No matching results

Recent Articles

Popular Makes

Body Types

2022 Lexus IS 500 V8 Road Test and Review

Ron Sessions
by Ron Sessions
December 9, 2021
5 min. Reading Time
2022 Lexus IS 500 ・  Photo by Ron Sessions

2022 Lexus IS 500 ・ Photo by Ron Sessions

The Lexus brand’s sportiest 4-door sedan just got sportier for 2022 with a new V8-powered IS 500 F Sport Performance model. Last used in the IS F from 2008 to 2014, the 5.0-liter V8 gives the small, rear-drive sedan the power and performance to match its excellent handling and muscular good looks.

The 2022 IS 500 is distinguishable from lesser-grade IS models by its none-too-subtle hood bulge rising nearly two inches and its extended nose that stretches the V8-powered about two inches as well. Other IS 500 cues include standard 19-inch Enkei alloy wheels and stacked quad exhaust outlets adapted from the now-departed Lexus GS F. Combined with the larger and more evocative spindle grille, dagger-like LED headlamps, L-shaped daytime running lamps, full-width LED rear light signature, sharply creased rockers and rear doors, semi-fastback roof, and kick-up trunk spoiler introduced for 2021, the new IS 500 has curb appeal and road presence in spades.

Inside, the new IS 500 benefits from a revised multimedia system with an 8- or 10.3-inch touchscreen that has been moved nearly 6 inches closer to the driver and front passenger.

Lexus offers the new IS 500 F Sport in three trims. Including the $1,075 destination charge, these include the $57,575 Performance, the $62,075 Performance Premium, and the $68,475 Performance Launch Edition.

The Lexus IS 500 competes with performance sedans such as the BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43, Cadillac CT5-V, and Audi S4/S5, among others.

V8 Is a Retro Blast

With the 472-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 nestled under the bulging hood of the Lexus IS, the short-coupled rear-drive 4-door sedan makes good on the aggressive looks of its exterior. The IS 500 F Sport is the Lexus brand’s top-performing sedan, good for a 4.4-second blast from zero to 60 mph, which is more than a second quicker than the 3.5-liter V6-powered IS 350 can muster.

The V8 is a rare treat in a segment that’s gone almost exclusively to turbocharged 4- or 6-cylinder power in recent years and is heading for hybrid gas-electric or full-battery electric propulsion in the future. The 5.0-liter Lexus V8 has a wonderful soundtrack, lusty and full-bodied at low engine speeds and in full song as it nears its 7,100-rpm power peak and rev limit. With its maximum 395 lb-ft of torque not reached until 4,800 rpm, the IS 500 isn’t quite as quick off the line as some of its turbocharged V6 competitors. But it really comes alive in its upper range.

The IS 500’s lusty 472-hp V8 is paired with an 8-speed automatic and includes steering-wheel shift paddles for manual shift control. The gearbox is smooth shifting around town and swaps gears decisively at wider throttle openings, but can be a bit lazy grabbing a wide-open-throttle downshift.

EPA fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined. In 145 miles of driving around town and enthusiastically exploring rural 2-lane highways, I observed 22.6 mpg on the IS 500’s trip computer.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Command and Control

The Lexus IS cabin is tidy and business-like for the serious business of performance driving with good quality materials throughout. Upscale touches include a traditional dash-mounted analog clock and French stitching on the doors, dash, console, and seats. Contrasting aluminum foot pedal trim and reconfigurable driver instrumentation adapted from the LFA supercar, which changes with different drive modes, puts a performance spin on things. Nothing is glitzy or gimmicky.

The form-fitting front bucket seats are constructed with generous lateral lower torso and thigh bolsters that keep their occupants planted on twisty roads, yet are not tiring or uncomfortable on long highway trips. Padded console sides aid knee comfort during cornering. The IS 500’s front seats are power adjustable, heated and ventilated, and covered in perforated NuLuxe synthetic material. The driver grips a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Also standard are rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access, pushbutton start, and a power tilt and slide moonroof.

Cabin storage is in short supply. There’s room in the door pockets for beverages and road-trip items. But beyond two cup holders and a small covered bin under the center armrest, not much stash space exists in or on the console because the remote infotainment touchpad, drive mode selector and seat heat/ventilation controls dominate it.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Infotainment System

The 2022 Lexus IS 500 gets the revised infotainment system that debuted in all IS models last year. It is now almost 6 inches closer to the driver and front passenger than it was in 2020 and earlier IS models, making it usable as a touchscreen. The previous console-mounted remote-touch interface also continues.

The IS 500 system features wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (requiring a USB cable connection) as well as Lexus+Alexa compatibility. Dynamic voice command is included for the first 10 years of ownership. A three-month trial of Lexus Enform 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi is also included.

