Most of the attention of the Lexus team was directed at the lean, green CT 200h hybrid and IS 200d diesel making their debuts in Paris, but hanging out in the back and undermining the lot of them was the updated 2011 Lexus IS F.
Tucked away in the corner of the Lexus stand and wearing black paint identical to the new IS 200d parked nearby, the powerful IS F played second-fiddle to the diesel IS and the new CT 200h hybrid hatchback and their green credentials. Still, it batted it’s new LED daytime running lights at any performance enthusiast who knew what they were looking at, enticing the in-the-know with minor updates to the head- and taillights.
The real story, though, can’t be seen without a lift. Underneath, Lexus engineers have reworked the oft-maligned suspension to make the car grip better while punishing the passengers less. New performance dampers and springs are mounted to reinforced connectors and stiffer bushings to give the front suspension a longer stroke and stiffen up the rear. Lexus says this resulted both in increased grip and a more compliant ride. A recalibrated power steering system offers more accurate and precise turn-in as well as better feedback through the wheel. The most tangible result is a two-second decrease in lap time at the 2.8-mile Fuji Speedway.
Lexus finished the update with a fresh instrument cluster designed to be more driver-centric. A massive tachometer sits front and center with a small digital speed display in the lower right quadrant. LEDs embedded in the top of the tachometer light up as you near redline to remind you to shift without taking your focus off the road. A small, traditional, analog speedometer sits below and to the right, mostly to show off the car’s 186-mph top speed. To the left are a pair of digital screens showing performance, fuel economy and other vehicle information.
We still don’t have an exact on-sale date for the revised model, but we likely won’t be waiting too much longer. U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced either, but Europeans have been aware that they’ll need to drop a minimum of 73,500 euros to own the updated model, a 2900-euro increase over the current model. Should that price increase carry directly over to the U.S., it would mean a $3135 price jump to a base price of $63,020.
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