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