Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THE urge to drive the Lexus IS F hard is al­most ir­re­sistible, if only to in­duce the secondary in­duc­tion to open up to full roar from about 3600 revs.

The ac­tive sys­tem is hardly unique, but it still makes the hairs on your arms stand on end.

The IS F, thrown about the Fuji cir­cuit, re­tains im­pec­ca­ble poise through a com­bi­na­tion of solid en­gi­neer­ing — dou­ble wish­bones up front and a multi-link setup un­der the rear, each with high-rate coil springs and up­sized sta­biliser bars — and the com­pul­sory ar­ray of elec­tronic wiz­ardry.

Trac­tion con­trol, sta­bil­ity con­trol, an­tilock brakes with elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion and elec­tronic brake as­sis­tance are bun­dled in the Lexus’ Ve­hi­cle Dy­namic In­te­grated Man­age­ment sys­tem. Aus­tralian cars will also come with the pre-col­li­sion sys­tem and eight airbags as stan­dard.

The speed-sen­si­tive steer­ing, ad­e­quate in its ba­sic con­fig­u­ra­tion and much more en­joy­able in the sharper sports mode, is as good as any­thing Lexus has done. And, com­bined with a se­ri­ous set of Brembo brakes — six­pis­ton grip­pers on 360mm front discs — it im­bues a sense of well­be­ing.

Un­der heavy loads, brak­ing and cor­ner­ing, the IS F moves enough to add in­ter­est without alarm. If the in­puts are smooth, the out­comes match. Even when pro­voked, the car has enough bal­ance to be pre­dictable and con­tain­able.

Yaguchi is adamant he has not

bench­marked the M or AMG cars dur­ing de­vel­op­ment, rather con­cen­trat­ing on his own vi­sion.

That may be, but if BMW, Mercedes and Audi thought Lexus was a thorn in their sides in the lux­ury bat­tle, the pre­mium per­for­mance angst is go­ing to be all the greater.

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