By on February 22, 2021

The Lexus IS 500 isn’t just an exciting new sports sedan, it’s a unicorn. That’s because when Lexus first decided to put the IS 500 into production, they relied on a simple philosophy: put a big engine in a small car, and make it go really fast. But this car is so much more than just a beefed-up IS.

Here are 7 key reasons why the Lexus IS 500 is sure to appeal to automotive purists.

1. The Way It Feels

The most noteworthy highlight of the IS 500? A naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that turns out 472 hp – we’re talking over 50 percent more power than the new IS 350. As a result, this car has the responsiveness and linear acceleration that only a naturally aspirated V8 can deliver.

2. The Way It Sounds

That aforementioned Lexus 5.0-liter V8 isn’t just tremendously powerful; it also sounds fantastic. Out back, you’ve got two stacked exhaust pipes that take inspiration from the Lexus F models like the RC F – they look aggressive, amplify the engine note perfectly, and make the IS 500 sing.

3. The Aggressive Design

The changes to the exterior of the IS 500 are subtle but impactful: the raised hood immediately hints at the 5.0-liter V8 engine’s power, while a more subtle design change can be found on the bumper and fenders, which have been lengthened slightly to make room for that big motor. And, of course, let’s not forget the exclusive 19-inch split-10-spoke Enkei wheels that complete the IS 500’s new, more aggressive look.

4. The Attention to Detail

We’ve covered the more obvious upgrades, but the IS 500 also boasts a list of subtle updates that only a true enthusiast would notice. As the first vehicle in the new Lexus F SPORT Performance line, the IS 500 sports unique black F SPORT badges on the engine cover, door sills, and steering wheel – plus there’s even a custom start-up screen graphic. Also of note, the window trim has been changed to a dark chrome. It’s the little touches that help set a car like this apart from the pack.

5. The Joy of Feeling Connected to the Road

Power is nothing without control, which is why the IS 500’s chassis is built on the standard IS F SPORT’s Dynamic Handling Package. This includes a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with Yamaha rear performance damper, as well as the adjustable drive mode selector with Sport and Sport Plus modes. And for when you need to reign that power in, Lexus also upgraded the IS 500’s brakes for additional cooling.

6. The Exclusivity

Production of the IS 500 isn’t capped at a specific number, but overall volume will be limited simply by nature of this car’s focused appeal. And in a world where V8 sports sedans like this are unfortunately all but extinct, this is an instant future classic!

7. It Delivers True Satisfaction

Anyone who genuinely loves cars should know how special this machine is. But the real reason to buy one is for the personal satisfaction that comes from having something that truly delivers on the promise of driving enjoyment. Combining the bold styling of the new 2021 IS launched last year with that awesome V8 engine, the IS 500 is simply an enthusiast’s dream. Or in other words, those who get, get it.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

58 Comments on “7 Reasons Why the Lexus IS 500 is the Perfect Car for Driving Enthusiasts...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Lexus: Cars that don’t suck [other than gaping maw styling].

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      High-rpm V8, RWD, torsen differential, 4-doors, not a Dodge.

      Motor Trend listed the price at $56k. If that is accurate then I’m buying the hell out of this next year.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well…BASE is $56,000. Lord only knows how much the real-world price would be. But, yeah, I’d be all over this – I like the IS but the one I drove (which admittedly had the 2.5 V-6) was a dog.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          If the base has the V8 and the diff then that is all I need. I can live without the $10k carbon fiber package or massaging seats or 1200w stereo.
          Just need a dealer willing to order one.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You know though hot garbage is $40K these days, $56K for a real car with reliability to boot… too rich for my blood but I see the value (never thought I would see “value” in a single car for $56,000 USD, I want five cars for 56K but I digress).

        • 0 avatar
          A Scientist

          This. One of the biggest “buzz” points about the C8 Corvette was it’s “base price of 60K OMG!”

          Yeah. In my area, I haven’t seen a single, solitary C8 for sale with a price tag under 6 figures…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Generally the non special edition hardtop Vettes did sell at or close to MSRP once they were out for a bit. C8 was released just before we left Earth and I did say early last year buy them now because they and late C7s will be collector items… so buy it if you want it and be gouged because I seriously don’t think there will be that many made vs C6, C7 etc.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Completely uninformed opinion here, but I’d have to think it’d be easier to special order a ‘Vette (once the line’s up and running properly, of course) than a Lexus. Kentucky is a lot closer than Japan.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’d expect you’re are correct. The plan will be to check out what is on the lots from Sept to Dec 2022 and if I can’t find something to buy then write every Lexus dealer from Miami to Atlanta in Jan 2023 requesting an order.
            Looking online it seems like it would take 5-6 months for delivery and I’d probably be stuck at MSRP but I can live with that.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Given this fluff is now apparently OK to run with only a tiny “sponsored post” tag at the bottom, how can I trust any review of a Toyota/Lexus product on this site to be objective anymore?

    I still like TTAC, but it’s a far cry from the old days.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Such a hard-hitting review. You guys didn’t pull any punches. Farago would be so proud.

  • avatar
    Tim Healey

    Corporate decisions made at a level above us don’t mean we can’t be objective about products. We are editorially independent from sponsored posts.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Why does this “article” read like ad copy?

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Sponsored post. Not a TTAC review/news article.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Tim, I think you should ask for a $10 spiff for every time you have to mention that this is a sponsored review.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Why does it say “By TTAC Staff on February 22, 2021” if it’s a sponsored post? Tim, you mentioned a few comments above that this ad is independent of TTAC, so it’s confusing it would be labeled ‘by TTAC staff’. Label it ‘by Lexus’.

