LOW PROFILE: It may not look dangerous, but the IS F turns cautious drivers into speed demons.
photography courtesy of Toyota


 

Sliding behind the wheel of the Lexus IS F, I knew I had some decisions to make. As in, how far should I venture into the upper end of the 185 mile-per-hour speedometer? What do I have to do to get the $64,000 to pay for this car?

And, when I get a speeding ticket, can I expense it?


The stark but comfortable interior was the first clue that this car is all business. Couple that with 8-speed manumatic paddle shifters and the deep growl of quad stainless steel exhaust pipes, and you’ve got a serious sports car.


With 416 horsepower, the F in IS F could stand for fast—or for freakin’ fast—but you won’t be thinking about silly things like words when you’re the pilot of this rocket.

 

 
THE LOWDOWN: Sticker price: $64,178; Engine: 416 HP 5.0-L V-8; MPG: 16 city, 23 highway


After the test model was delivered to my office on Oak Lawn Avenue, I thought I would take it out for a quick spin. Half an hour later, after promising myself I would turn around at the next exit, I was in Plano.


A car like the 2008 IS F does have a downside: It turns even normally cautious drivers into speed-thirsty maniacs.


But the damnedest thing about the IS F is its surprisingly unassuming exterior. I flew down the highway in a bright blue model, and only a handful of people noticed. In parking lots, at valet stands—nothing.


Nobody seemed to realize what was under the sedan’s hood. Which made it even more delicious when I raced through all eight gears and left them in my highly satisfying dust.