2022 Lexus IS 500

Release Date: Fall 2021
Estimated Price: Starting at $64,000 (estimated)
  • Powered by the RC F and LC 500's 5.0-liter V8
  • Larger brakes and IS 350's Dynamic Handling package are standard
  • New Launch Edition model limited to 500 units
  • Part of the third Lexus IS generation introduced for 2014
Contact your local dealers about upcoming availability and pricing details.
2022 Lexus IS 500 Review
An IS F in All but the Name
What is the IS 500?

The third-generation Lexus IS has been on sale for nearly a decade, making it by far the oldest vehicle in the small luxury sedan class. Before it fully redesigns its entry-level sedan, however, Lexus is giving the IS a proper send-off by fitting it with the V8 that also gives life to the RC F coupe and GS F midsize sedan. Officially, this new model is called the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance. Besides the V8, the IS 500 gains some additional performance hardware that's otherwise optional on the IS 350, plus a few other goodies to make the most of its ample power.

Performance enthusiasts with a decent memory might remember that Lexus offered a V8-powered version of the previous-generation IS too. That was the 2008-2014 IS F. This 2022 IS 500 is the first time a V8 finds its way into the current-gen IS.

What's under the IS 500's hood?

With most of its competitors utilizing turbocharged engines, the IS 500's naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 might seem like a bit of a throwback. Indeed, the old IS F had a 5.0-liter V8 too. There's plenty of grunt on paper — 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque — and Lexus' claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds is perfectly respectable.

But can "perfectly respectable" cut it in 2022? Turbocharged rivals offer even greater performance for about the same money (based on our projected price for the IS 500). The new 2021 BMW M3, for instance, sprints to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds while developing almost identical levels of power from its turbocharged six-cylinder. That said, we'd likely prefer the aural soundtrack of the IS' eight-cylinder. The Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63, on the other hand, boasts a turbocharged V8 with considerably more torque than either, making the 0-60 mph run in just 3.9 seconds.

Putting the V8's power to the rear wheels is a standard eight-speed automatic. Lexus has also fitted a slew of mechanical and electronic upgrades to help the IS 500 harness the extra power. It comes standard with the V6-powered IS 350's Dynamic Handling package, which includes adaptive suspension dampers and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Other upgrades include larger brake rotors, a redesigned rear diffuser, a black lip spoiler and Enkei wheels that are lighter than those on the IS 350.

How's the IS 500's interior?

While the IS 500 boasts a plethora of aerodynamic and visual improvements to the exterior, the cabin is pretty much identical to that of the IS 350. The interior is replete with upscale materials and lacks hard plastics, which really drives home the impression of luxury. The sport seats should also be supportive and comfortable for a wide range of body types.

Small luxury sedans aren't known for their exceptional amount of interior room, and the IS feels tighter than most. The wide center console reduces shoulder space for those up front, and a low roof means tall passengers will struggle to find a comfortable position in the back seat.

How's the IS 500's tech?

Though primarily aimed at the sport sedan segment, the IS 500 comes with an array of driving aids designed to make the mundane moments less irksome. Standard features include forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, lane-centering assist and blind-spot monitoring. The adaptive cruise control system even has a nifty feature that accelerates the vehicle when you tap the turn signal in preparation for a pass.

The IS 500 does build on some tech updates Lexus implemented for 2021. For example, there's a touchpad controller for the infotainment system; it's marginally more effective than the previous mouse-like controller knob. The center display screen has touchscreen capability, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

What is the IS 500 Performance Launch Edition?

In one sense, it's grade-A word salad, but in another, truer sense, it's a special trim introduced for the first year of production. Limited to just 500 units in the U.S., the Launch Edition receives a number of unique upgrades to set it apart from the standard IS 500. The standard Enkei wheels are swapped for a set of forged matte BBS alloys, while the cabin is treated to black and gray imitation suede covering the seats, door trim and center console. You also get a plaque denoting the production number and a special startup sequence in the digital instrument panel.

EdmundsEdmunds says

It took Lexus long enough, but we're glad that we'll finally be able to get a V8 in the current-generation IS. The charm of the V8's boisterous exhaust note helps make up for the relative lack of power compared to rival sport sedans.

Consumer reviews

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