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The first generation Altezza (codename XE10) was launched in Japan in October 1998, while the Lexus IS 200 (JCE10) made its debut in Europe in 1999 and in North America as the IS 300 in 2000. The first generation, straight-6-powered IS featured sedan and wagon variants. The second generation IS (GSE20) was launched globally in 2006 with V6-powered IS 250 and IS 350 sedan models. A high-performance V8 version, the IS-F, premiered in 2007. According to Lexus, the IS designation stands for Intelligent Sport.
On 6 December 2006, Lexus officially confirmed the existence of a high-performance variant of the second generation IS which they called IS-F in a press release. The IS-F sedan premiered at the 2007 North American International Auto Show on 8 January 2007 as the launch product of Lexus' F-marque lineup of performance-focused vehicles. The new IS-F features a 5.0 L direct-injected V8 producing 416 SAE hp (423 PS, 311 kW) at 6,600 rpm, while peak torque is 371 ft·lbf (505 Nm) at 5,200 rpm. The engine also features a two-stage intake system, engine oil and transmission fluid coolers and an oil pump designed for high-speed cornering. Images were leaked a couple of hours before the official announcement.
The specifications upon release are as follows: starting price is $56,000 USD, 5.0L V8 engine, 416 hp (310 kW) at 6,600 rpm, 371 ft·lbf (503 N·m) torque at 5,200 rpm, 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.6 seconds, and a top speed of 170 mph (270 km/h) (electronically limited). According a test by Automobile Magazine, the IS-F recorded a 331 hp and 276 pounds of toque on a DynoJet dynamometer.
The debut of the higher performance variant of the IS was preceded by spy photos of prototype testing in Germany and California, along with other disguised Lexus test vehicles. The previous generation IS 430 prototype vehicle was indicative of future possibilities for the IS series, including the likelihood that a second generation high-performance IS model could come equipped with a V8 engine. It was also rumored that there would be a coupe and a convertible version for a 2009 model, as well as a convertible version of the V8-powered IS.
The chief engineer of the second generation IS was Suguya Fukusato, a rally driver, while the IS-F project was led by Yukihiko Yaguchi, who worked on the Toyota Supra.
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Check out the Lexus IS wallpapers and Lexus IS Pictures (pics) collection below: