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      06-08-2008, 08:04 PM   #1
q2bruiser
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Drove an IS-F - Almost Bought It

One of the local Lexus dealers had a few IS-F(s) come in so i went down to check it out and compare with my 08 E90M. I drove one twice ... for a total of about 45 minutes. I almost made a deal for one. More on that later. Here is my review.

While the styling is questionable, the performance is not. Lexus got the F's V8 right. Though it is based on the block driving the LS series, it is throughly massaged with forged internals, etc and it is butter smooth and wicked quick. The engine has a butterfly in the intake and when it opens around 3500 RPM the thing emits a beastly growl which is more than addictive. I just kept nailing it and nailing it. The sales guy was grinning as much as I. The one engine complaint I have is what seems to be an artificially low red line ...about 6800 RPM. I kept bouncing off the rev limiter. It comes so quickly and so smoothly that you just don't want to shift.


The transmission/paddle shifter combo is first rate. You would never know it is an automatic. It shifts quickly, smoothly, and always seems to be in the right gear. In paddle mode, it is more fun that a room full of Brazilian dancing girls. I drove that thing so hard I am sure the salesman's butt cheeks ripped right thru the leather.

The ride is very good ... planted, surefooted, firm, yet comfortable. Cornering is flat, quick steering, and nary a hint of any cabin looseness and nothing even close to a squeak. While the steering is not quite as communicative as the M's, it is very, very good.

The interior quality is top notch. Great seats ... firm, bolstered (more so than the M), and comfortable. Very nice.

So, I was going to buy the thing ... was just hooked on the V8 and all that torque. Was ready to run Tallageda in the thing. The Motor is that good. But, leave it to the sales manager to screw up the deal. So we agreed upon a price ... had the printout to prove it. When we were getting to the nitty gritty, the price suddenly went up by $175 dollars. Pissed me off to no end. I will NOT do business with a company which tries to sneak things in like that. Got up from finance and walked out the door. I won't name the dealer, but if you want to know you can PM me.

All in all, the IS-F is a great car. Once they get rid of that JDM crap rear end with the quad stacked pipes, there will be lots of folks buying the thing.

Later.
James
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      06-08-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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It is not the $175 bucks, it is the principle. I too would have walked. I will only deal with certain dealers because I hate BS...
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      06-08-2008, 08:59 PM   #3
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Great review. I had almost the exact same experience with the IS-F. One thing I notice is that the interior trim is really ugly though and not to my taste. Another turn off was that it felt too much like a regular IS with a bigger and better engine. Of course this is prob not true once you take it out on the track and compare both though.

Just my 2 cents
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      06-08-2008, 09:18 PM   #4
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Wow, you have a brand new E90 M3 Sedan and were an inch away from buying an IS-F..... doesn't say much for the M3!

I know that IS-Fs are starting to accumulate on dealer lots in SoCal... I'm sure they will be easy to get if you want one. Thanks for your review and good luck
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      06-08-2008, 10:00 PM   #5
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I agree Hans...I feel like the Lexus is compared on paper but the buyers are very different. I like to hear about the ISF but have no interest in being an owner. M3 is a different animal.
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      06-08-2008, 10:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Delbruck View Post
Wow, you have a brand new E90 M3 Sedan and were an inch away from buying an IS-F..... doesn't say much for the M3!

I know that IS-Fs are starting to accumulate on dealer lots in SoCal... I'm sure they will be easy to get if you want one. Thanks for your review and good luck
Not at all. I guess you are assuming I don't like the M. Quite the contrary ... I love it. The two cars are different. One is a screamer and one is more Nascar. I'd love to have both.

JKH
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      06-09-2008, 11:15 PM   #7
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so you are giving up? why not go to the next Lexus dealer nearby?
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      06-09-2008, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by q2bruiser View Post
Not at all. I guess you are assuming I don't like the M. Quite the contrary ... I love it. The two cars are different. One is a screamer and one is more Nascar. I'd love to have both.

JKH

Both -- would be good

Honestly with the prices coming down on M3 6MT sedans, I briefly entertained getting a strippy as a daily driver..... ..... ....... nah.... that's just crazy and stupid.

