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.