By on June 23, 2015

is7

I usually have more fun with $5,000 cars than with $55,000 cars.

It’s not because I’m cheap. Well, let me rephrase that. I love investing in a quality vehicle, but in the world that is wholesale auctions, I rarely get to see them. You can find nearly anything at the auctions that has been traded-in, repossessed or not picked up at the end of it’s lease. What you can’t find are the keepers.

Toyota imported only a bit over 5,000 of these IS F sports sedans from 2008 thru 2014. The number brought to auction so far in 2015? 35. Annualized, that’s less than a 1.5% turnover rate in a business where anywhere from 20% to 60% of late model vehicles will revisit ‘wholesale heaven’ before getting shucked back into a retail dealership.

After a week and change behind the wheel of this 2014 Lexus IS F, I finally figured out why you see so few of these vehicles at the auctions. It’s the one missing ingredient that nearly every enthusiast publication glosses over when they review any high-end sports car.

The real world ownership experience.

is3Not the arduous race tracks specifically designed to distinguish the better from the best in mere tenths of a second. Not those drop-dead gorgeous long and winding roads that make you contemplate the existence of God and the beauty of all creation.

I was able to find joy with the IS F in the everyday banality of middle-aged life. Impromptu burger runs, long stop lights, even in the worst of rush hours. There was always either a burbling exhaust note or a 13-speaker stereo system that made the IS F experience rare, valuable, and difficult to imitate.

Then again, this attitude towards the IS F really has an awful lot to do with where I live. I spend most of my driving time in the outskirts of a major metropolitan area. The ex-urbs. The test tracks that highlight the 0 to 60 4.2 second time for this 416 horsepower screamer regularly slammed straight into the brutal brick walls of reality that are artificially low speed limits, frequent stops, and excessive police enforcement.

is5In my real world of traveling from auction to auction, I need an exterior that blends in so that I can get what amounts to a short-term thrill between stop lights, stop signs and traffic that just seems to stop without any rhyme or reason.

Except for the wheels, which has a bit of a dulled out boy-racer vibe to them, the exterior of the Lexus IS F is a rolling representation of Clark Kent. It is the Captain Anonymous of four-wheeled superheroes in a sports car universe where the loud and proud high rollers have become all too easily recognized.

Other than the wheels, which I would replace with a more Q-ship styled quartet, there is nothing else that stands out aesthetically with this super-fast sports sedan compared with other less powerful, and less expensive alternatives.

Enthusiasts may be able to pick out the small chorus of ‘F’ badges along with a few unique exterior touches from the wider fenders to the imperceptibly larger rear spoiler. Yet, in the end, the IS F chooses a conservative route that makes it less popular for the flashy and attention seeking owner, and far more useful for stealth seekers like me who are trying to avoid the revenuing schemes and speed traps of local police departments.

YouTube chronicles this unfortunate neverending battle between an enthusiast’s love, and the desire of the legalized theft cartels to revenue out the nicest rides whenever possible.

Corvettes? Dead! In the world of speed enforcement, these cars should come with a “Kick me!” sign.

Black M3? Halt! (Credit to the nice cop.)

Mercedes C63? Damn those 1%’ers! Speed trap cities and towns consider a Mercedes to be their proverbial ten pound fish in the easy money barrel.

is8

A little compact Lexus? In ultra-white? (yes, that is the color description!)

Just feel free to hide your 5.0-liter 416 horsepower V8 and blend in with the sea of traffic until the sharks swim away for better prey. In the real world of driving, the IS F – less those wheels – can be driven as the ultimate Q-Ship.

is11The inside of this Lexus tells a very different story.

The contrast between the suit and tie exterior and this loud and proud interior is probably the biggest dichotomy in high end sports sedans. For those not wanting to relive the trombone case red hues of yesteryear, Lexus also offers a dark suit gray and a bright white leather seating package that is closer to mainstream tastes.

See all those controls on the steering wheel? I wish every competitor would just copy this layout and call it a day. The current IS, with nearly twice as many buttons and fidgits falls far below the real-world ease that is this simple five-by-five design.

