With less that 5,300 units produced, amazing performance, and legendary Lexus reliability, is the Lexus IS F a future collectible?
When it comes to collectible cars, the list has always been dominated by European brands such as Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes. However, in recent years, we have seen Japanese vehicles start to pique the interest of collectors. There is the Toyota GT2000, Toyota Mark IV Supra, Nissan R32, and a host of other Japanese vehicles. Is the Lexus IS F a future collectible?
Will any Lexus vehicle ever catch the eye of collectors?
There is of course the Lexus LFA. Built between 2011 and 2012, only 500 cars were made worldwide. This is about 20 per month. However, as of 2019, Lexus had 9 brand new, never registered LFAs available for purchase.
Personally, I think that all of the Lexus “F” cars are likely candidates for future collectibles. While there is the LFA, the most exotic of the “F” cars, there is also the Lexus GS F, RC, F, and Lexus IS F.
What is Lexus F?
While BMW and Mercedes Benz had their most desirable “halo” cars in the form of “M-“ and “AMG”, Lexus built their halo cars under the Lexus “F” marque. While BMW, Mercedes, and an assortment of other manufacturers such as Cadillac with their “V-“ marque continue to invest in their halo brands, this is no longer the case with Lexus and its “F” marque. The GS F went out of production in August of 2020, and while the RC F is still in production, the LC F was canceled earlier this year as a result of the pandemic.
The first Lexus “F” car, the IS F was announced in September 2001 would debut at the North American International Auto Show in January of 2007. It was at this same show that Lexus debuted the concept for the LF-A, the precursor to the production Lexus LFA.
What makes the IS F special?
While the Lexus IS F is the first vehicle to be manufactured under the “F” marque, there are several other things that make the IS F special, namely pedigree. The chief designer of the IS F, Yukihiko Yaguchi, previously worked on the Toyota Supra Mark IV.
What makes the engine powering the Lexus IS F special?
The underlying mechanicals driving the Lexus IS F also have pedigree on several fronts. The vehicle is powered by the 5.0 liter direct-injected 2UR-GSE producing 417 horsepower at 6600 rpm, while peak torque of 371 lb-ft is achieved at 5200 RPM. The 2UR-GSE is derived from the Lexus UR-series of V8 engines. The engine powering the IS F is closest to the 2UR-FSE used in the 2008 LS 600h. They both share the same bore and stroke dimensions of 3.70 in x 3.52. It is here where the similarities to the 2UR-FSE end.
The Lexus LFA joins the ranks of the Porsche Carrera GT and Pagani Zonda as one of the best sounding cars ever made. Considering that the acoustics of the 1LR-GUE engine powering the LFA was designed by Yamaha, this should hardly come as a surprise. Like the LFA, the 2UR-GSE powering the IS F was co-engineered by Yamaha’s Formula One (F1) engine program. The project brief was to deliver “limitless depth of power, response, and sound” in addition to retaining the fuel economy, low emissions, and excellent output of its siblings.
Performance-oriented changes to the 2UR-GSE over the 2UR-FSE include a cast-aluminum intake manifold, new cylinder heads, and titanium intake values. Additionally, the engine features a forged crankshaft, connecting rods, and cam lobes. Additionally, at maximum acceleration above 3400 rpm, a secondary intake opened to allow for a better “breathing” engine at higher RPMs. As a result, the 2UR-GSE has more horsepower and torque at higher rpm, and 17 lb-ft less peak torque compared to the 2UR-FSE powering the LS600h, with hybrid-electric motors.
What makes the transmission powering the Lexus IS F special?
Moving power into forward motion is an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift (SPDS) automatic transmission derived from the transmission introduced in the 2007 Lexus LS, which was the first vehicle to carry an 8-speed transmission. The automatic transmission has a sequential shift that can lock up the torque converter from 2nd through 8 gears, allowing for shifts to occur in 0.1 seconds (100 ms), compared to 0.05 seconds (50 ms) for a Formula One racing car. The end result is a better fuel economy and lower overall fuel consumption than vehicles from its competitors at BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.
What about braking for the Lexus IS F?
Stopping the Lexus IS F are 6-piston front and 2-piston rear aluminum calipers on Brembo cross-drilled brake rotors, measuring 14.2 inches in diameter up front and 13.6 inches in the back. Tires are mounted on 19-inch BBS forged aluminum-alloy wheels.
What is the performance of the Lexus IS F?
You are likely wondering about the performance of the Lexus IS F. The IS F accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, 0 to 100 miles per hour in 11.8 seconds, and 0 to 120 miles per hour in 15.2 seconds, accelerating to a top speed of 168 miles per hour.
The IS F does the 1/8 mile in 9.0 seconds at 95 miles per hour and the ¼ mile in 13.4 seconds at 117 miles per hour. These stats are for a 2007 Lexus IS F. Times are better for a newer version of the IS F.
What car was the Lexus IS F targeted at?
The Lexus IS F took on the BMW M3, Audi RS4, and the Mercedes C63 AMG. However, according to chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi, the IS F was benchmarked to the BMW M3, adding “since we were coming after the M3, there were targets we had to hit, but those were not my target,” adding “there were some critical 0-60 targets, but most importantly that it had to be fund to drive.”
What are some popular Lexus IS F modifications?
The Lexus IS F has a normally aspirated V8 engine. As a result, there are not as many modification options available compared to a turbocharged engine.
Unlike with BMWs, tuning the ECU is not a simple modification. In fact, it is just recently that companies have figured out how to crack the ECU of the IS F.
For between $600 to $1,000, an ECU tune will beef up the IS Fs midrange performance in addition to the option of a higher rev limiter and a little more peak power. Tunes are also available for stock cars as well as combinations of intake, header, and exhaust-modified cars, the remaining modifications.
An intake and exhaust will boost the IS F to around 450 bhp while leaving peak torque the same as stock, but adding more torque higher in the rev range. As long as you are in there, you might as well add the headers.
A package deal consisting of an intake, exhaust, and header tune will take you to right around 500 horsepower. Adding an ECU tune to the mix is said to add 20 to 30 horsepower to a package tipping the scales at 3,700 pounds. The result is a vehicle that runs the ¼ mile in the low 12s to high 11s, making for a very fun combination on the streets.
What makes the Lexus IS F a likely future collectible?
Hopefully, I have made the case for the Lexus IS F being a future collectible. Leadership for the development of the project also worked on the legendary Toyota Supra Mark IV. The engine and transmission were co-developed by engineers from the Yamaha Formula One development team, the same team that co-developed the engine powering the legendary LFA that sought to improve the engine and transmission borrowed from the LS series. Additionally, it is competing against some of the best German performance cars of the era and much more reliable, and lastly, it is a pretty rare car. Manufactured between 2008 and 2013, right around 12,000 units were produced for worldwide consumption. Of that number, only 5,118 made it to US shores. With that, I hope I have made the case for “Is the Lexus IS F a future collectible?”