Lexus IS F
Don’t let its suffix fool you: The letter F on this Lexus has nothing to do with failing. In fact, the Lexus IS F passes every test with flying colors. When BMW dropped a V-8 into the new M3, Lexus knew that its IS sports sedan would need a hefty supply of horsepower to keep up. By borrowing the 5-liter V-8 from a stablemate—the Lexus LS 600h L—the IS F rivals the BMW’s 414-hp output and reaches 60 mph in a respectable 4.6 seconds. Paired to an 8-speed sport-shift automatic transmission—which can be operated via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel—the engine delivers all the power to its rear wheels while attaining up to 23 mpg on the highway. The IS F also features a beefy Brembo brake system consisting of 14.2-inch front discs with 6-piston calipers and 13.6-inch rear discs with 2-piston calipers, to rein in all 416 hp and 371 ft-lbs of torque. Finally, here’s a Lexus that makes the grade for the performance crowd.
Pros: The first real performance car from Lexus.
Cons: Has a hard time keeping pace with the BMW M3 around a track.