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March 22, 2013

Lexus IS F: Big ride, big price

(Continued)

After a week of test-driving the rear-wheel drive IS F, I can sum up its driving modes this way.

For family driving, push the auto start and then the ‘snow’ button hidden from driver view on the lower dashboard under the steering wheel. Gearing is relaxed and fuel economy can reach 23 miles per gallon.

For daily commuting, push the start button, put in drive and go. In normal mode, the gears will shift as needed depending upon your driving style.

For an aggressive stance, push the start button and the steering wheel mounted ‘sport’ button. This instantly increases throttle, steering response and shift pattern while loosening the car’s traction control settings. Nudge the gearshift to activate ‘manual’ mode and the paddle shifters spring to life, then hold on.

There is more. For track use, press and hold the VSC button for three seconds to disengage stability controls and achieve all-out performance.

Car people talk about horsepower and torque a lot. Just remember, torque is what powers the rear wheels through a crankcase similar to what an eggbeater does with the yolk. It spins and twists. The faster it spins, the quicker the yolk blends. 

On the IS F, a torque-sensing rear end (eggbeater) matches its power output to any slippage (traction) of the rear wheels. The result is increased traction for mind-blowing fulfillment through turns and bends in the road.   

If you are seriously considering an IS F purchase, you may want to add the price of track membership for pure, adrenalin rushing all out performance and safety.

Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at editor@ptd.net

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