Lexus had a very engaging display this year at the 2009 SEMA Show, representing a performance-minded side that is just now starting to be truly embraced by the company. In a nice layout adjacent to the Convention Center, sitting quiety ouside, were four IS350C variations from top tuners along with one real 2011 LFA supercar making its U.S. debut (after last week’s worldwide debut at the Tokyo Motor Show).
The Lexus IS has always been viewed as sort of a second-class citizen in the luxury sports car market, competing against the likes of the BMW 3-Series and the Infinity G35/37. It didn’t necessarily have the fit and finish nor the chutzpah of its competitors, but with rear-wheel drive, excellent handling and a lightweight stiff chassis, it has always been a contender. Now, with the company’s F-Sport line of tuning parts from the venerable TRD and the new 2011 LFA halo vehicle, Lexus has seriously upped the ante.
We love their aggressive push into the high-performance car segment and their willingness to provide their customers with tuning options. After all, with an average buyer age of 54 years old, this seemed impossible just a few years ago. But Toyota is never one to rest on their laurels and they the are bringing a little Scion-like flavor to their upper-crust brand.
Lexus IS 350 C by Fox Marketing
Brian Fox (of the York, PA company carrying his last name) started with a 2010 Lexus IS 350 C convertible as his SEMA car and added a Jashaan ProCharger C-2 Blower, iForged Flat Black Sprint Wheels, F-Sport 14″ Big Brakes with 6-piston calipers, F-Sport exhaust system, Yonaka SPECII 36-way adjustable coilovers, custom lip molded front spoiler, IS F front fenders, IS F side skirts, 2-inch fender flares, a rear bumper flare and a SEIBON carbon rear wing. And to finish it all off, the car was painted with Foxy Green paint. All told, the Fox Marketing IS350C puts out 405 hp with 6 pounds of boost and features a whopping number of custom body panels.
Lexus IS350C by VIP Auto Salon and JTuned.com
The first thing that makes a statement with this lightly modified IS350C is the matte Matador Red paint job with black accents. It features a custom intake system, exhaust and filter along with a new fuel map schema and throttle system. The hood and trunk spoiler are made out of carbon fiber. About $15,000 worth of work and 1 1/2 months of labor was required to modify this Lexus IS convertible. Sadly, there is no supercharger or significant engine boost but this is a nice and subtle update from Jtuned and VIP Auto Salon.
O-60 magazine and Design Craft Fabrication Lexus IS 350 C
The Lexus IS 350C by 0-60 Magazine and Design Craft Fabrication features a GReddy Performance exhaust system, engine management computer and gauges in addition to Advan Racing Lightweight one piece racing wheels wrapped in Continental Performance tires, a Brembo Big Brake kit, KW coilover suspension system and Ings+1 exterior body kit. This is an aggressive and performance-minded variation, but the Pontiac G8 style hood vents (while aesthetically pleasing) cause too much visual association with the now defunct brand for our tastes.
Lexus IS 350 C F-Sport by TRD
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) went all out with their Lexus IS C F-Sport. Their latest project is equipped with a ground effects kit from the folks at Five Axis Design and is slathered in Vibrance Orange Glow candy paint. This modified IS C rides on a set of 19″ F-Sport forged aluminum alloys donning sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Lexus’s F-Sport front and rear brake performance upgrade kit provide all of the stopping power. The F-Sport lowering kit has new shocks and springs along with a set of sway bars.
2011 Lexus LFA
The Lexus LFA made its North America debut at SEMA sitting under a nice tent with a gaggle on onlookers and a nice armed guard. With a limited production of just 500 units and a price tag of $375,000, this supercar was fantastic to witness up close and personal. The car features a 4.8-liter V10 engine with 552 bhp go for 0-62 mph runs in just 3.7 seconds.
Lexus IS 300 by David Huang
This Lexus IS 300 is dubbed the “IS 1000″ by owner David Huang, and for good reason. Mr. Huang invested over $100,000 to turn his sport sedan into a true monster with an estimated 1,000 hp engine. Sporting a color-shift Midnight Purple paint scheme, custom body panels and 20″ JDM wheels with massive Endless calipers and rotors sitting just behind, it looks both sinister and able.