The 2022 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance has been unveiled – however, the V8-powered sedan has been designed "exclusively for the [left-hand-drive] North American market" and won't come to Australia.
Lexus has answered enthusiasts' calls since the demise of the IS F in 2014 for a high-performance V8 version of the brand's IS mid-size sedan – with the new model scoring a new 'F Sport Performance' designation, between the existing 'F Sport' and 'F' badges.
Powering the performance IS (which we'll refer to simply as the IS500 from now on) is the venerable 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8 seen under the bonnet of the RC F and GS F performance cars, develops 352kW of power (at 7100rpm) and 536Nm of torque (at 4800rpm).
Drive is sent exclusively to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus claims a 4.5-second sprint from 0-60mph (97km/h). Kerb weight is rated at 1765kg, up just 65kg over the existing, rear-wheel-drive IS350 F Sport, despite the heavier engine and modified bodywork.
Under the skin, the 'standard' IS's 'Dynamic Handling Package' has been fitted as standard to the IS500 to help cope with the extra grunt, with additions including adaptive suspension, a Yamaha rear performance damper (designed to reduce body flex and increase rigidity), and a Torsen limited-slip rear differential.
19-inch Enkei alloy wheels fill the arches – which are said to be 2.7kg lighter in total versus the regular IS F Sport's 19-inch wheels – hiding larger 356mm two-piece front and 323mm rear sports brakes.
On the styling front, upgrades over lesser IS F Sport models largely comprise a 51mm-taller bonnet to accomodate the V8 engine, "lengthened" front bumper and quarterpanels, a new rear diffuser with the brand's signature stacked quad exhaust tips, black window surrounds, black badging and a black lip spoiler.
Inside, the standard model's 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and digital instrument cluster are carried over, with changes limited to F Sport Performance badging on the steering wheel, metallic pedals, unique illuminated door sill plates and an IS500-specific start-up animation for the instrument cluster.
The Japanese brand's full Lexus Safety System+ driver assistance suite carries over to the flagship IS500, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-following assist and more.
The 2022 Lexus IS500 F Sport Performance will go on sale in the US in the northern autumn of 2021.
Don't expect to see the V8-powered range-topper in Australia, with Lexus Australia CEO Scott Thompson confirming to CarAdvice the model will "only [be] produced in left-hand drive unfortunately".
The brand's press release also touts the IS500 as "designed exclusively for the North American market", indicating the Middle East and other key left-hand-drive markets will also miss out.