Lexus IS F: Spotted

Credit where it's due to Lexus, it's a manufacturer that isn't afraid to do things differently. The LFA wasn't really like any other supercar by the time it came out, but what a supercar it turned out to be. And while all other premium manufacturers have downsized their sports coupe engines, Lexus has stuck with a V8 in the RC F. The cynical may argue it's because there isn't another engine to use, but we're not complaining about another 5.0-litre V8 that's still on sale.

No, really, this is the fast one
No, really, this is the fast one
That defiant spirit was alive and true with the RC F's predecessor too, the IS F. If you were to create your company's first performance model, the temptation would probably be to enter a less busy sector, or certainly one that contains a few duff cars. Not Lexus. It went straight for the M3 - in then-new V8 form - and the fantastic C63 AMG, formidable rivals for any car. The Audi RS4 was only recently off sale in 2008 too, a reminder that even Audi could do a sterling sports saloon. Tough gig.

Yet the Lexus was competitive. It didn't come romping home to crushing group test victories but it was, to use an overused phrase, in the mix; perhaps lower down the order, but not disgraced. The ride was tough and the gearbox a bit lethargic (the latter of which became more problematic when the dual-clutch M3 arrived), though the engine in particular came in for praise.

It was rare, too, which made it more interesting. Funnily enough it still is rare, in fact, arguably giving it more kudos as a secondhand purchase. When was the last time you saw one? Perhaps you can't remember, given the makeover to this Japanese saloon was a relatively subtle one, but it was likely to be a while ago. The British public doesn't like to divert from the German brand even where diesel saloon are concerned, so it probably shouldn't be surprising to see that attitude unchanged when it comes to V8s.

Look at the pipes, see
Look at the pipes, see
The rarity hasn't stopped the IS F from depreciating though, this black car the cheapest on PH at the moment at £15,995. £15K! 87,000 miles will put off some people, but it has been at a main dealer for all bar one of its services and looks to be in tip top condition. The spec is safe (can those tints be removed?) and it's worth noting that very few options could be added to the IS F so you don't need to worry much there. It does, pleasingly, have the optional sunroof.

However, what about those rivals? Nearly a decade on they still make a compelling case against the Lexus, even at a little more money. M3 saloons are difficult to come by, this E90 £3K more than the IS and the most affordable on PH. Doesn't it look cool? E92 coupes are around at £15K, though seemingly not many nice ones at the moment... Like the BMW the C63 is between the IS F and £20K for now, this silver saloon appearing to all intents and purposes really rather nice. And if you're willing to take an older design, plenty of those B7 RS4 saloons are within budget. Spoilt for choice...

So what'll it be? Dare you think differently? Can the Lexus's curio value win you over? Perhaps it has and you're enjoying life with an IS - as always, comments and thoughts are welcomed!

: 4,969cc, V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 423@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 373@5,200rpm
MPG: 24.4
CO2: 270g/km
First registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 87,000
Price new: £51,000
Yours for: £15,995

See the original advert here.





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Comments (113) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DBRacingGod 17 Aug 2017

    Was that interior part of a pre-GT86 collaboration purchase to sweeten the deal with Subaru? There is dishwater with more verve.

  • generationx 17 Aug 2017

    My boss has one of these and adores it. I must admit the V8 does sound pretty epic.

  • Slurms 17 Aug 2017

    I had one of these a few years ago and they're brilliant.

    Actually looks like Lexus Bristol have my old one for sale.

    Shame that the RC-F that replaced it lost much of the character.

  • Cable 17 Aug 2017

    I had one of these and loved every minute of it. I changed the exhaust for something a little fruitier (standard one is far too quiet for a performance V8) and that was glorious fun. I didn't find the gearbox 'lethargic', well, no worse than a ZF 8 speed anyway. The interior was fine and seats comfy. I'll be tempted to get one again in a few years.

  • Roger Irrelevant 17 Aug 2017

    I've been poring over these on Autotrader (all 11 of them), for a while now, as I'd really like to get one as a treat once I've finished doing up our house. I'd be after a 2010-on model as I understand they've got a slightly less firm ride, but then again I've heard people who have owned 2008/9 models say that the ride isn't actually that bad, so I guess I'd have to see for myself. The one thing that puts me off a bit (and I appreciate this sounds ludicrous and rather picky), is that the rear seats don't fold down. I know that's not too surprising for a car of this type, but as it would be my daily and not just a weekender it would be a bit of a pain. I'm not discounting them though so I'm really interested to see what people have to say about them on here.

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