Lexus IS F targets young buyers with cash

LOS ANGELES (KABC) Mercedes-Benz recently introduced a new C-class sedan that's sure to be a hit with young upscale buyers. And Cadillac's new CTS is getting accolades from far and wide; it also appeals to young, upscale buyers.

But when it comes to Lexus cars, many people don't equate them with younger buyers. But that could change.

This is the meanest, fastest, most powerful Lexus ever built -- the new IS F. A small sedan that packs a high-horsepower punch, it's exclusive, it goes very fast, and it should draw young buyers with $60,000-plus to spend on a car.

To create the IS F, Lexus used the oldest hot-rodding trick in the book. They took the biggest engine they make -- in this case, a V8 from the LS sedan -- tweaked it for even more horsepower -- it puts out 416 -- then you drop it in the smallest car. The result is a true factory muscle car.

The IS F is slightly lower and meaner than the conventional IS models. The hood is raised to clear the big engine, and the body is widened to wrap around the huge wheels and tires.

Lexus even debuted the IS F on a race track -- all the better to prove the car's performance capabilities. With a special eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts like a manual, the stout little Lexus hustles around the road course with ease.

Fuel economy? Don't even ask. The official ratings aren't too bad, but those don't include performance driving.

Not only does the driver get a powerful feel from the engine, it's specially tuned to produce some great sounds.

For now, the Lexus is the performance king of its class. But soon there will be hotter versions of both the Benz and Caddy to challenge it, not to mention a new BMW M3. Anyone with a lot of money and a need for speed might have a tough time deciding.

The IS F will be built in limited quantities, and thanks to early internet buzz, the few that are in showrooms are going to go fast -- in more ways than one.

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