a base IS-F has way more options than a base M3.
You're absolutely correct, I forgot about that. So they're basically the same price stock. And the ISF comes with the sunroof standard, leather, and 19' rims.
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