As a circa 2008 car with minimal updates the IS F, suffers from two incurable era specific maladies from that time period. The excessive use of interior design cues that originated 10 years ago, and this scratch happy material called aluminized composite accents. Enthusiasts know it as fake carbon fiber while middle-aged men like me who are still stuck in the 1990s scratch their heads and say, “What’s wrong with using some nice thick wood instead?”

is13Ahhh, that’s much better. No gimmicky crap. No little icons or infotainment driven cartoon style graphics. Just a simple layout. Everything neat and quick to read. Truth be told, that prominent tachometer combined with the digital speedo is a great combination. Still, the IS F instrument cluster offers as much useful information about the powertrain’s activities as a 25-year-old Toyota Celica All-Trac. If you are looking for a video game style display with trivial feedback about every little nuance of the driving experience, look elsewhere.

The Lexus IS F dashboard carries over Toyota’s love for the big simple buttons and knobs over rotating dialers and plasticized joysticks of the competition. It took less than a day to get used to the flow of the layout.

There are also several other unique take-it-or-leave-it touches to this interior such as…

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This shift gate along with the single cupholder. A definitive post-Y2K design element.

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What is this strange contraption? I thought this would house the USB connection and maybe an adapter or two. Ash trays are gradually becoming the CD players of the modern day and the cassette players of ten years years ago. By the way, Lexus was also the last brand to get rid of the old cassette players.

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Interesting… on a slow news day I’m sure we can debate the right place for these plug-in connections.

is18

The rear seat room is about on par with a Civic. Small, but amazingly comfortable if you’re 5’8″ or less.

is19

The kids never complained, even after two several hour jaunts. As for seat comfort? These seats depend highly on your height and your girth. This 5-foot-8, 170 pound guy was perfectly happy; as were my smaller wife and kids. Bigger people should take extra care to feel out the seats in any car of this ilk.

is20

As for the driving experience, it’s pretty much bipolar. When you are light on the throttle it’s as easy to drive as any Camry except for the fact that your handling is precise to a surprisingly minute degree. When you hammer it, even a little bit, the IS F is so incomprehensibly fast and fun that you feel like you’re driving a car that can easily handle the racetrack and the twisted road – but not necessarily the beaten one. You better make sure that the open road in your neck of the woods is sports car friendly because the suspension can get brutal if you live in pothole central. It was a pleasure to drive in the one-lane rural smooth roads of Deliverance country, but an unforgiving misery to navigate through the steel plates and bottomless road pits in the city of Atlanta.

TTAC ended up reviewing the car multiple times way back when it was new and fresh. Michael Karesh, Robert Farago, and Jack Baruth all reviewed the IS F back in its new car heyday, and, other than the Scion FR-S, I’m having a hard time finding any other vehicle that was so broadly reviewed and admired as this one. This is one of the few sports sedans left that doesn’t take the driver and completely destroy their line of vision under an ergonomic catastrophe of thick A-pillars, small windows, and side mirrors the size of a football.

You see nearly everything, and the driving experience is in the thick of the fun quotient. All for a real world cost of around $55,000.

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Did I say $55,000? Yep! The average wholesale price for a 2014 Lexus IS F at the auctions with about 7,000 miles on it is in the $52,000 range. Throw in the seller fee, transport, and maybe a minimal bit of reconditioning and you’re looking at around a $53,000 wholesale price, and a meeting of the minds at around $55,000. If you want to get a certified pre-owned version, plan on paying around $700 more for it.

That nice little condo in West Palm Beach that you planned on using for your retirement can now be all yours in the form of four wheels and a driver seat that may be easier to sleep in than most hotel beds. About halfway through the week, I thought about driving off to some remote part of north Georgia and sleeping in the thing. Then again, I’m also the type of guy who buys a $100 SUV sight unseen. Your financial risk tolerance and desire for daily weirdness may be far different than mine.

Speaking of cost, do you want to engage in basic DIY maintenance on the IS F? Don’t. Or at least if you do, and rarely do any work yourself, just relegate yourself to raising the hood between oil changes and looking at all the pointless plastic that keeps you away from all the dirty icky engine parts.

is24Every maintenance item seemed to have either a seal or a plastic cover tormenting your inner grease monkey.

At least the battery is on top and easy to get to. On the flip side, Lexus calls their automatic transmission fluid a lifetime fluid. The word “lifetime” for any fluid, from any automaker, should always be replaced with the phrase “warranty period”. Lifetime fluids don’t exist if you happen to be one of those types who keeps their new cars past 120,000 miles. My advice for the long-term keepers among you is to keep abreast of the Lexus enthusiast forums that you can find here, here and here.

A late model IS F will cost you about as much as a well-equipped 2014 Avalon and a prior-gen 2014 Miata… combined. Is this 2014 model worth that much?

