Lexus IS F | Spotted

Not nearly as thrilling as the C63 and M3 when new, but the IS F has arguably come into its own with age

By Cam Tait / Friday, 9 December 2022 / Loading comments

You know the world’s gone mad when you can pick up a V8 saloon for the same price as a joyless supermini. You have your pick of E90 M3s, B7 RS4 ands W204 C63 AMGs with £20,000 burning a hole in your pocket, giving you all the V8 thunder you could ever want with practicality to boot.

There’s one outlier among the super saloons of the late noughties, however. No matter how many times you spam the refresh button the PH Classifieds, Lexus IS F values just won’t budge. Whereas the rest of its contemporaries were hit hard by depreciation and have yet to succumb to the sort of price rises that are affecting, well, pretty much everything in the world, the IS F continues to hold steady. 

Remarkable what strong build quality and a good reliability record can do for a performance car’s value. Many PHers will know the feeling of buying a cheap V8 in the hope that the horror stories won’t befall them, only to be slapped with a maintenance bill so crippling that you’re left wondering whether to sell the thing or remortgage the house. But the IS F is one of the few V8s saloons in existence that probably won’t give you reliability-related night terrors, with Lexus proving that its performance cars are as bombproof as premium barges and SUVs.

Perhaps it’s because the IS F was relatively low on frills compared to its rivals. The experience is dominated by the engine, a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 producing 423hp, 372lb ft of torque and one hell of an exhaust note. Performance was on a par with its rivals, too, with 0-62mph coming in 4.6 seconds, helped by a snappy eight-speed automatic gearbox – a world first for a production car. That being said, it was around 35kg heavier than the E90 M3 and came with passive dampers, meaning there was no way to slacken off the notoriously firm ride.

That’s where this particular car comes in, though. It’s one of the last of the line, having been registered in 2012, and is therefore one of the sought-after facelifted cars. While visual changes were kept to a minimum, Lexus reworked the suspension with a softer front end, stiffer rear and beefier anti-roll bars, along with a Torsen limited-slip differential. Granted, it didn’t transform the IS F into a track demon – retaining the laid-back attitude Lexus is known for – but it did add a layer of precision that was arguably lacking on pre-facelifted cars.

Now it’s time to do the maths. The IS F already carries a premium thanks to its reliability, with the newer models commanding even more owing to its numerous chassis improvements. Add in the 50,000-mile odometer reading – barely run-in for a Lexus – full dealer service history and pretty much every option under the sun, and you’re looking at a price of £29,495. A brave individual can save £10k and pick up a leggy M3 or C63 to scratch the V8 itch – but for those looking to avoid the dread of wondering whether their car’s dashboard will hold their own Christmas lights switch-on celebration, look no further. 


Engine: 4,968cc V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 423[email protected],600rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],200rpm
MPG: 24.8
CO2: 283g/km
Year registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 50,000
Price new: £55,995
Yours for: £29,495

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