New Car Review: 2013 Lexus IS-F

Front 3/4 view of 2013 Lexus IS-F

It's year-end clearance time!  Gotta move out the '13s and make room for the new 2014 models!
Those of you who've bought a few cars know that, in fact, you can do well by being patient, not needing the latest and grabbing the last remaining of last year's models.

Good case in point, the Lexus IS-F.  In a matter of weeks, as I write this, the photos and words here will be obsolete as an all new 2014 Lexus IS-F comes to market.  But in the meantime, there exists a very, very compelling '13 IS-F and you might be able to score one and save a few bucks.

What is an IS-F?  Well, it's the serious performance variant of Lexus' sportiest model (save the LFA supercar), and if you've read our recent review of the IS 350C retractable hardtop you know we're duly impressed by the goodness of the basic package.

Rear 3/4 view of the 2013 Lexus IS-F

The F takes that basic package and replaces basically all the performance bits with higher-performance bits.  3.5 liter V6?  Begone!  The F brings a 5-liter 32-valve V8 to the party, one that makes 416 horsepower and 371 pounds per foot of torque.  It's connected to an 8-speed Sport Direct-Shift transmission with flappy paddles.

Fast?  Oh, yeah.  0-60 flies by in 4.6 seconds.  That's right. Four-point-six. And thanks to that 8-speed magic gearbox, the penalty you pay at the pump is kept in relative (considering the power) check...the EPA says 16 city/23 highway.

And it's not just about speed...the handling's remarkable, thanks to an F-spec double wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension.  Brembo brakes make sure you can stop from the high speeds you'll undoubtedly reach in remarkably short distances. 18-inch alloy wheels are part of the standard equipment, along with a full package of safety features and luxury and convenience items so generously slathered on the car that I'm going to do what I seem to always do when confronted with a Lexus standard equipment list...and let Lexus tell you themselves.

All this can't be cheap, you say.

You're right.  Base price is $61,750.

Interior view of 2013 Lexus IS-F

But in the words of the late James Brown, good God, y'all. Slip into the full leather seating with contrasting stitching, grab the F-spec leather-trimmed steering wheel, light up the electroluminescent F-spec Optitron gauges, move the lever to "D" and put your right foot down.

Suddenly $61,750 seems perfectly reasonable.  And you could even go a little further. Like, say the navigation system/Mark Levinson Premium audio package our tester was equipped with.  14 speakers of surround sound, DVD, CD, backup camera, Lexus Enform, App Suite, NavWeather, NavTraffic...all for the low, low price of $2,490.  And how about intuitive park assist with front and rear sensors for an extra $500?  Add in the non-negotiable delivery, processing and handling fee of $895 and you're at $66,555.

Power drunk?  Of course not.

Power and handling drunk, maybe...but it's year-end clearance time and you can probably work a deal...