Let me put it to you this way: in the real world of car buying and long-term car ownership, the Lexus IS F offers all of the pleasures of a high performance sports sedan with very few of the vices.

That’s the good news. Now having said that, this car is only a good fit for a very small group of enthusiasts.

Do you prefer conservative styling? Do you need room for a small family? Do you live in an area where potholes don’t exist and police enforcement hasn’t quite yet fallen off the cuckoo’s nest? If the answer to these questions is yes, and if your desire for an ultra-fast sports sedan burns into the very core of your being, then the IS F may very well be worth your time.

Just take one piece of advice should you ever decide to trade all that money in for those keys. Do invest in a radar detector. The IS F is made with speed in mind. And get a good lawyer who knows how to get out of speeding tickets. If you buy a car with this much performance, you will probably need to put that lawyer on a retainer.

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88 Comments on “CPO To Go: 2014 Lexus IS F...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Unless you live in an area with lax speed enforcement I’m feeling like the IS350 strikes the best balance. Hard to justify this as a track car as well as its consumables are eye-wateringly expensive. I think “slow car fast” is BS but “fast car on a tight leash” is pretty damn painful.

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      Amen to that “fast car on a tight leash is pretty damn painful”! Police presence where I live has just gotten too aggressive. The other day, I got a bit of a lecture for going 28 in a COMPLETLY EMPTY 25 zone.

      It’s nice to be able to wind a car out through at least third gear without fear of retribution.

      Fun article, nevertheless, Steven! How about replacing those wheels and tires with a set of minus ones or twos for real world ride quality?

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I remember thinking the same thing.

      An IS350 is a few tenths slower, a quick search said 0-60 for the is350 was 4.8 secs, for the IS-F 4.2secs. but something like $20,000 cheaper if you were buying new.

      You could buy a pretty nice dedicated weekend track car with the extra cash and have the best of both worlds.

      I like red leather, but that interior looks like something that was bought at Pep Boys

      • 0 avatar
        Varryl

        the IS350 is not really in that 0-60 range, not even the new one. the 300 ish hp V6 that has been in the 350 model since the inception of the IS series has always resulted in a on paper time in the low/mid 5s. While not slow, it is not exactly as competitively fast as the IS-F.

        Also, the IS-F comes with that nutty 8 speed and only 2011 and up did they really get the stiff ride sorted out.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          IS350 is more like in the high 4s and the mid 13s in the quarter. It’s fcking fast by any measure. That is not far off from something like an E46 M3 or E39 M5. You can’t use what you would gain from an IS-F on the street. Theres def a difference but I’m not sure it matters.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “You better make sure that the open road in your neck of the woods is sports car friendly because the suspension can get brutal if you live in pothole central. It was a pleasure to drive in the one-lane rural smooth roads of Deliverance country, but an unforgiving misery to navigate through the steel plates and bottomless road pits in the city of Atlanta.”

      The curse of American enthusiasts, which is why I am throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care and snagging a marshmallow sprung chariot (Chrysler 300 or similar) for my next whip (with big back seat & quiet-tude interior).

      If you think Atlanta is bad, I’d guesstimate 90% of urban area USA is worse.

      You can’t have cake in almost any part of USA and eat it without getting frosting all over face because of crumbling infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        As I’ve said many times, this is why my 3 series is going away, and it’s an XI not even sport suspension. The IS, A4, 328 and others are softer now than my 2007, but these roads in the Boston Ex-urbs are awful. Still, the joy from certain off or on-ramps, and stretches of road will be missed. I’ll never again have a car with a sweeter engine or that feels so connected to the driver.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        And honestly, the handling improvement from an overly firm suspension on luxury cars is a rounding error in terms of boosted handling vs something more compliant.

        Much of the issue though is the ridiculous sized rims that our dumb youth culture has made standard equipment. 19″ rims and larger are just stupid and actually hurt handling, acceleration, and fuel economy plus give you a poor ride. Tires also become massively more expensive.

        For some reason now, something like a 17″ rim is only for economy cars. Somehow supercars were able to do just fine on such small ‘dubs.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I agree that suspension tuning and wheel size have gone too far. My first 93 Accord had stock 195-60R15s, Neuspeed Sport springs and most importantly Koni Yellow shocks. To this day, that car had the best balance of handling and ride quality I have ever experienced. It had the travel and control to take NYC frost heaves like a 2CV, but it had the firmness and control to take on/offramps and turns like a sports car. Grip levels were decent as well on some Kuhmo all seasons. I loved the hell out of that car and use it as a reference for how cars should handle and ride. It was literally perfect.

