Lexus releases U.S. IS-F pricing


Lexus launched its IS-F in Japan last month, and will soon bring its M3-fighter stateside. However, until today, U.S. pricing remained little more than speculation. But the press release is out and pricing is official: the U.S.-spec Lexus IS-F will list for $56,000. BMW has yet to release U.S. pricing for its M3.

The all-new 2008 IS-F will target the BMW M3 and Audi RS4, delivering 416 horsepower and 371 ft.-lbs. of torque from a 5.0-liter V8 engine. It will eventually be offered as a two-door coupe, as well.

Much of the development of the new IS-F took place at Fuji Speedway and the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan. The IS-F is based on the rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS, which is equipped with a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. The IS-F engine is mated to the world's first eight-speed "direct sport-shift" transmission. A new torque-converter lock-up control was developed that allows for a direct, crisp gear change through the constant lock-up of the torque converter in second through eighth gears.

In Drive mode, the IS-F transmission performs smoothly, and the torque converter allows for quick 0-60 acceleration in 4.6 seconds. The transmission also features a manual mode operated via a pair of paddles. Downshifts are accompanied by automated throttle blips to match engine RPM to vehicle speed. Heavy-duty Brembo brakes with 14.2-inch discs and six-piston calipers ensure all the power is kept under control. The IS-F features custom-designed 19-inch forged alloy wheels -- with 225/40R19 sized rubber up front and 255/35R19 at the rear -- as standard.

Lexus claims the IS-F can hit a top speed of over 185 mph but the Japanese-spec IS-F will be electronically limited to about 110 mph. Lexus failed to address why the IS-F is limited to such a low speed as the car will undoubtedly be able to hit that speed in the 1/4 mile.

Lexus plans to sell 500 IS-Fs annually in its home market of Japan with U.S. sales estimated at 5,000 per year.