I remember the first time I received an F on an exam. I was in 11th grade and the class was Algebra II. Before this unfortunate event, I had always been an excellent math student never receiving a grade lower than a B. When the teacher handed me my test paper, I saw the bold, red 57 scrawled across the top. My heart sank. I felt as if my life were over or at least my chances of getting into an Ivy League college. After that devastating experience, I vowed never to get an F again.
I managed to keep that promise throughout my academic career (well, there was one time in Calculus III, but I won’t delve into that), however, I was enticed by another type of F that didn’t affect my G.P.A.
The F-Series is Lexus’ line of high-performance vehicles. I spent a week with the 2014 Lexus IS F, the fastest sedan Lexus has ever produced, and I loved every minute of it.
Although the 2014 Lexus IS didn’t get a body redesign, it still looks appealing with fluid lines and aggressive styling. With “F” logos on the headrests and floor mats, the interior made me feel like I was stepping into a superhero’s car. I felt a bit heroic as I settled into the racing-inspired seats and grabbed the steering wheel.
Driving the IS F was a visceral experience that started the moment I turned on the 416 horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine. I not only heard the roar, but I also felt it vibrate throughout my body. As soon as I pressed the gas pedal, the car lunged forward with blistering acceleration. I gripped the steering wheel tighter as my body was pressed into the seat. Four seconds later, the speedometer had reached 60. As I continued to press the gas, the Lexus IS F seemed as if it had unlimited acceleration. I kept eyeing the 200 mph mark on the speedometer, but backed off the gas because I was on a public road. I have no doubt that the car would have easily reached that milestone in less than 30 seconds and handled beautifully while doing it.
I found a back road to test the Lexus IS F’s driving modes. I started with the automatic transmission in SPORT mode. In this mode, the steering felt tighter and I felt an overall performance boost in the transmission and double-wishbone suspension.
In addition to the handling and speed, I was also impressed by the car’s braking performance. The 2014 Lexus IS F comes with Brembo brakes – the ones you find on the world’s best high-performance cars. I learned the value of top-tier brakes while racing a Ferrari F430 GT. In that vehicle I reached speeds over 170 mph. When you’re going that fast, you need reliable brakes that can stop the vehicle quickly. The brakes on the IS F were able to stop the car almost as quickly as it accelerated. This feature gave me peace of mind as I pushed the car to it’s limits.
When I switched to “M” mode and used the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, the IS F transformed into a powerful racing sedan. The performance was enhanced by Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. VDIM can anticipate a skid and help you to maintain traction and momentum. As I drove through several curves, the vehicle remained firmly planted on the ground and I felt fully in control at various speeds.
As I continued to drive in “M” mode, I felt a twinge of excitement throughout my body. The hairs on my arms stood on edge. My heart raced. I may have even laughed hysterically. It was a thrilling driving experience that I will never forget.
If you’re a driving enthusiast who is looking for a high-performance, highly satisfying vehicle, the 2014 Lexus IS F fits the bill. This is one F that never fails to deliver an A+ driving experience.
Lexus IS F – $68,339 as tested.