        • 0 avatar

          The song “Rack City” by Tyga was just dreadful, but it did have one truth: “Too much rim make (sic) the ride too hard.”

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Roads here in NC/SC are smooth enough that my 350Z was pretty comfortable. When I drove it up to NYC I was blown away by how brittle and awful its ride actually was. These last two winters have been colder than normal though which has chewed the roads up ever so slightly.

        Still though there are other reasons to not go with the sporty trims. Tire costs seem to rise exponentially with wheel diameter. Big OEM brakes are expensive as hell, and upgraded small rotors/pads/fluid/lines will do the job not much worse. Etc etc. Things are a bit out of control.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          It’s really amazing the ride quality difference between a sensibly sized rim and the huge stuff being pushed. It’s 99% for cosmetic reasons and there’s big negatives across the board. I personally think it looks ridiculous.

          Let the kids put that stuff on in the aftermarket, it’s not like they’re going to be happy with stock rims anyway.

  • avatar
    Morgan

    I absolutely LOVE my ’11 IS F. Your article sums it up well. I’ve found it’s competitive autocrossing in FS class, as well.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Does the aftermarket make a replacement for the awful fake stacked exhaust tips?

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      I was just thinking a set of smaller take-off rims from a lesser IS would really make this an awesome sleeper, but those quad tips are really awful and unnecessary.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      And the fake carbon fiber? And the ghastly loud red Superman interior? And the 2005 center stack arrangement?

      • 0 avatar
        Veee8

        I Agree, that center console is a turn off along with those seats, I’ll take plain and purposeful interiors over tacky boy racer. The exterior is understated and clean – in a way like the old e39 M5.

  • avatar
    jmo

    According to Edmunds the average MSRP for a IS-F was 67,935k but the average price paid was $57,928k. So, buying used is saving you $2k vs. new. Buying used sounds like a really terrible deal.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great article.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I still think the best “sleepers” were made by Jaguar. The old-looking supercharged XJ, XF supercharged or 5.0, and the S-type R.

    The MKS Ecoboost and XTS vSport do a nice job as well.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If I were to buy a Caddy sedan, it would be the XTS vSport. That makes me feel old.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I liked the STS-V. That was a good sleeper.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like it too. Isn’t the interior ghastly though? Dash by Playskool and seats by Hefty?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes, ugh. I’d totes have an STS4 3.6 if it were halfway decent.

            It’s like an Equinox mated with a 9-5 up in there.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            At least it doesn’t have the “premium fabric” from the Terrain. I think that stuff is made from old basketball jerseys.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Had to look that up – gross. Any perforations, whether in leather or cloth on seats should be very small and pinhole-like.

            And look at this:

            http://cars.axlegeeks.com/sites/default/files/844/media/images/2011_Cadillac_STS_3.6L_V6_RWD_3_408870.jpg

            Such a hot mess, and that car is only four years old now. And how much were they new, $50,000+?

        • 0 avatar

          A family friend of ours has a 2006 STS-V, silver with a light-grey interior. Indeed, it is a complete sleeper. I love it. Just don’t turn off the traction control or you’ll quickly find yourself the facing the wrong direction.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Personally I think Audi does a great job with the S cars. The RS cars are a bit over the top, and too hard for daily driving most places IMO (and match AMG/M/V in that). The S cars manage to be understated but still fast as hell.

  • avatar
    John R

    Yeah, buddy. The IS-F is a hidden gem.

    Good job highlighting the relatively modest (to the equivalent M3/RS4) operational costs and “LOOK AT ME, FIVE-O” penalties. Something seldom talked about.

    And at $55k~ it is something of a bargain. That’s what you’re paying for a new 335i the way you want it.

    I like the factory wheels, but, saints be praised, there are aftermarket solutions for the exhaust, http://goo.gl/E0D9wQ.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    So the 2008 Acura TL wasn’t the last car with a tape deck? Damn!!

    I’d love a sleeper luxury or near-lux sedan, but I gotta have that stick, so for me a G35/37 or 2010-14 TL-SHAWD would fit the bill.

    I did get a close look at a white SS last week too, and it was pretty sharp! It would certainly blend in with the Malibus of the word, until it was time to unleash that monster or an engine.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Damn phone keyboard.. always gets me on the prepositions! :P

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      The SS looks less sedate in person. I saw/sat in a red one and liked it a lot. It’s still a Q-ship but you cam kinda see the deck guns.

