Last week, we here at EveryGuyed had the pleasure of traveling to Las Vegas to check out Lexus’ line of high-performance F Sport vehicles out on the track. Since its introduction in 2008 with the release of the Lexus IS F and a line of performance parts packages for existing base models, the “F” badge has become synonymous with Lexus’ unique ability to combine high-end luxury with competitive performance. Unlike so many car companies that slap ‘performance’ badges on their vehicles, Lexus’ F line denotes a separate vehicle development process that focuses on high-output powertrains; sure there’s the kind of aggressive styling one might expect, but ultimately performance is built right down to DNA of the cars.
When Toyota first looked to enter the luxury market, their prototype was designated as the “F-1″ and many initial Lexus’ were testing on the Fuji Speedway, which is why when Lexus looked to create a performance offshoot of their vehicles ‘F’ was the logical designation.
F Sport options are available in the Lexus LS, GS, IS, IS C, CT, and even RX models. On the whole, F Sport editions include a variety of performance parts (from exhausts, to tuned engines and suspensions), which you can take full advantage of by simply twisting a dial from “Eco” to “Normal” or ultimately “Sport +”, which fine tunes the throttle, suspension, and steering to various degrees; creating a totally different driving experience from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Along with being able to experience the entire F-Sport line for ourselves, Lexus has a few special options available to us: driving around the track in the Lexus LFA or IS F CCS-R with pro drivers Scott Pruett and Ken Gushi, respectively. Assembled entirely by hand by ‘Takumi’ masters, only 500 LFA’s exist and they had two on hand for us to experience. Needless to say the LFA’s 550hp and 354ft-lb.’s of torque made for one exhilarating ride. But as Scott Pruett was quick to point out, a simple twist of a dial adjusts the suspension and softens the guttural exhaust note, making this one of the few legitimate super-cars that you can use as an everyday driver.
To cap off the day, pro drifting driver Ken Gushi climbed into a Lexus IS F for a little Vegas-style drifting. The recent competitor in the iconic Pikes Peak International Climb contest, Ken is no stranger to letting a cars back-end get a little loose. We were honestly amazed at how Gushi was able to turn a street legal luxury car into a tire-spinning, exhaust howling monster with ease. Though lady luck wasn’t on my side when it came to placing bets on this unique #driftingroullette demonstration, witnessing what this car can do for more than enough reward.
Video Source: Gunaxin
For those who might already have a Lexus without that coveted ‘F’ badge, individual performance and appearance parts allow drivers to upgrade their vehicle step-by-step with the confidence of a factory warranty. F Sport Performance Accessories including springs, shocks, sway bars, brake components, and intake and exhaust systems, are engineered and tested to the same Lexus standards required of factory parts.
In the end it seems hard to believe that a company like Lexus, so long known for creating staid luxury vehicles of the highest quality (but perhaps lacking soul in the engine department), would be making seriously compelling sport sedans as at home on the track as they are on the streets. Sure, riding in the LFA is like being “…somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold”, but even a large sedan like the Lexus GS benefits from the F Sport tuning, with as much power and handling as it has leg room. At the end of the day as the smoke cleared and the smell of rubber dissipated, I knew Lexus and their F Sport series had won me over when I took the keys out of the IS 250 F Sport I was driving and instinctively put them in my pocket. For more images of the Lexus F Sport Las Vegas event, scroll down.