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By Larry Edsall

Lexus F F-Sport gives Lexus a performance focus

For nearly two decades – yes, it's been that long – Lexus has been producing an expanding line of luxury vehicles. Now, as a famous TV chef would put it, it's time to kick it up another notch.

Mercedes-Benz has its AMG tuning shop. BMW its M division. Audi has its S models. Cadillac has its V series. And now Lexus has F-Sport, its new high-performance models, parts and accessories launched at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

F Sport is available all the way from what we might term mild to absolutely wild. Both forms were on display at SEMA.

We'll start with the more mild IS 350 F-Sport by TRD, or Toyota Racing Development, the automaker's in-house tuning and motorsports arm. TRD started with a Lexus IS 350 and loaded it with F-Sport parts and accessories, namely 19-inch forged alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, exhaust system, lowering springs, sway bars, Bilstein shock absorbers, rear chassis brace, carbon fiber engine cover and cold air intake.

Completing the package was a ground effects body kit and rear spoiler out of the Lexus Genuine Accessories catalog. All of the F-Sport and Genuine accessories are or soon will be available at Lexus dealerships, and can be retro fit back to 2006 models.

In addition to parts and accessories, Lexus will launch full factory-built F models, with the first being the 2008 Lexus IS F, equipped with a 416-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 engine, eight-speed transmission, Brembo brakes and more. The IS F goes on sale in March 2008.

To show the car's potential, Lexus worked with Troy Sumitomo and his Five Axis tuning shop on a SEMA project IS F with a wider, satin black and bronze-painted body, 20-inch wheels, Tein coil-over suspension, even larger Brembo brakes and custom interior. After the SEMA Show, the car was going back to the shop for some engine work expected to bump output to 600 horsepower.

For more information on Lexus Genuine Accessories visit www.lexus.com. For more on F-Sport see www.isftracktime.com. Information on F-Sport parts and accessories will be posted early in 2008 on www.lexus.com and www.isftracktime.com.

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