      The TL SH-AWD is in my opinion an overlooked gem of a car. It’d be great if Acura decided to add a 6MT and a more sporting disposition to the current TLX SH-AWD but I don’t see that happening.

      • 0 avatar
        suspekt

        100% agreed on the TL SH-AWD.

        I have one and it is just a blast to drive.

        The grill is so easy to modify (i.e. monochrome it) and I think the design is just a pleasure to take in.

        I am currently running a comptech-engineering icebox and aggressive J Pipe and it just sounds so right. Absolutely stock sounding driven and then that classic J-series wail at WOT.

        Lastly, the torque vectoring differential is black magic. The car’s ability to correct its line via throttle is incredible. I cannot imagine the NSX’s capabilities as it will have active negative torque application meaning it will be able to rotate itself off throttle….

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Final car with a tape deck was the 2012 SC430.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    How does a week and change behind the wheel translate into knowing what the real world ownership experience will be?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Thats what I was wondering. I was more expecting a year (or more) seat time to constitute “real world ownership”.

      Its easy to be taken by a car’s positives and to ignore the negatives in a week or two. Its over the long term that what seemed insignificant at first rides your nerves to the point where you end up hating the car because of it.

      On the other hand, a few years ago I rented a Mazda6 (the previous gen obviously). It only took me a couple days to realize I absolutely hated the car, for not just one but several reasons. It was slow, noisy, and felt very, very cheap inside. For all the praise Mazda gets for handling, I found it to be nothing special. And the exterior styling looked to me like a rejected Hyundai design excersize. Ive had a similar experience with my neighbor’s late model Altima. Almost a “hate at first drive” thing.

      Ironicly, driving several first gen Ford Fusions (based on the same platform as that 6 iirc) and a couple of first gen Mazda3s were the complete opposite experience from the rental 6. The 3 in particular was impressive with its handling and had one of the best auto-manuals Ive ever experienced. I do like the flappy paddles on my parent’s 2012 Taurus, and its responsive enough, but the very nature of the small and nimble 3 lended itself to having fun rather than just going somewhere. I realize the Taurus is quite a bit bigger and so forth, and Im not really attempting to compare the two.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Too rich for my blood. I am the kind of guy who would be thinking about everything else I could do with the money.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    The IS-F is a gem. No doubt about it.

    I’ve heard of so many issues with the German V8’s (N/A or FI).

    Curious:
    How does the 416hp 5.0 V8 compare to Fords 5.0 Coyote in the Mustang?

    Both are very similar in specficiations. I suspect the Lexus would have superior NVH.

    If only Ford offered a sub-$40k 4-door AWD sedan with the 5.0 V8… sigh

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Nice write up, but I find this thing both gauche and very dated. The wheels, that spoiler, the stacked exhaust. The interior trim, red and black, carbon fiber and notch shifter. Center stack from the 06+ GS. It’s all just way old looking. And rather immature.

    Edit: Gathering my thoughts, I mused “Well at least it’s an 09, so it looked only a little outdated for its time.” NO, it’s a 2014! Good grief.

    And here’s another article with photos and words along the side. So unpleasant to read, and it’s a new trend within the last week. Just no!

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “here’s another article with photos and words along the side. So unpleasant to read…”
      Maybe that’s why newspaper circulation collapsed. Twenty years of scroll up-down web design trained people to hate side scanning.

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    Great write up. I’m thinking about getting a 2010+ ISF or a brand new GTI. I’m torn. I love the engine in this car, but not sure what to expect regarding maintence. I wonder how much more expensive it would be to maintain this MSRP 65K car vs a 30K GTI. The brakes alone are probably a grand.

    This being a Lexus, the total cost of ownership might be about the same though.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    This car makes no sense. It’s over priced, on most real world roads its undriveable, and the interior looks circa 2003. Oooo a USB port! How forward thinking of them!

    I have a much better idea for a sleeper. CPO B8 Audi S4, with the supercharged V6. Trip to APR for the ECU upgrade, maybe the pulley as well if you want to go nuts. Cost will be what, $10K less than this? More? The APR S4 will easily match this 0-60, probably outrun it. It will CERTAINLY out torque it, that’s for sure. Great seats in the S4, get one with the QuattroSport torque vectoring diff and it handles quite well, and if it happens to be wet out, the IS-F driver won’t even know what hit him as the S4 blows past. In any real world driving experience, you will be doing precisely zero Chris Harris power slides in your IS-F, so no advantage there.

