What is the IS 500?
Essentially a Lexus IS sedan with 5.0-liter V8 stuffed under its hood, the IS 500 combines all the luxury and comfort of the more pedestrian IS models but adds some much needed power and emotion to the mix. That 472-horsepower engine in such a compact sedan has all the makings of a serious sport sedan, but the IS 500 still caters more to the luxury-minded buyer than the all-out performance enthusiast.
Debuting just last year, and with no major changes expected for the other IS sedans, we don't think the IS 500 will stray far from its current form. Perhaps it will follow in the steps of its two-door sibling, the RC F, and offer a special-edition appearance package to keep things interesting until a new IS generation arrives, which is rumored to be coming for the 2024 model year. While we would love to report on the addition of a manual gearbox for maximum control over those sonorous 472 horses, we just can't see that happening. Boo.
Because of the IS 500's balance of luxury and performance, finding a direct competitor to the Lexus is a bit difficult. Sedans like the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C 43 put performance first and luxury second with their stiff-riding suspensions and aggressively tuned engines. Like the Lexus, the Genesis G70 combines a similar amount of luxury and performance but lacks the IS 500's snarling V8.