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Well, Edmunds is reporting that new spy photos reveal that the IS500 is a reality...
Either Toyota has one seriously fast transport ship, or there are more than a few of these V8-powered IS sedans being put through their paces on the international test circuit. After catching a similar prototype on the Nurburgring recently, these shots come to us from the California desert.
From up close, this prototype reveals a few more details we couldn't see before. First off, those odd stacked tailpipes that looked so fake from far away are indeed the real deal. Second, this high-powered Lexus is going to have some serious running gear. Check out the cross drilled brake rotors, 19-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Third, Lexus doesn't appear to be very worried about keeping this model under wraps any longer as the engineers behind the wheel appeared uninterested in the camera snapping away right in front of them. Maybe it's a sign that we'll be seeing the production version of this IS 500 sedan in the very near future, like the Paris auto show in September maybe?
Then Nihon Car & Bike laughs and says that REAL photos of the IS500 have been available in Japan since March...
It's sometimes a lot of fun to see people swim across oceans or climb the highest mountains to snap a (low quality) "spy shot" of a vehicle that hasn't been released yet, while in Japan, the only thing we need to do is get out of the house and go to a press shop and buy a magazine that has "press pictures" of these cars.
Let's take the long-awaited Lexus IS500 as an example, the M and AMG killer from Japan. Press shots of this vehicle have been available since April 2006 in magazines like Car Top (in their April issue that has been on sale since March). Here's a scan of the page.
For those of you that are not aware what Toyota has cooked up for us, here are the main specs of this IS500: a V8 (2UR-FSE) engine that develops 420bhp (at 5800rpm) and 550Nm of torque (at 3800rpm), 5.0L displacement, overall dimensions of 4665x1820x1435mm with a 2730mm wheelbase and a total weight of 1685kg.
Either way, it seems that Toyota has stopped worrying about keeping this V8 sedan a secret, so everyone cross your fingers and wish for a red bow on your new Christmas present!
Am I the only one wondering why these supposed press pictures have been around for 5 months and this is the first we've heard of them? Don't get your hopes up too high, because although I'm sure the real one will look nice, this isn't it.
How can you guys predict which car is better/faster? We can't drive the new IS 500 and test specs aren't out yet. I know we can make assumptions based on what we know about past cars, but give the new product a chance before saying XX will beat it.
Also, much of this is suggestive. If you seriously are shopping the IS and/or the M3, what will be its purpose? Daily driver? Track/weekend toy? Sure, Lexus usually has more luxury, more sedate driving manners and better reliability, but how much of that applies on the track? The M3 has a very stiff chassis and wonderful driving dynamics, but is that something you want to have put up w/ on a daily commute? It all comes down to the buyer's intended purpose for the car.