    The Audi’s interior also doesn’t look like a slightly grown up Lancer EVO. If you’re less concerned about unwanted attention from the police, replace the S4 with an S5, which is STILL the best looking entry lux coupe on sale. Certainly much prettier than the hideous RC coupe. Otherwise same rules apply. APR and 400+hp later, have fun chasing down RC-Fs.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You know what else you can have, for $10k less?

      A freaking 2008 S8, with only 44k miles, and a 5.2L Lambo V10 under the hood and AWD. Now THAT’S a sleeper. It’s also got an interior worthy of such a price. And it’s only $39,9.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Audi-S8-Premium-4dr-Sedan-Quattro-/171831569654?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2801f5acf6&item=171831569654

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You all can have your out-of-warranty Audis. VAG hasn’t proven themselves to me yet. If I can’t afford a new VAG product on a lease shorter than the warranty, I won’t buy a VAG product.

      An out-of-warranty Lexus, even a semi-exotic one, is far less scary.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s a fair enough point on VAG. I just don’t think this is a good buy for the money. The immature nature and dated appearance don’t work with me for over $50k.

        GS F-Sport costs $10k less as well.
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lexus-GS-2013-350-F-SPORT-SUNROOF-NAV-REAR-CAM-XENON-27K-/400941255131?forcerrptr=true&hash=item5d59f609db&item=400941255131

        However, the Neiman Marcus IS-F was much more dignified and also in this instance is cheaper.

        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lexus-IS-IS-F-Neiman-Marcus-Special-Build-16-of-50-Warranty-/181778173756?forcerrptr=true&hash=item2a52d2cf3c&item=181778173756

      • 0 avatar
        Davekaybsc

        If you get CPO, it’s not a problem. Audi’s CPO warranty is pretty comprehensive, and if you buy say a 2012 CPO S4, and opt for the extension, the car would be covered until 2019, pretty much the same amount of time as if you had bought it new.

        Also, if you think that high strung Yamaha V8 has the same reliability and same costs to maintain as a Toyota V6, you’re DREAMING.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Fair enough on the CPO warranty.

          Yamaha has a mixed record with engines, but the good ones are very good. The SHO V6 is the one indestructible part of what is otherwise a very fragile car. The 60k service is a bit fiddly but if it’s done properly that Yamaha is more durable than any of the regular Taurus motors of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            I gotta call BS on that. The 3.0L Vulcan was incredibly reliable and much cheaper to repair/maintain vs. the SHO V-6. As far as the rest of the car being “very fragile”, I also must disagree based on my personal experience, having owned a dozen (or more) first and second gen bulls (including my current daily driver 1995 with nearly 200k and a 93 I drove to around 300k until I sold it, still running/driving).

            Theyre also incredibly cheap to repair when/if something
            does go wrong, especially compared to a Toyota. A NSS for my Camry was like $250+ and a dealer only item, the same part for the same-year Taurus (at the time) was $40 from Ford, or half that at an autoparts store. Go compare common repair items like fuel pumps, alternators, etc on a Taurus vs. a Toyota. The Toyota will always be much higher, usually many times the price of the Ford.

            The 3.8L on the other hand was awful for head gaskets, warped heads, spun bearings and overtaxing the auto transaxle causing it to prematurely fail as well. That one I will give you, but the 3.0L Vulcan was far more common and far more reliable. It is not fair to lump all models together as you did when chronic issues were mostly limited to the one (less popular) engine.

            The 3.0L Duratec that replaced it was much better (this was about the time the Yahmaha V-6 was replaced with the V-8, all of which WILL fail if you dont get the cams, iirc, welded). I know people with 2-250K on their Duratec Tauruses, few if any issues.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            JohnTaurus, you are correct. About the worst I can say about a Vulcan is that the bolts for the thermostat housing extend into the water jacket, causing them to corrode and make them difficult to remove. My Vulcan was manufactured in 1992 and is still running. And parts when needed for the car are dirt cheap. How cheap? How about all the e-brake cables for $40!!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Just speaking from personal experience…

            I owned two early Tauruses, a Vulcan-powered ’87 and an ’89 SHO.

            Both, but especially the SHO, had enormous problems with ancillary components. The SHO was by far the least reliable car I’ve ever owned. I owned it for about 80,000 miles, and during that time I replaced two power steering pumps, a radiator, two alternators, an A/C compressor (and the replacement was broken when I sold the car), and a manual transmission, among a number of smaller things. Oddly, the one thing I didn’t have to replace was the notoriously weak clutch. The engine purred like a kitten at 160,000 miles.

