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F Is For Fast

Originally published in Alive Magazine

If you’ve never thought of yourself as a traditional Lexus student, get ready for a new lesson.

From a brand name that conveys silvery smooth rides and black-tie elegance comes its latest creation – the Lexus IS F (starting around $50K). Despite its reputation for class and civility, this is not your mother’s Lexus; think of it as more like the family’s black sheep. The “F” appellation is derived from the “Circle-F” internal code that Toyota used over twenty years ago while it was creating the Lexus brand, but it also refers to the Fuji racetrack in Japan, where the car was thoroughly tested (the “F” emblem is shaped like the first turn of the course).

Lexus doesn’t offer a manual transmission – instead, the IS F comes standard with an 8-speed (that’s right!) automatic transmission with manual mode and F1 race-inspired paddle shifters.

Lexus claims that the IS F is the world’s first 8-speed sport, direct-shift, automatic transmission and that its gearbox can shift as fast as any Ferrari F430 – and we’re talking milliseconds here. With a 5.0-liter V8-engine that kicks out a 416-horsepower, the IS F accelerates from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds. Just think how proud your mother will be when you show her your new Lexus – at least until you give her a heart-stopping ride around the block.

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