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The 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance Dials Up Excitement With V8 Power



2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance

When we drove the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT last year, we were seriously impressed with it, with Lexus engineers breathing some new life into the aging car with their latest refresh. But the one thing I’ve always wished for was more power, as why should the two-door Lexus RC F be the only one to have all the fun?

The new 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance does just that, with a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 under the hood that puts out 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. Buuut, this isn’t a true F model, instead an F Sport Performance that gives us the brawny powertrain, but not quite the razor-sharp handling of true F cars. And cheaper to boot, with our loaded tester coming in at just $62,075.

Having spent a LOT of time with the Lexus RC F in the past, both on track and around town, I was really curious to see how the IS 500 F Sport stacked up. So on a recent trip to Southern California, I got my hands on this gorgeous Grecian Water tester and headed up to the canyons bright and early to put it through its paces.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance

On the highway, the Lexus IS 500 F Sport is an absolute hoot to drive, with ample power to zip through traffic with ease. And it sounds great to boot, with that V8 engine just roaring when you lay into the throttle, screaming all the way to its 7300-rpm redline. The BMW M340i might be faster with its turbocharged inline-six, but it doesn’t sound nearly as good as a V8.

But it was a decidedly different story when we pushed the car to its limits in the back canyons. While acceleration is great (0-60mph in 4.3 seconds), the rest of the chassis struggles to play catch up. And while the suspension has been slightly retuned with Yamaha adaptive dampers and a larger rear stabilizer bar, it’s still on the softer side, more luxury than race car. And the nearly 4,000 pound curb weight doesn’t exactly help either.

The brake setup consists of 14.0-inch discs with 4-piston calipers up front and smaller 12.7-inch discs in the rear. While the brakes are more than adequate around town, in the canyons they didn’t exactly inspire confidence, with squishy pedal feel and taking longer than I’d like to shave off speed. As such, I only drove at 7/10ths in the interest of safety. The car could also benefit from some more aggressive summer tires.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance

Still, that didn’t stop me from ripping through the twisties like a hooligan, with a big old smile plastered on my face. Two hours and half a tank of gas later, I finally decided to call it, heading back to civilization. A heck of a way to spend a Saturday morning, if I do say so myself!

During my week with the Lexus IS 500 F Sport, I really enjoyed myself, the car delivering a nice blend of performance and livability. Around town, you can drive it at half throttle without making too much noise, the seats and ride quality are very comfortable (not so with the RC F, which necessitated me stopping every 2-3 hours to stretch), and gas mileage is pretty decent if you can keep your foot out of it (we saw an average of 22MPG).

Looks wise, I really liked what they have done here. The refreshed styling is very subtle, but it gives it a more modern look. Add to that the power dome (alluding to that big V8 under the hood), unique wheels, and stacked quad exhaust out back, and the IS 500 F Sport stands out just enough for those in the know. While I loved the bright blue “look at me” paint, they also offer the car in more subdued tones if you want to keep a lower profile.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance interior

The interior of the car feels super dated, because it’s basically a carry-over from the old model, complete with the maddening touchpad for the infotainment system. Thankfully, the 10.3-inch touchscreen lets you bypass the touchpad entirely, and it’s located closer to the driver for ease of use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, which is good because the NAV system it comes with is prehistoric.

F SPORT bolstered seats (heated/ventilated) are 10-way power adjustable and do a great job keeping you in place during spirited driving while still offering great comfort. The 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system sounds amazing as always, and I was rocking out to my favorite tunes all week. All in all, a nice place to spend your daily commute.

While it might seem like I’m being extra tough on the Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance, I am just trying to set realistic expectations, especially given the “Performance” moniker they gave it. The car is a great step up from the IS 350 F Sport (and only about $5,000 more expensive), but a successor to the iconic 2007-14 Lexus IS F it’s not.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance seats

At the end of the day, the fact that this car even exists is a testament to enthusiasts at Lexus who pushed for this model to come to light. These days, gas guzzling cars with V8s are being replaced with turbocharged four-cylinders that deliver comparable power and performance. But they just don’t offer a visceral experience quite like this.

If you’re looking for track-ready performance, you’re better off giving up two doors and going with the Lexus RC F. But if you’re just looking for a spirited ride that can fit the whole family (including my niece’s car seat), the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance is just the ticket.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance spindle grille

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance quad exhaust

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance wheels

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance infotainment system

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance engine bay

What do you think of the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance?

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, the definitive men's lifestyle blog, and he's one of the biggest car enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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