            The Vulcan-powered ’87 was marginally better, but went through two heater cores and a box full of alternators, along with chronically munching rotors. I had to get rid of it, though, when one cylinder began losing compression at 156,000 miles, causing an unfixable misfire and failing emissions tests. The transmission (original, to its credit) was obviously on the way out as well.

          • 0 avatar

            Ouch…Yamaha V8? I remember the one in the Volvo XC90. It was pretty dreadful.

    • 0 avatar

      Whats wrong with the xc90 V8 i had a boss who had one I drove it a few times seemed like a really sweet engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Noble713

      “In any real world driving experience, you will be doing precisely zero Chris Harris power slides in your IS-F, so no advantage there.”

      Maybe where you live. People get sideways in their sedans here all the time. It’s how I wrecked mine.

      But then again, I live in Japan….there’s no way in HELL I’d own a maintenance-intensive German car here, even one still under warranty.

      I don’t think I’d buy a 2014 CPO IS-F for $55k though….not when 2008 ones with 75,000 KM (not even miles, kilometers!) can be picked up for half that. Saving $25,000 should cover maintenance costs for a LONG time.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There is one of these that lives next door to me, in dark gray. Unfortunately, the driver is a raging asshole, and that’s affected my view of the car a little bit. (He’s the sort of guy who likes to hit apexes and use all the pavement on neighborhood residential streets.)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Uggh. That’s a very ungentlemanly way to do sporting driving. You should tell him!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Given the fellow’s steroidal look I think that might result in some damage to my person. Our community has fairly aggressive police and they’ll get him sooner rather than later if he keeps driving like he has been.

        Still beyond annoying to hear him hit the top of second gear on our residential street full of kids and pets, or to see him take the corner onto the street blind, exiting into the opposite lane, at 30+ mph.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Summer before last, I was riding with a former friend in his Camry. He would do similar idiotic things in the neighborhood, and at a busy four way stop, he went with the car in front of him when it was that car’s turn to go. He ran no less than four stop signs, parked in a handicap spot, rode the shoulder when someone was walking by the side of the road, passed on a double yellow line and exceeded the speed limit so many times (by 10+ mph in an urban area) that I lost count. He never signaled, swerved out and passed people so he could cut them off and make his exit, etc.

          When we got back, I told him he NEVER had to worry about me riding with him again. The weird thing was, his behavior the previous day while driving his Ford Ranger was not nearly as bad. Still didnt signal properly and “rolled” a few stop signs, but not nearly as aggressive as he was in the Camry.

          That, and some horribly insensitive comments he made reminded me why I stopped hanging out with him years before. I wont even speak to the jerk now. I dont need $#|ГГ¥ people in my life.

          Iirc, one of the comments he made was “time to flush the toilet!” when a story on the news indicated a hurricane might strike the SouthEast US. Not only am I from this area (he lives near Seattle), but I could never say something so horrible when people may lose their lives, homes, etc. I dont think he would make a similar comment about an earthquake in California or a brutal winter storm in the NorthEast. Maybe Im just weird, but I love ALL of my country, and wouldnt make light of a potentially deadly situation no matter where it was in the world, let alone this country.

  • avatar

    I like the A pillars.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I had the opportunity to buy a one year old Ultra Sonic Blue on black IS-F for $37k a few years ago. It was high mileage (over 30k in one year). I wanted to drive it for just a year and sell it for basically exactly what I paid. Wife said no, though. The original owner let me take it out for a quick spin. That is one of the best automatics I have ever driven. The car is simply ferocious.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    No stickshift, no sale. And that interior – ugh. And based on my family members who own them, the cheapness of long-term Lexus ownership is greatly exaggerated.

    Nope, for $12K less my new M235i with stickshift and a month cruising around the old countries seems like a much better deal. I’ll be in Munich in 7.5 weeks, the wait is killing me.

    Why do people care about back seat comfort? How often do you sit back there? Kids are lucky to be getting a ride at all, when I was that age (and I was 6′ in the 6th grade) I could pretzel myself into the back of a 911 (the pain was always worth it) or Grand Prix, walk, or ride my bike.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      What have your relatives experienced?

      I have a close family friend who has been through three ESes (one 300, one 330, one 350), putting about 100,000 miles on each, in about 22 years. She has *never* had an issue. Of any sort.

