Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance whets V-8 appetites with limited-run Launch Edition


Lexus will welcome the V-8-powered IS 500 F Sport Performance compact luxury sedan into the fold with an honorary Launch Edition. The special IS 500 will be limited to just 500 serialized units, sold exclusively here in North America.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Launch Edition front three quarter

Launch Edition cars will have a smattering of special touches, most notably the striking gray exterior paint pictured here—dubbed Incognito by Lexus. (The photos make it tough to tell, but the color appears to be a riff on Audi’s popular Nardo Gray, perhaps with a tinge of blue.)

When the IS 500 F Sport Performance was unveiled, we celebrated Lexus’ decision to stuff its operatic 5.0-liter V-8 into this little sedan. There’s no power upgrade for the Launch Edition cars, but we don’t consider the naturally aspirated V-8’s 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque scant by any measure. Also a plus: Peak power doesn’t arrive until 7100 rpm, meaning you’ll have to wring the engine hard to get the most out of it. Given Lexus’ track record of fantastic-sounding V-8s (not to mention the LFA’s miraculous V-10), we expect a soulful tune from the four exhaust pipes, stacked vertically two to a side.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Launch Edition side profile

Inside, the Launch Edition cars get a special two-tone black and gray Ultrasuede interior, prominently featured on both rows of seats, the door accents, and the center console. That center console also boasts the serialized plate denoting which of the 500 Launch Edition cars you purchased. Continuing with the black and gray theme, there’s subtle-but-classy silver ash wood in the steering wheel and on the window switches. There’s also a new startup animation specific to the Launch Edition that will dance across the instrument cluster.

One performance upgrade that the Launch Edition does present: 19-inch forged alloy BBS wheels from the standard IS F Sport’s Dynamic Handling Package, which are four pounds lighter per wheel than the standard alloys. That reduction in unsprung mass will bolster the IS 500 F Sport’s agility, and we’d expect these wheels to come as part of a handling package for standard-run IS 500 F Sport Performance models.

There’s no word on just how much each of thees 500 units will cost when they arrive at dealerships later this fall, but expect the Launch Edition to command a modest premium. We’re looking forward to getting the chance to climb behind the wheel of the last remaining naturally aspirated V-8 in this class.

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