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2021 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance detailed: IS F successor goes BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 hunting with naturally aspirated V8

The new IS500 F Sport Performance (above) is the successor to the IS F.

The Lexus IS F sports sedan is finally back – kind of.

While it might have the vast majority of IS F ingredients, the sports sedan that Lexus just revealed is actually called IS500 F Sport Performance.

Yep, it’s not a new IS F in name – or to an extent execution – but the IS500 F Sport Performance is as good as it gets for now.

Again, the IS500 F Sport Performance barely strays from the IS F formula, with a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine also found under the bonnet, with it solely responsible for driving the rear wheels.

With up to 352kW of power at 7100rpm and 536Nm of torque at 4800rpm, IS500 F Sport Performance sprints from a standstill to 60mph (97km/h) in 4.5 seconds, with an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission swapping gears along the way.

  • 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance
  • 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance
  • 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance 2021 IS500 F Sport Performance

Now, if it wasn’t already obvious enough, the IS500 F Sport Performance isn’t a sporty-looking F Sport model, nor is it a full-fat F model. Instead, it slots in between as the first model in the new higher-performance F Sport Performance range.

This three-pronged strategy is similar to what BMW does with its M Sport, M Performance and M models, and what Mercedes does with its AMG Line and entry-level and flagship AMG models.

That said, on paper, the IS500 F Sport Performance lines up against the full-fat BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 more closely, but we digress.

Of course, there’s more to the IS500 F Sport Performance, with it also getting a bonnet bulge, a longer front bumper and fenders, 19-inch Enkei alloy wheels, larger brake discs (356mm front and 323mm rear), a rear lip spoiler and stacked quad exhaust tailpipes.

Black F Sport Performance side badging and Dark Chrome window trim round out the exterior upgrades, while the interior is elevated by a similarly branded sports steering wheel and scuff plates.

Also of note, the IS500 F Sport Performance builds upon the IS F Sport’s Torsen limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers with rear Yamaha performance shock absorbers.

The bad news? The IS500 F Sport Performance is exclusive to the North American market. With right-hand-drive production unavailable, Australia will have to wait for future F Sport Performance models.