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2009 Lexus IS350 F-Sport Review

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We love red cars. Henry Ford was famous for his black Model T, but can you imagine the scene he would have caused if he'd chosen a color like this Matador Red Mica IS350? This machine stands out from the crowd, and if you have an eye for Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus, a few non-standard items have probably shocked you more than the paint. This femme fatale features the new Lexus F-Sport performance parts.

Are they more than simple window dressing? Let's take a look.

These days no performance car seems complete without an upgraded low-restriction intake system or a free-flowing twin-exit exhaust. Fully-polished aluminum with a welded-on F-Sport logo marks the intake tubing immediately as "something special." A reusable dry polyester filter works with a specially-shaped airbox "bottom" to increase airflow to the engine. Downstream, polished 304 stainless steel piping meets with two beautifully welded and polished mufflers, terminating in attractive chrome tips. Beauty meets functionality.

Lexus claims 3 percent and 15 percent horsepower gains, respectively, which just isn’t enough to be noticeable from the driver's seat. We did note the sexy new timbre to the motor's voice, however. Tipping the throttle produces an aggressive, deep bellow from the V6, as opposed to the sanitary silence of the stocker. Conversations inside the car became slightly more difficult and we wondered how well the voice-activated Bluetooth/Navigation system might react to the additional decibels.

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