For tunes, the “base” IS 500 F Sport Performance model features a 10-speaker Pioneer AM/FM stereo, HD Radio with traffic flow and weather, and a three-month trial of SiriusXM satellite radio.

The IS 500 F Sport Performance Premium trim upgrades to an immersive 1800-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound premium audio system.

There are two center touchscreens (base 8-inch or a 10.3-inch display and navigation that’s standard with the IS 500 F Sport Performance Premium trim) within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. The tricky-to-use console touchpad from previous years still functions, but the touchscreen is now the go-to device for most infotainment interactions. Beneath the analog clock and climate control buttons and flanking the CD player are user-friendly analog volume and tuning knobs for quick adjustments on the fly. Steering wheel and voice controls can also be used to access the infotainment system.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Cozy Back Seat

The IS 500 seats five, but only four comfortably. The outboard rear seat cushions are carved out to net a bit more headroom and legroom, but 6-footers will be cramped back there unless the driver and front passenger scoot their seats forward a few inches. Also, because of the coupe-like sloping roofline, adult passengers must duck getting in and out of the rear seat. Although rearward visibility isn’t great in the IS 500, it’s improved by rear seat head restraints that can be lowered nearly flush with the tops of the seatbacks.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Tidy Trunk

The IS 500 offers 10.8 cubic feet of luggage capacity. That’s sufficient space for about four airport roller bags but less space than that available in the Audi S4 and Mercedes-AMG C43. It's also considerably less space than in the BMW M340. The rear seatbacks are split 60/40, and when folded down, they provide space for longer items like golf clubs and skis as well as more luggage. There is also a small amount of concealed storage available under the trunk floor around the spare tire for valuables such as a camera, wallet, or cellphone.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Rolling Stock

The IS 500 F Sport Performance model is shod with staggered-size Bridgestone 225/40R19 front and wider 265/35R19 rear summer tread tires rolling on exclusive 19-inch Enkei wheels. At the rear, a standard Torsen limited-slip differential aids grip both on the highway and when cornering. Upsized brakes with two-piece 14-inch aluminum front rotors and 12.7-inch rear rotors run cooler with linear, fade-free stops from highway speeds; however, pedal travel is longer and top-of-pedal response is not as immediate as you might expect.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Driving Dynamics

When the entire IS lineup was updated last year, the 2021 model was the first to benefit from development work done at Toyota’s new Nurburgring-inspired Shimoyama test track. As a result of that testing, the IS’s body stiffness was increased and weight was shaved from chassis components to improve handling response.

With the IS 500 F Sport Performance model’s standard variable adaptive dampers, the V8-powered sports sedan offers a good mix of ride quality and handling precision, keeping it balanced and composed over a wide range of roads and surfaces. It handles ruts, small road dips, and bumps in stride while providing firm vertical body control where needed that’s totally in character for a Lexus product.

The IS 500 F Sport Performance doesn’t forget its luxury roots. Though firm, the ride won’t beat you up. The IS 500 delivers precise steering with good turn-in response and just-right weighting, making it feel nimble around town and composed on winding back roads.

Rotating the console-mounted drive mode selector knob to Sport+ firms up the steering assist and adaptive damping force, quickens throttle response and keeps engine revs higher for a sportier response.


 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Safety and Driver-Assistive Tech

Unlike most of its European competitors, Lexus includes most of its advanced driving-assist systems as standard equipment. For 2022, the Lexus IS 500 is equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 suite of ADAS and related safety features. This includes forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist, and junction-turning detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance with haptic steering-wheel feedback, lane-centering assistance, automatic high-beam and road-sign assistance, and smart adaptive cruise control with stop and go capability.

Also standard but not part of the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 are blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, a sonar-based front and rear parking assist system with automatic emergency braking, and a 360-degree monitor that displays an overhead view of the Lexus IS, its projected path, and its immediate surroundings.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the 2022 Lexus IS 500 with five stars overall. It awarded four stars for frontal crash performance and five stars for side impacts and rollover resistance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet published crash test results for the 2022 Lexus IS. The IIHS, however, did name the Lexus IS a 2021 Top Safety Pick + and rated it "Good" for small and moderate offset front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints, and seat performance.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions

Balanced Power, Luxury, and Handling

With a 472-hp V8 powering the rear wheels, the 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance is the first of a new line of F Sport Performance vehicles from the luxury automaker. The new IS 500 brings the thrilling performance of a naturally aspirated V8 engine to a tidy, agile, and fun-to-drive compact rear-drive sports sedan and delivers a balanced driving experience entirely in keeping with Lexus luxury expectations.

 Photo by Ron Sessions

Photo by Ron Sessions


Interested in Getting a New Car?

Used Cars Near You

No Data Available

Powered by Usedcars.com
©2024 AutoWeb, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Some content provided by and under copyright by Autodata, Inc. dba Chrome Data. © 1986-2024.