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2008 Lexus IS F

Overview
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2008 Lexus IS F Review

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Recalibrate your image of Lexus. The 416-horsepower 2008 Lexus IS F, the fastest production Lexus ever, will be the first of many from the brand to compete with the BMW M series, Mercedes-AMG and aftermarket tuners. Coupled to the Lexus IS F's 5.0-liter V8 is an automatic transmission that upshifts in a race-car-like 0.1 second. Expect similar factory hot rods from Lexus: F-Sport accessories are already on sale. (An "F" surrounded by a circle is Lexus' internal symbol for a special project. Also, the logo is said to resemble Turn One at Fuji Speedway.) Lexus says that many IS F buyers will have owned Japanese performance cars such as the Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru WRX STi and Toyota Supra Turbo.

You'll Like This Car If...

You'll love the IS F if you want to know (kind of) what it feels like to drive a race car and you don't mind spending time in traffic court. A better, safer and definitely wiser option: Explore the IS F's lofty limits at a car-club event at a race track.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you enjoy the comfortable, quiet ride of the ES 350 and think it's plenty powerful, the IS F is not for you. On uneven roads, the ride can be harsh, and its 19-inch-diameter super-low-profile tires and wheels may be susceptible to damage from potholes.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2008 Lexus IS F is built on the same chassis as the IS 350 and 250. A 416-horspower V8, which replaces the IS 350's 306-horse power V6, is coupled to what Lexus says is the fastest-shifting automatic in a production car. Other features include a race-track tuned suspension and giant brakes.

Driving the IS F

Driving Impressions When we pressed on the 2008 Lexus IS F's throttle, our first impression was that Lexus' claimed horsepower figures were more than a bit conservative. After...

two upshifts we were shattering the highest speed limit in the U.S. We didn't disarm the IS F's stability control for the curvy sections, but, unlike similar systems, it allowed very aggressive driving before it kicked in. With wider rear tires and 54 percent of its weight on the front wheels, the IS F can lose front grip first if you get into a corner too fast -- but by that time you'll be going way too fast for public roads, anyway. On the other hand, that chassis behavior is ideal for overly aggressive street driving or track-day novices. On the whole, the ride comfort is perfectly acceptable on smooth roads, but -- understandably, given the car's capabilities -- not so terrific over uneven pavement.

Eight-Speed Transmission
The 2008 Lexus IS F's eight-speed automatic allows anyone to shift almost as fast as a professional racer: Lexus says it's the world's fastest-shifting automatic. Upshifts take 0.1 seconds, downshifts occur in 0.2 seconds and include an automatic throttle blip to match the speeds of the engine, transmission and drive wheels.

Paddle Shifters
In the transmission's manual mode, shifting is accomplished with Formula 1-style steering-wheel-mounted paddles. So that drivers can focus on the road, the car gives a single beep when it's about time to upshift. A double beep means the driver tried to downshift at too high a speed.

2008 Lexus IS F Details
Interior

Even passengers will notice they're in an IS F: The F symbol is everywhere. There's an F between the speedometer and tachometer, on the headrests, on the steering wheel, on the console, on the side of each seat and several more places. At speed, the IS F leather-trimmed seats provide excellent lateral support.

Exterior

It's not difficult to distinguish the 2008 Lexus IS F from its IS siblings. First, there's the "F" badging on front fenders and trunk. Next are wider fenders to accommodate wider tires, vents behind the front wheels to reduce aerodynamic lift at high speed and a larger rear spoiler to help keep the rear tires planted to the pavement. Also, the IS F gets its own grille with a wider opening to help cool the V8. To accommodate the larger engine, the hood has a raised center section. Brake cooling ducts are located next to the foglamps. In the rear are quad exhaust outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

If you build a car capable of 170 miles per hour (and more without its electronic speed limiter), you'd better be able to get it slowed down in a hurry. Lexus had Brembo build extra-large brakes and BBS produce 19-inch wheels to accept them. The front vented and drilled brake discs are 14.2 inches in diameter and surrounded by six-piston aluminum brake calipers. On the rear are two-piston calipers on 13.6-inch rotors.

