So the day comes to finally get one of my dream cars; a 2011 MY12 Lexus IS F. It's absolutely immaculate on the outside, beautiful on the inside and well serviced. It couldn't have been a more perfect car for the price.
I've always been a fan of fast luxury mid-sized sedans with big motors.
With the IS F you get the beautiful sound of a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8, both through intake and exhaust. It is surprisingly noisy but bearable. Also you're supposed to get the notorious Lexus reliability, but as I found out later this one doesn't have it.
It also has the creature comforts of most modern sedans, including radar cruise control, heated seats, horrible out-dated navigation system, amazing stereo, but without Bluetooth to stream music - a small payoff to have that glorious V8 sound on full load.
The engine and gearbox are a great combo, except if you're below 3000rpm the motor has no torque when you're trying to move.
The gearbox has quick and snappy gear shifts in manual mode but is nice and lazy when you're cruising around.
I did take it to the drags and pulled a really disappointing 13.3 second quarter mile, and it suffered severe heat soak after five runs. However when I took it to our local race track for some laps, the IS F started to make a lot of sense, being perfectly balanced around turns with no understeer or oversteer. The gearbox was amazing, with perfectly matched throttle blips and the brakes were amazing with no fade.
So reliability has been a sort of question mark for mine, with issues surrounding the infamous valley plate leak. It was definitely not leaking when I bought the car, but the next week it started to use coolant. I admit I just kept topping it up every three days with 100ml at a time for around a month.
I ended up doing the job myself. It wasn't exactly the most friendly job I have ever done, but I made sure everything was perfect (I'm actually a Toyota mechanic). It all lasted one month, as I then did some spirited driving and decided to blow the seal out again unfortunately. I found the cause, which was a faulty rad cap not releasing pressure and over-pressurising the system. Unfortunately the design of the valley plate surface isn't a good design and could have had a better design for sealing.
The second issue I had - but knew about - was that my dash was sticky, but Lexus warranteed a 9-year old car due to a dash campaign on the IS range.
The third issue I have is regarding the ride quality on rough roads and at low speeds. The ride is horrendous, but I guess for great handling there needs to be a line drawn for ride quality.
Fourth issue is the small fuel tank; you are always at the servo filling it up. It only costs $50 per fill, but you are always there. It's like the IS F just lives there.
Apart from all that, the car is amazing. It is just a shame that it has a vital design flaw which, to be honest, makes me regret not buying an E92 M3, knowing there will be issues that will need rectifying straight away.
NOTE: With no owner image available for this story, we have used a CarAdvice photo.