The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Z_CNHI News Service

September 3, 2013

Ridiculously muscular Lexus IS F combines speed with elegance

If you're looking for a comfortable, quiet Lexus that would make your grandma happy, you can skip this one.

While it looks a lot like the IS sedan on the outside, what's under the skin makes this car — the 2013 IS F — a Lexus unlike any other.

And it's completely insane.

Lexus started with its basic IS sports sedan platform, which is small by luxury-car standards, and managed to squeeze a 5.0-liter V8 engine under the hood. That's the same displacement as a Ford Mustang GT, and its 416 horsepower can take this car from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

Now that all 500 copies of the LFA supercar are sold out, that means the IS F is the best performing Lexus you can buy today. And the LFA's $375,000 price tag makes the IS F's sub-$62,000 price look like pocket change in comparison.

It's hard to overstate how different this car is from the normal, $36,000 IS 250 you see on the road all the time.

In addition to the monster engine, it's got freakishly big, cross-drilled brake discs to bring it to a stop, along with a suspension that was tuned to confidently handle some of the fastest racetracks in the world. That's important for a car that can reach 170 mph.

One of my favorite things about it, though, is its eight-speed automatic transmission.

Think it's crazy to put an automatic in a thoroughbred sports sedan like this? I did, too, until I drove it and felt how quickly and precisely it shifts — sometimes changing gears within a tenth of a second — to provide the same visceral thrill and instant gratification that I usually get from a manual transmission.

Overall, the driving feel isn't as raw as you get from a BMW M3 or Mercedes C63 AMG. I spent a few hours driving it on the Interstate and didn't feel fatigued, even with the firm suspension and sport-oriented seats with lots of side bolstering, which is a good sign for people who want to use this as an everyday get-to-work car instead of a weekend toy.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo