The Lexus IS 500 doesn’t have the power to rival the likes BMW M3 Competition and Mercedes-AMG C 63 S but it does have a unique appeal to it. Throttle House recently put it to the test to find out just what makes it so cool.
The most thrilling aspect of the IS 500 is its use of the automaker’s beloved naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8. This engine pumps out 472 hp and 395 lb-ft (536 Nm) of torque that drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Those figures aren’t far off the M3 and C 63 S but if you look at the $56,500 price tag, you’ll notice that it is almost $15,000 cheaper than an M3 and just a couple of thousand more than the BMW M340i, its closest competitor.
While speaking about how the IS 500 compares to the M340i, the reviewers state that by every quantifiable metric, the BMW is the better sports sedan. However, the Lexus has something going for it that cannot be measured on paper and makes it more thrilling and appealing than the M340i.
Things fall down in the cabin, however. The interior of the IS 500 is virtually identical to the 2014 model, meaning it is very dated and bathed in cheap-feeling black plastic. The infotainment system is also lacking but the cool digital gauge cluster makes up for this.
We had the opportunity to drive the IS 500 late last year and were very impressed with it, in particular the quality of the ride. The standard Dynamic Handling Package adds to the driving experience with adaptive variable suspension and a limited-slip differential.