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      03-01-2010, 03:58 AM   #1
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EVO test revised IS-F

Lexus IS-F road test review
Rating : 5 stars



What is it?

The updated Lexus IS-F complete with a new sat nav system and new colour choices. Oh, and the small matter of a proper limited slip diff instead of the electric diff of the first generation IS-F super saloon. It now costs £55,995.

Technical highlights?

The torsen (torque sensing) diff, the addition of which is claimed to lop two seconds off the IS-F's lap time at the Fuji circuit thanks to improved traction and stability in high-speed corners.

Whatís it like to drive?

In a word, even better. The electronic diff in the previous IS-F was just a part of its stability system, braking a spinning inside wheel, but not doing much to help traction. Youíd come out of a corner and sense the car holding back slightly, before snapping straight as the brake released and firing forwards down the next straight, 5.0-litre V8 snarling away. It was a neat party trick in its own right and we loved the way it drove, but it didnít flow nearly as well as this version.

Pull away in the new car on full lock and you get the telltale hunt and shunt from the drivetrain, but from there on the two cars feel almost identical until you really start working the throttle through corners. What strikes you first is not only how much earlier you can get on the power, but how much harder. The rear end stays faithful for a long time and when the lateral forces do finally overcome the diffís tenacious hold, the IS-F slides very progressively. OK, if you give it a bootful in second gear youíll need to be quick with the lock, but on a cross-country strop it feels playful and well balanced, feeding the power in smoothly and consistently.

The front end still isnít as keyed in as the M3ís, mainly because the steering isnít as well weighted and consistent, but I reckon rear end traction, grip and accuracy are a match for the BMWs, and the IS-F does have a truly bonkers engine, a proper roarer that goes rabid over 3700rpm.

How does it compare?

Very well against the BMW M3. The fact itís not quite as fluent is mainly due to the steering and the over-active rebound damping, but itís genuinely charismatic Ė enough to give the Mercedes C63 AMG a fair few headaches. Letís just hope, in this post Lexus LFA world, potential buyers can see past the badge.

Anything else I need to know?

You can now have the interior trimmed in white leather (please donít), the bodywork painted in this rather fetching blue and standard features include a DAB radio, 10gb music hard drive and HDD sat nav Ė claimed to be one of the fastest-responding and most accurate systems in the world. But the best news, as anyone whoís battled a Lexus sat nav will know, is that itís now programmable on the move.
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      03-01-2010, 04:38 AM   #2
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I still don't see why this is better to choose than the M3 or C63 in a technical aspect other than someone preferring it because they are a Lexus fan or a fan of the way it looks. It still does not seem as technically good as the M3, or have as much brute force as the C63 AMG. Although I have been known to be wrong before , just my opinion.
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      03-01-2010, 07:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CATCH_M3 View Post
I still don't see why this is better to choose than the M3 or C63 in a technical aspect other than someone preferring it because they are a Lexus fan or a fan of the way it looks. It still does not seem as technically good as the M3, or have as much brute force as the C63 AMG. Although I have been known to be wrong before , just my opinion.
I just thought it was interesting enough to share as this is the first review in the UK of the IS-F with a proper LSD. If lap times are important (as we know they are with some) then this inclusion of said equipment should improves it's times to be on par with the M3.
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      03-01-2010, 08:35 AM   #4
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But does it still knock teeth lose over moderately bumpy surfaces?
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      03-01-2010, 10:23 AM   #5
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This car delivers an artificial driving experience compared to the M3. Too electronic for my tastes & the ride & steering needs work.
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