Fast, loud and fun

Li Zo is in­ter­ested in buy­ing a used Lexus IS F but, be­cause they are quite ex­pen­sive, he is tak­ing a care­ful ap­proach. He wants to know about common prob­lems, ser­vic­ing ex­penses, cost of parts etc.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - GRA­HAM SMITH grah.smith@big­pond.com

NEW

The F is to the IS what the M3 is to the BMW 3 Se­ries. It’s the se­ri­ously quick model that casts a glow of cred­i­bil­ity on the rest of the range.

Since be­gin­ning with a sin­gle lux­ury model in the 1990s, Lexus has grown into the fully fledged pres­tige mar­que that holds its own with the ac­knowl­edged pres­tige brands from Europe.

As with the 3 Se­ries and Benz C-Class, the IS rep­re­sents the por­tal to the pres­tige dream, the start­ing point to badge as­pi­ra­tions.

Much of the de­vel­op­ment of the IS was done on race­tracks around the world.

In­deed, the F is said to stand for Fuji, the Ja­panese track where much of it was car­ried out. The re­sult is a car with real sports cre­den­tials.

One look at the com­pact sedan tells you it’s con­ceived for speed, with a wide air dam and sweep­ing lines. Its wheel arches bulge with mas­sive al­loy wheels, low-pro­file rub­ber and huge brakes.

The sport­ing feel car­ries through to the stylish cabin with true sports seats, car­bon‒fi­bre ac­cents, leather trim and F badges.

It also has the per­for­mance to back up the looks. Lift the bon­net to view the 5.0-litre V8 that de­liv­ers the punch. It’s re­lated to the V8 in the LS lux­ury sedan, en­larged and en­hanced with unique in­ter­nals and ex­haust. With all that work­ing in uni­son the re­sult is 311kW at 6600rpm and 505Nm at 5200rpm.

The eight-speed auto trans­mis­sion sends the en­gine’s out­put to the rear wheels. The pad­dle-shifters on the steer­ing wheel en­able quick-fire gear changes.

In ad­di­tion to the nor­mal driv­ing modes there’s the F sports mode, which locks the torque con­verter in sec­ond to eighth gears and changes the throt­tle char­ac­ter­is­tics, steer­ing as­sis­tance and chas­sis set­tings.

The IS F brought a new feel­ing of free­dom to the oth­er­wise staid Lexus brand, one with an im­pres­sive per­for­mance edge her­alded by a throaty roar.

NOW

Lexus has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for build qual­ity, a great start to a long and re­li­able life of driv­ing. There is the odd re­port of a prob­lem with the IS F but there are no se­ri­ous is­sues we can re­port.

If pressed, some own­ers note the ride can be firm but that comes with the ter­ri­tory — the F is a per­for­mance car and the sus­pen­sion set­tings re­flect that.

For any­one con­tem­plat­ing buy­ing one it’s im­por­tant that they carry out a test drive to thor­oughly fa­mil­iarise them­selves with all as­pects of the car and re­as­sure them­selves they can live with it.

An is­sue that of­ten crops up is the life of the brakes — one of the things that can af­fect a per­for­mance car, and it seems that it does with the IS F. Most ac­cept that it’s a part of the own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence. When con­duct­ing a pre‒pur­chase test­drive lis­ten for squeak­ing rear brakes, it’s a sign the brakes will soon need re­plac­ing.

As with any ve­hi­cle, ser­vic­ing is cru­cial to main­tain­ing re­li­a­bil­ity, and reg­u­lar oil and fil­ter changes are nec­es­sary to help keep the en­gine fir­ing in fine fet­tle.

Check the ser­vice book to make sure your po­ten­tial pur­chase has been ser­viced as per the Lexus rec­om­men­da­tion.

There was a re­call in the past few weeks to rec­tify an is­sue with the gas­ket be­tween the fuel pres­sure sen­sor and fuel de­liv­ery pipe that could re­sult in a fuel leak, with the pos­si­bil­ity of a fire.

SMITHY SAYS

The IS F is fast and loud, like a sports car should be. Buy with con­fi­dence.

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