Last month, Lexus introduced the enthusiast-oriented IS 500 F Sport Performance, to give it its full – and rather inelegant – name. But no car worth its salt can be sold without a Launch Edition these days, so here’s one that adds even more words to the alphabet soup.
Awkward it may be, but the moniker does bring with it a number of covetable aesthetic goodies. For a start, the Launch Edition gets an exclusive Incognito paint finish, a sort of flat grey that is a first for Lexus. Also fitted are lightweight 19-inch matte black BBS alloy wheels from the standard IS‘ F Sport Dynamic Handling Package, replacing the IS 500’s Enkei items.
Inside, the Launch Edition adds black and grey Ultrasuede upholstery, a silver ash wood-trimmed steering wheel, exclusive instrument display startup animation and a serialised badge on the centre console to highlight the car’s exclusivity. Just 500 units will be built, and as with the “regular” IS 500, these cars will also be limited to the United States. Sorry, guys.
Mechanically, the Launch Edition is identical to the IS 500, which is a very good thing. That’s because it comes with the same sonorous 2UR-GSE 5.0 litre naturally-aspirated V8 from the excellent LC 500, producing 472 hp at 7,100 rpm and 536 Nm of torque at 4,800 rpm. Paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it enables the car to get from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.5 seconds.
The IS 500 also won’t be short on handling prowess, coming as standard with adaptive dampers and a Torsen limited-slip differential. There’s also a Yamaha performance damper to absorb unwanted chassis vibrations, plus larger brakes with improved cooling. Look out for the IS 500 and the Launch Edition to arrive in American dealers in the autumn.
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