Lexus is kicking off its V8 revival with a limited-run Launch Edition model of the 2022 IS 500 F Sport Performance. Painted in “Incognito” grey and exclusive to the North American market, the Launch Edition will be constrained to just 500 units, each boasting a serialized plaque and other unique elements.
In addition to the aforementioned paint finish (and it is indeed the only option for Launch Edition), you also get a set of 19-inch BBS wheels borrowed from the standard IS 350 F Sport’s dynamic handling package, shown here in a nice gunmetal finish. As an added bonus, Lexus says they weigh about four pounds less per corner than the regular F Performance wheels. Not bad.
Inside, you get a handful of unique interior bits, headlined by the serial number plaque on the center console. Other nice touches include a (heated) silver ash wood steering wheel with faux suede inserts (which you’ll also find on the seats, door accents and center console) and a “Launch Edition” animation in the instrument cluster.
Despite the lack of strict mechanical upgrades (unless you consider wheels to be in that category), the F Sport Performance Launch Edition’s performance qualifications are pretty sound. You get the same 472-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 with 395 pound-feet of torque, which is the same V8 Lexus has utilized elsewhere in recent F models. It currently powers the RC F coupe and, until last year, was also found under the hood of the larger GS F sedan.
Like the BMW M3 it matches for power, the Lexus will come standard with rear-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential, making it a convincing performance offering, but Lexus cautions that while it is certainly more potent under the hood than the original IS F, the F Sport Performance will not represent the pinnacle of its “F” brand. Power will go to the rear end by way of the same eight-speed automatic that Lexus uses elsewhere.
Just 500 examples of the Launch Edition will be built, and it will be exclusive to North America. Pricing will be announced a little closer to the IS 500 F Sport Performance’s on-sale date, which Lexus has not yet shared.