But if you can afford both, and you like both... then hey, why not?
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      06-09-2008, 11:26 PM   #9
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I too would leave the dealership if they starting adding cost to it in the end. Of course I would have argued about it as well. If they wanted to sell it to you they should have made it happen. I should go to a dealership to try an M for better comparison. But yes I love the intoxicating sound when you step on it. I assume you drove in manual and sport mode.
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      06-09-2008, 11:59 PM   #10
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Did you notice the absence of a "soul" in the car?
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      06-10-2008, 12:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Delbruck View Post
Both -- would be good

Honestly with the prices coming down on M3 6MT sedans, I briefly entertained getting a strippy as a daily driver..... ..... ....... nah.... that's just crazy and stupid.

But if you can afford both, and you like both... then hey, why not?
I am really interested in an m3 sedan stripper as a daily driver but really am concerned about snow and winter. The IS-F seems intriguing but i remember the salesperson said don't even bother with the is350 in the snow in upstate ny. can anyone convince me that any of these would handle fine with snow tires compared to an e92 335xi?
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      06-10-2008, 09:57 PM   #12
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Certainly, if I had the money to afford it, it would definitely be on my shortlist along with the M3, C63, and CTS-V.
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      06-10-2008, 10:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ismelllikepoop View Post
I am really interested in an m3 sedan stripper as a daily driver but really am concerned about snow and winter. The IS-F seems intriguing but i remember the salesperson said don't even bother with the is350 in the snow in upstate ny. can anyone convince me that any of these would handle fine with snow tires compared to an e92 335xi?
if you put snow tires on it you should be okay...drive responsibly and avoid the roads during a snow storm.
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      06-11-2008, 04:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ismelllikepoop View Post
I am really interested in an m3 sedan stripper as a daily driver but really am concerned about snow and winter. The IS-F seems intriguing but i remember the salesperson said don't even bother with the is350 in the snow in upstate ny. can anyone convince me that any of these would handle fine with snow tires compared to an e92 335xi?
Snow tires should help a lot. But, if it's anything like the E46 M3, don't drive on snow or ice with the standard tires. It's suicide. Fortunately, I have a 4WD SUV I can take on those days.
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      06-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by q2bruiser View Post
... Once they get rid of that JDM crap rear end with the quad stacked pipes, there will be lots of folks buying the thing.

Later.
James
I predict that pretty soon an after-market company will come out with replacement tips (if not a whole new cat-back) and this will the "must have" mod that nearly all IS-F owners will go out and install first thing.
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      06-12-2008, 12:00 AM   #16
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maybe some aftermarket front fenders would help too.
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      06-12-2008, 02:54 PM   #17
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The ISF is a nice, car, but yeah I'm not too fond of the add ons that Lexus did to set it apart from the IS350, BMW does a better job at it than Lexus, to me, and just an opinion guys.

Lexus did a better job in the engine and brakes department (Brembo)

but the BMW is a better track car.
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      06-12-2008, 03:28 PM   #18
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The IS-F just looks tacky. The only car I considered other than a M3 was the C63 Merc.
The "axe murderer with headlights" review on Top Gear, took it out of consideration.
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      06-12-2008, 10:31 PM   #19
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ISF

The motor sound is very good. I went to the Lexus dealer because I believe that there will be less quirkiness with Lexus, less problems and complaints. I own a Lexus. However, the M3 sedan back seat area is larger and more comfortable than the ISF -a major issue for a sedan buyer. It made a difference with me. Also, despite best effrorts to swallow I choked on the fake tailpipes. For a $70,000 car I do not want to pretend it has something that it doesn't.
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      06-13-2008, 02:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
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The motor sound is very good. I went to the Lexus dealer because I believe that there will be less quirkiness with Lexus, less problems and complaints. I own a Lexus. However, the M3 sedan back seat area is larger and more comfortable than the ISF -a major issue for a sedan buyer. It made a difference with me. Also, despite best effrorts to swallow I choked on the fake tailpipes. For a $70,000 car I do not want to pretend it has something that it doesn't.
I believe the ISF only goes up to $62k fully loaded. I guess OTD would be close to $70k.
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      06-16-2008, 12:24 PM   #21
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I believe the ISF only goes up to $62k fully loaded. I guess OTD would be close to $70k.
Lexus dealers here in Northern Cal. are willing to deal on ISF. I had two dealers offering out the door prices set at around $59k. The M3's were about $10k more. That almost convinced me to buy the Lexus. I bought a 535I instead.
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      06-16-2008, 02:14 PM   #22
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good move.
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