Lexus has taken the wraps off the IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition at Sebring International Raceway on the eve of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Limited to 500 vehicles, the 2022 model will be sold exclusively in North America.
It will be powered by the same naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine introduced in the standard IS 500 and as an option in the RC F, which forms the basis of the Lexus RC F GT3 race car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The IS 500 Launch Edition generates 472 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 395 lb.-ft of peak torque at 4,800 rpm.
Vasser Sullivan Racing driver and Lexus ambassador Townsend Bell said the IS 500 Launch Edition embodies the three key areas of sports car racing in performance, balance and endurance.
“There’s the tech transfer that carries over from racing but at the end of the day, there’s nothing that beats a fire-breathing five-liter V8, almost 500 horsepower, that they’ve wedged in their small luxury sedan,” he told Sportscar365.
“I think it signals all of the passionate Lexus enthusiasts and a bunch of customers watching what Lexus has done on the race track and said, ‘OK these guys are getting deeper and even more serious about performance on the Lexus front in terms of what’s available to the consumer.’
“It’s already a terrific chassis and stuffing that motor in it, which I drive every day with the RC F at home, is pretty cool.”
Lexus motorsports manager Jeff Bal said they couldn’t have hoped for a better backdrop for the launch of the IS 500 Launch Edition.
“Even if auto shows were in full swing right now, I’d be hard pressed to say there’d be a better place to launch than at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, one of the most storied endurance races and circuits in the world,” said Bal.
“For us it was a bit of blind luck to get the car here because otherwise without auto shows, it’d be sitting in a warehouse right now waiting for the next event.
“Now we’ve got the new story to tell with the Launch Edition.”
Standing apart from the standard IS 500, the 2022 IS 500 Launch Edition interior builds upon Takumi craftsmanship with elevated interior materials, including sporty two-tone Black & Gray Ultrasuede trimmed front and rear seats, door accents, and center console.
Additionally, the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel receives unique silver ash wood treatment with black F SPORT Performance badging, and the interior will be appointed with a serialized Launch Edition badge to further highlight the vehicle’s exclusivity.
Moreover, the F SPORT combination instrumentation meter has been updated with an exclusive Launch Edition startup animation to further set this model apart from the standard IS 500.
Outside, the IS 500 Launch Edition is sure to turn heads with standard 19-inch split-seven-spoke forged alloy Matte Black BBS wheels from the IS F SPORT Dynamic Handling Package.
Not only are they impressive looking, the 19-inch BBS wheels are approximately 4 pounds lighter per wheel compared to the standard 19-inch IS F SPORT wheel. The vehicle will be sold exclusively in Incognito, an all-new color
for the Lexus lineup.
More information regarding MSRP and available options will be made available closer to launch.
The 2022 IS 500 F SPORT Performance and IS 500 F SPORT Performance Launch Edition are expected to arrive in dealerships later this fall.