I've recently taken delivery of a 2012 build 2012 MY IS F. A trade-in with one previous owner. She's black with a red interior, and so far the name Lailah seems to have stuck...!?
This is not intended as a comprehensive review, or a gushing tale about how it drives, but rather the impressions that have stuck within the few days of a more practical nature.
She's tight inside, and there isn't a whole lot of storage. Certainly useable with ten million courtesy lights everywhere. Mine has the sunroof, so headroom is the main issue as the seats just can’t quite get low enough for my 179cm. It’ll be letting me know when it is hair cut-time. That aside, the seats are great. Still working on the optimum driving position. Wish there was a sunnies storage location other than the door pockets or centre console. I have swipe-pass to access the work car park, and that fits nicely in the slot in the sun visor, which is great. Rear legroom not so bad, but wouldn’t want to sit there without being able to stretch my legs after a while. Certainly fine for around town. I really wish the rear seatback was a 60/40 split/fold.
People have complained about the buttons and controls feeling cheap. They’re better than the 981 Porsche Cayman I was thinking about dropping money on! I think the buttons are all quite nice. Things are starting to date, but holding up well for something designed in the early 2000s. Dash layout in the MY12 not so bad either. Pretty standard Japanese control layout. No issues here, aside from wishing there was a mute button on the steering wheel and I’m not a fan of the cruise control stalk. Would prefer them on the wheel too, but soon you’d have fifty buttons on the thing. It is nice being able to turn the infotainment screen fully off.
Last tank I was showing 10.5L/100km average. Since I’ve owned it, I think the overall consumption is 12.6L/100km. Freeway/city driving mix. No real peak-hour stuff yet as I work strange hours. That’s not bad for a mad 5.0L V8, just wish the fuel tank was about 75-80L. That would be ideal. Should still be able to get away refuelling once a week. We will see. I haven’t had a “normal” week with it yet, as I haven’t had it a week, and also because I’ve been pushing the right pedal pretty hard on occasion.
Ride around town is pretty good, but you’ll feel crappy surfaces for sure. Considering what it is, it’s quite good but this isn’t an LS. Make sure it’s something you are prepared for. I had read about the “bone shattering” ride before I stumped up the cash, but went with it anyway and I think that applied more to the 08-09 models. Whatever, it certainly is NOT going to rattle your fillings out.
Steering is much better than I’d hoped. The 981 I was looking at had super-precise steering but zero feedback. NONE. That would probably get me burnt at the stake on the Porsche forums I’m on, but it is true. I can at least feel what is going on under the fronts with the F. No complaints.
All-round vision isn’t bad. The windscreen is small. Blind-spots aren’t too bad. Still working out where I want my mirrors. Judging the extremities of the car is still something I haven’t mastered yet. The front left corner is the hardest to pick, as the bonnet bulge doesn’t help matters. I am not parallel parking anytime soon. Rear vision OK, a bit better when you drop the rear head restraints.
Day to day driving is pretty bloody non-eventful. Aside from me still getting used to it, it is about as happy doing 30km/h as it is doing 130km/h. Quite an achievement. You know it is wasted at 30km/h but it doesn’t FEEL wasted at 30km/h, if you can follow. You can just turn up the sound system and cruise. If you leave it in D and with Sport mode off, it is actually quite dignified.
Brakes feel insane. I haven’t had to hit them hard yet, and nor do I want to, but I feel that if someone isn’t leaving a decent gap behind me and isn’t 110% switched on, they are going to end up in my back seat if I needed to execute an emergency stop. Bit of pad dust already but the car is black so it isn’t too bad. Black cars are a pain to keep clean at the best of times anyway so I think I’ll be busy regardless.
Foot park brake takes a bit of getting used to.
Engine is nuts. I wish it had a 15 speed box so I could just keep revving it out and changing up, and up and up. Then down and down again…repeat…
That brings me to the transmission. I’ve never ever owned an automatic car and hadn’t intended to. However, the fiancé is a slacker and can’t be bothered to get a manual car licence. Called me whipped or whatever you like, but there are times when you wish SWMBO was able to drive and it was easier getting an auto. However, I in no way feel this auto box is a cop-out. It’s a bloody fantastic unit. Happy to slush in D and just smash the shifts in M. Incredible. Even in D it will engine brake for you. You can even restrict the gears it will shift to in D by pulling – and then adjusting with – or + as you see fit. It is my opinion that the -/+ action with the shift leaver is the wrong way around, but the paddles make up for that. I was seriously sceptical about the claims of reviews who had driven this car before I took it for a test drive. It’s really all that. I reckon 90% of your driving style can be retained if you come straight from a manual ‘box.
That’s about it for now. It turned out a bit longer than I expected. For those of you who are thinking of owning an F, ask away with any questions you have. I’ll keep updating this thread as time goes by. For those that own an F, well, you know all this already. And that it really is quite an incredible little sedan.
Oh P.S. Most people pay ZERO attention to this car which was important for me. It's just a little black retiree's Lexus. But some people do know what it is (or think they do) and generally bring the dickhead factor with them. It's easily ignored but should you feel the need, I think I lot of people will be surprised by it.