Optional Equipment

Among the few options available on the 2008 Lexus IS F is a 300-watt sound system with 14 speakers and a six-disc in-dash DVD/CD changer. Those who park their IS F in tight places will want the backup video camera and the sonar-based system that warns of unseen objects. Other options include a DVD-based navigation system.

Under the Hood

For the IS F, Lexus replaced the IS 350's 306-horsepower V6 with an enhanced version of the 4.6-liter V8 used in the LS and GS. To bump horsepower to 416, Lexus engineers added, among other things, electrically (rather than the common hydraulically) controlled variable intake valve timing. This feature is maximized with titanium intake valves, which are lighter and stronger than steel. Also, maximum engine speed was upped from 6500 to 6800 rpm. Torque is down 14 pound-feet and occurs 1200 rpm higher than in the LS 600h L. The eight-speed automatic, based on that in the LS 460, upshifts only about 0.05-second slower than that of a Formula 1 car. Traction and stability control can be adjusted to allow for a more dynamic drive with the touch of the "Sport" mode switch on the dash, or the system can be disarmed completely.

5.0-liter V8
416 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
371 lb.-ft. @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23

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2008 Lexus IS F Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 388 Ratings for the 2006 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

can't think of anything wrong with this vehicle.

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive. cost of ownership is very low."

Cons: "road noise over rough surfaces"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"306 hp and 25 mpg avg is a very good combination. quick, great handling, all the goodies Lexus is known for. 130,000 miles and all I've done is oil changes, tires and brakes. still runs like new. the only reason to get a new car is boredom."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

It is by far the best car I have ever owned.

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Power, handling, styling, just a great car."

Cons: "No blackberry or navigation system."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great car for my needs. Drove a V-6 Toyota Camry SE which was a great car but my IS350 is even better. Hope to keep it for another 6 years at least ..."

fun car great value for entry level lexus

By on Thursday, August 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price,very stylish,fun to drive,very reliabl"

Cons: "ride is a little too stiff. could use more hp."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"i.ve owned a 1997 lexus es300 . my wife has a 2008 lexus es350. i have the is250 awd. all are very reliable and very stylish. the is250 awd is great for northeast winters. i live in buffalo,ny. i get up to 25 mpg. it has a sport tuned suspension with tight steering.sometimes it makes for a bumpy ride on rough roads compared to the more luxurious ride of the es350. i've driven the new 2014 is250 it comes with a switch that puts you in sport mode or normal which is much smoother than my 2008. that being said that is my only complaint about the car. also it could use a few more hp. it comes with 206 hp vs 282 hp on the es350."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Still loving it

By on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Head turner, fun to drive-quick!"

Cons: "Rear wheel tough on ice but loved 360 days"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a great car. It has every feature/ option the 350 had available. Rear camera, rear shade, great comfy seating, Bluetooth, navigation, 6cd has great sound. This was my first Lexus. I bought it used and love it ."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Good looking, fun car!

By on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good looking .. Fun to drive"

Cons: "Cup holder location, road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We absolutely love the looks of this car. Gorgeous red exterior and cream interior. It is also a very comfortable ride. We have only owned it for about 8 months, and put very low miles on her. The only negatives are the proximity of the cup holder to the shifter .. a little cramped. If you need the second cup holder, you have to slide your arm rest back out of the way to get to the cup holder inside the console area. Road noise is an issue as well. Our car does have the navigation, which we love, but we do not have memory seats, which would have been a huge positive for us. All in all we love our IS."

8 people out of 18 found this review helpful

the finest automobile i ever owned

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"this car made driving fun again . very sporty feel tight suspension . its a four door luxury sports car . the only thin i would have changed was the rear leg room. i kno u say then u should have bought the gs or es . they r old peoles cars . the is rocks"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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