Dec 6 2008 Peter Keenan
The 'F' in IS-F should stand for 'Fun' as this Lexus is a hoot to drive.
That it actually refers to the Fuji Speedway where the Japanese Grand Prix is staged says everything about the type of car this is.
It's a beast - resplendent with a 5.0-litre engine that is the most powerful yet in a Lexus - tweaked and tuned to make it a raging bull offering 417bhp and more pulling power than a film star.
It's got a 0-62mph time guaranteed to take years off a face as the skin is stretched over the cheekbones, while wheels on the fat side of Dawn French glue the car to the road.
The eight-speed automatic transmission gives lightning quick gear changes and in manual mode offers the driver total control via F1-style paddle controls.
But the beauty of the IS-F is that yes, it's default position is on a track, but stick it in Drive and it is quite happy to be a wolf in sheep's clothing and pootle around the city streets giving no hint of the power beneath the bonnet.
Press the pedal to the metal though and the response is electric with a noise akin to a stampede of angry bison. It is both awe inspiring and slightly scary, but the handling is precise and there's no feeling of the IS-F getting away from you.
The top speed is limited to 168mph which is just as well for the future health and well-being of anyone driving it and top notch braking capability is also assured.
Lexus spares no expense on equipment leaving German rivals gasping for breath when it comes to the number of goodies fitted as standard.
The first to be noticed is keyless entry and ignition via a start button that incites a riot from under the bonnet. The 19-inch alloys with high performance tyres have already gained an honourable mention, while the cabin is a pleasant place to be thanks in no small part to the efficient dual zone climate control.
For those who like quality audio systems in their motor, the IS-F doesn't disappoint fitted as it is with a 14-speaker Mark Levinson 5.1 surround sound system with six-DVD auto-changer. It was perhaps a little bit of overkill for my Val Doonican Greatest Hits album which all of a sudden sounded like Led Zeppelin.
The dashboard is well set out with all the controls logically positioned and a touch-screen that makes the satellite navigation easy to use.
When the destination is reached and that tight parking spot has to be negotiated, Lexus again ride to the rescue fitting the IS-F with a reversing camera with handy guidelines that make it all but impossible to muck it up.
The car is set up as a sports saloon so has a low ride height and stiff suspension and chassis that can make it a bit jiggly on rougher roads. The Sport Vehicle Dynamics Integrated management system on the IS-F means though that on anything approaching a smooth surface this is a great car to drive.
Other clever additions to the IS-F include a tyre pressure warning system and speed sensitive steering that gives a great feel at all speeds. There's also adaptive cruise control with a pre-crash safety system.
With the amount of power underneath the driver's right foot it is perhaps good to know that safety is taken seriously on this speedster with whiplash injury lessening front seats, ten airbags, and a host of electronic aids designed to keep the car on the road when cornering or braking.
Price : £50,076
Mechanical : 417bhp, 4,969cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8spd automatic gearbox
Max speed : 168mph
0-62mph : 4.8 secs
Combined mpg : 24.8
Insurance group : 20
CO2 emissions : 270g/km
BiK rating : 35%
Warranty : 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 12yrs anti-rust