Forbidden fruit: Lexus' new IS 500 F Sport packs a V8, but comes with a catch
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With emission regulations tightening up around the world, manufacturers are having to turn to plug-in hybrid cars to avoid steep fines, and in turn, large displacement engines such as V8s are being phased out.
Considering all the hybrid vehicles in its range, Lexus obviously has the freedom to offer enthusiasts a final hoorah for its much-loved 5.0-litre V8, unveiling the IS 500 F Sport overnight.
Packing the same V8 that we've seen in the RC F for some time now, this sedan makes a healthy 351kW and 550Nm. Sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed transmission, this is enough to propel it to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Like any good V8-powered sedan, an LSD handles power distribution at the rear. Lexus notes that the rear damper has been tuned by Yamaha, which is said to increase agility, low-speed comfort, and high-speed stability.
While the IS 500 F Sport isn't as hardcore when it comes to performance or exterior looks, it still gets the stacked quad exhaust pipes that were famously worn by the IS F back in the day.
The other exterior change comes in the form of the bulging hood that makes room for that massive V8. Those of us who remember the Ford Falcon will make the XR8 connection here.
Drivers will be able to choose from a range of driving modes in this IS 500. These include Sport S and Sport S+, which set the transmission, steering, and suspension damping to the most extreme settings.
When it comes to pricing and availability, things get disappointing. Lexus revealed that this IS 500 is destined exclusively for the North American market, meaning that it won't even be built in right-hand drive.