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.
2022 Lexus IS 500
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.