If you’re a traditionalist, and agree that a real sports sedan ought to be laid out longitudinally, with the rear wheels (or optionally, all four) driven, and an overabundance of power feeding the drivetrain. That’s what Lexus accomplished with the recent rollout of its IS 500 F SPORT, a car that discards the normal IS V-6 and substitutes a roaring 5.0-liter V-8 that thumps out 472 horsepower (at 7,100 RPM!) and breathes noisily through vertically stacked quad exhaust outlets. Real hubba-hubba stuff, this. Nevertheless, Lexus used the occasion of the past weekend’s 12 Hours of Sebring to introduce an even more dear variant of this hot four-door.
The Lexus IS 500 F SPORT Launch Edition, to use its full name, is being offered in a run of just 500 units for sale in North America only. The color choices are expanded by one with the Launch Edition-specific shade of Incognito – you gotta love it – and the interior will feature two-tone Ultrasuede treatment on the seats, interior door panels and even on the center console. The standard heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel also receives a specific wood inlay in silver ash. The passenger cabin will also be adorned with a serialized Launch Edition badge. The F SPORT dash display will even have Launch Edition-themed animation on initial startup. Lighter (by about four pounds per corner) 19-inch BBS wheels complete the package, which also encompasses the current Lexus bowtie grille theme, anything but incognito to us.