      I also have another friend whose family is legendary for destroying cars through neglect. Her uncle, a successful dentist, gave her mother a hand-me-down LS430. Still going with only minor difficulties, although it looks like it’s been through about six BHPH cycles inside and out. (I trained my friend, though! Her Protege looks like it should be in a junkyard but still runs perfectly at 160,000 miles.)

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        100K miles is something to brag about? Maybe in 1985 it was.

        I love how people who trade in their Toyotas every few years attempt to explain their decision by talking about “long term quality” as a reason. 200K-300K is long term. Virtually any modern car is capable of 100k. My dad has 328k on his 1999 Ford truck (he bought new). Only in the past 10k have issues really started to show themselves, like a fuel pump failure, a leaky water pump, some fairly cheap module we installed ourselves, a sensor here and there, but nothing major yet. For at least 250k, the truck had 0 mechanical issues. I thi k the first and only problem it had for the longest time occured around that mark, and was a sub-$100 sensor. Its never had an engine, transmission or rear axle replaced/rebuilt. THAT is long term. Leasing a Camry and turning it in for a new one after a few years is not long term.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Sure, cars last beyond 100k. But relatively few cars get to 100k with no issues at all. I’ve never had one (although my Subaru is trouble-free thus far, it’s got only 22k). I think the fact that three straight Lexuses did, in the hands of someone who just takes them in for maintenance when the light comes on, is compelling.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Reading that license plate made me think of that guy who was so confident in his security that he put his SSN on the side of a truck and had it drive around NYC. Its as if the license plate says “steal my debit card! My PIN is 4665! Enjoy my money, obviously I have plenty of it as you can tell by the fact that I spent $55k on a used F’ed Lexus that is ever-so slightly faster than the much-cheaper model, with a PepBoys center console, the rear seat of a Honda Civic and wheels I dont even like.”

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Having had to endure the dulcet tones of a Vulcan V6 on many an occasion, and been thoroughly disappointed each and every time with the vast torque and responsiveness, I award you my long-suffering award for putting up with these things for decades.

      Anyone with a bit of sporting blood praising old Tauruses is an anomaly on an enthusiast website. Get into an IS-F, drive it and then tell me with a straight face it’s a load of rubbish by comparison. It’s all green envy on your part, while Lang has at least upped his personal chariot and revealed his love for decent cars now he hs the readies available.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen ONE of these in Westchester, NY. I think the lack of bling is the issue. Won’t impress the neighbors/fellows at “the club”. Same reason boring manager-special 5 series outsell worthy CTS-V.

    I am that traffic attorney. I tell my clients I come in the trunk but you don’t know it when you buy the car. Yes, driving a showy car, or in NYC, a “rich guy” car, will get you more attention. I see the tickets, sit at the trials….I have folks with fantasy garages, and I’m on the speed dial. Best of all, I feel like I’m doing good work, saving points and fines for folks, and talking cars most of the day !!! (attorney haters may chime in now)

    No one ever notices a black TDI at 90 mph, but don’t get that sportscar over 70…..want to drive fast in the US ? Four door sedan, dull exterior and wheels. Valentine One or top line Escort with remote display. Only the geek will notice the large tires or the yellow shocks…no wings, spats or cladding, please.

    • 0 avatar

      Even better a station wagon my Outback and XC70 go unnoticed most of the time. I was driving really late at night once in the outback (two tone green and tan) doing about 95 mph no one on the road passed a state trooper on the side of the highway he looked right at my car then looked back at his phone as i sped by.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I always found the front tires on these would get rather cranky at full lock wheeling around a parking lot, and that the seats were rather boy-racer snug (and I’m not huge). They sound pretty spectacular on start-up though.

    Not shocked about the price either – around here, you’re comfortably north of 60k miles on an IS250 until you get below $20k, let alone a car with any options or better engines.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Thanks Steven nice write up. In the same vein of Barks article about amateur journalists writing like they are expert drivers, you bring another reminder that what the reviews say (or the cranky old men on TTAC) is not gospel. I’m sure there are many out there enjoying their IS-F even if a chipped Audi S4 is as fast.

    This car is the last of the compact luxury/sport (whatever this class is called) V8s. To me it was a magic period where the M3, S4/RS4, C63 and this IS-F all sported V8s. CAFE has taken care of those so the V8 generation is over. I know the turbo and super 6s are faster get better MPG, but who cares these cars are hardly about value, I would want the sound and feel of an 8. If I was shopping in this range, I would give a lightly used IS-F a look or perhaps even better the previous gen V8 M3 or RS4.

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