        We all know you have to pay the light bill, but TTAC owners need to take care. Never give readers the sense that you’re treating them like naive car shoppers wandering in to a BHPH lot.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim Healey

          That byline was used to make it clear it was a sponsored post. We don’t have a byline for an OEM.

          • 0 avatar
            sid6.7

            Well, pass this up to the bosses — you damn well need one. When your readers read “by TTAC staff,” strange as it may seem, it gives us the impression that we’re reading somethign that was written by, get this, the TTAC staff. When you’re running OEM ad copy from some intern at Lexus, don’t put your name on it.

            I was genuinely confused by this badly-written Lexus fellatio until I went back and found the teensy tiny “Paid Content” label on the picture I barely looked at.

            I realize bills gotta get paid, but byline this stuff appropriately please.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Are the exhaust tips real, or just oval bumper decorations like the IS F?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Wait, this is for real? I would not have expected another NA V8 sedan.

    I have absolutely no use for a sedan in my life right now but if I did this would be extremely tempting.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    A V-8 sport sedan that doesn’t cost eighty grand – can I get a hallelujah?

    This *almost* makes up for the abomination known as “UX.”

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Ha ha, no it doesn’t. The UX is the Aztek of Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Worse, I could get a tent attachment for the Aztek.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The UX should have been called “Ecosport”.

        It’s just awful – a glorified Corolla with a nicer engine for forty grand. And the 2.0 turbo model is FWD-only – to get AWD, you have to pop for a hybrid, which costs even more.

        People around here trash the hell out of Mazda for going “premium,” but there are plenty of people with enough brain function to see that a CX-30 turbo is a FAR better car at a far lower price than this dungheap (or its’ competitors, for that matter). What, the UX is worth seven grand more because the Lexus dealer has a coffee bar? Spare me. “Premium” brand pricing has just gotten so silly.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Isn’t the UX mostly a tool to upsell prospects to the NX (which is a fine product)?

          I’ve seen very few of them on the road in this otherwise Lexus-crazed city.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          The Lexus UX looks like it ought to be a Toyota Matrix or better yet Matrix Cross trek. Going after the BMW X1 and Benz GLA market seemed to cheapen the brand.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Sadly, rear legroom (on the regular IS) is listed at 32.2 inches. That’s crazy small compared to even my Stinger. Sadly, no way this can work as a family hauler.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      Nope, too small to take the Rugrats across town to school in. But more legroom than the 30 inch coach seat pitch on the Delta flight they sat in for hours on the way to Disney. Makes total sense.

      (Can I say “Disney” in a sponsored post?)
      Disney Disney Disney!

  • avatar
    Joseph Kissel

    Gross. I only clicked in to voice my displeasure. Keep it up, TTAC, and I’ll wipe this site from my bookmarks …

  • avatar
    TR4

    One good reason this is NOT a driving enthusiasts’ or automotive purists’ car: Clutch pedal is missing.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Under 60k? Seriously? Sounds like the bargain of the century. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • avatar
    C5 is Alive

    Call me cold, but if this is what TTAC must do in order to survive… it probably shouldn’t survive.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I make a habit of not reading sponsored posts, but sometimes I’ll get the gist and comment on something related.
    This certainly grabbed by attention. As I have mentioned, I am an unapologetic Lexus IS fan and this is the first I’ve heard of this car. It’s more money than I can convince myself to spend on a car, but man, I might have to work something out.

    My IS300 that I was leasing was very good. Not perfect, but I am certainly going to check this out when available.

  • avatar

    Nope. I would rather buy CT5 instead just to annoy them.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    IS250 driver here. RC-F’s start at 65k and change. An IS with a V-8? Yes Please! However, Lexus dealers (I predict) will be gouging for the 1st year of this. No, sir no siree Bob the only IS 500’s we have come with the luxury and the tech package. Sometimes it’s good to live in the big city, get one coming in off a lease. Oh and probably 1500 bucks for floor mats and the lot guy spraying ceramic wax on it.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    If ever a car screamed for an aftermarket front end. Even the Fast and Furious movies had better taste with grills.

  • avatar
    xaocoh

    Seems like a Tesla Model 3 performance is a better value proposition. Better performance at the same price.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    What? This is a sponsored post? It sure smelled like it in the land of Baruth and Honey but I wouldn’t doubt TTAC that this was the real shiznit, got all excited about the car. Guess I’ll just have to get the red Camry instead since Lexus is a dog.

  • avatar
    icarus_

    Dear lord please change the way you guys call out sponsored posts. It’s clear reading this that it’s an add, but when I checked all I saw was “by ttac staff”. Sponsored content needs to be loud and clear!

    I head to dive into the comments to really know. Is this the corner you want people thinking is being written here? This is an easy fix, love this site! But please consider how you all label this stuff.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Turbo Is Black Magic: Keith Wandell… spelled the human scums name wrong… and yeah your assessment of...
  • Turbo Is Black Magic: Keith Wendell who was the HD CEO at the time had never ridden a motorcycle… ever, and did...
  • Turbo Is Black Magic: Underpowered? The 1190 RX is 419lbs and makes 185HP! It’s as close as you can get to a WSBK...
  • Lorenzo: That is definitely an advantage, keeping conventional vehicle production separate from development of...
  • Lorenzo: The USPS IS making money on packages, that’s why they’re buying bigger trucks than the old ones....

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber