Only 500 examples are planned for North America.
Compact performance sedans with V8 power are rare right now. BMW only ever made one V8-engined M3 sedan with the E90 generation before reverting back to its trusty inline-six, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has V6 power, and the Mercedes-AMG C63 won't have a V8 for much longer. That's why the announcement of the V8-powered 2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance - which actually competes with the BMW M340i, not the M3 - was such a big deal. Lexus has now revealed a special, limited version of this sedan known as the IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition. We can safely say that it is quite a looker.
This Launch Edition uses the same 5.0-liter V8 engine sans forced induction which delivers 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. It will allow the Lexus to reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds - nothing to bother those aforementioned rivals - but still much more potent than any other IS. The same eight-speed automatic transmission will be used, along with various driving modes. To set this Launch Edition apart, it's finished in an exclusive Incognito color that is complemented by aggressive 19-inch forged alloy BBS wheels with seven spokes and a matte black finish.
Those wheels result in an overall weight saving of 16 pounds relative to the IS 500 F Sport Performance's standard wheels. That car can also be equipped with these wheels as part of the Dynamic Handling Package. The vertically stacked quad exhaust outlets remain, and overall, it's quite a mean-looking sedan.
Moving inside, the Launch Edition gets two-tone Ultrasuede upholstery in black/gray. This material also makes it onto the center console and door accents. Unfortunately, one of the problems with the IS remains a lack of passenger space.
Other changes include a new steering wheel with silver ash wood inlays and special badging, plus a new animation effect for the combination instrument meter. Serialized Launch Edition badging serves as a reminder that just 500 examples of these models will be produced for the North American market. Pricing has yet to be announced, but like the regular IS 500 F Sport Performance, the Launch Edition will be making its way to dealerships this fall. This latest IS 500 F Sport Performance Launch Edition may not be as hardcore as the IS F, but it's close enough to get us excited.