Forget what you already know about traditional Lexus values – comfort, refinement and so on – because this new IS-F has its priorities in an entirely different place.

With petrol V8s and hybrids that deliver mountain-moving torque from idle, Lexus’s existing range isn’t exactly slovenly, but this, the IS-F, is the firm’s first stab at a fully paid-up sports saloon.

The ‘F’ stands for Fuji Motor Speedway, the Japanese track owned by Toyota and the venue for the car’s development. If any doubt remains, one look at the IS-F’s mechanical specification gives a clear indication of its market positioning.

A naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 producing over 400bhp and driven solely through the rear wheels is a strikingly familiar layout; both BMW and Mercedes have products that, give or take the odd cubic centimetre or brake horsepower, match the Lexus blow for blow.

And the Lexus is pitched right up against the BMW M3 saloon and the Mercedes C63 AMG.

That’s tough competition by any measure, but especially so when it’s your first effort. 

Top 5 Super saloons

  • Not only is the XFR the class leader, it is also exceptional value compared to rivals

    Jaguar XFR

    1
  • Mercedes-AMG C63 saloon is priced from £59,800

    Mercedes-AMG C63

    2
  • BMW M3
    The M3 packs a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six that produces 425bhp and 405lb ft

    BMW M3

    3
  • Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
    The old 6.2-litre V8 has been dropped in favour of a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8

    Mercedes-AMG E63

    4
  • Jaguar XJR
    The Jaguar XJR offers monstrous, relentless performance

    Jaguar XJR

    5

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