I could fatuously point out that this is not a Lexus IS-F. But then, having spotted those puny exhausts, you already knew that.
This here is a perfectly docile and sensible IS 300, with a sprinkling of F-sport chilli flakes. Unfortunately, as delicious as it sounds, the garnish doesn't actually facilitate this IS's ascent up the Scoville scale.
The front gets a gawping IS-F grille complete with daytime running LED lights, while sports pedals, an F-sport steering wheel and a discreet rear spoiler find their way into the cabin and onto the boot lid respectively. The only under-the-skin graft is a tinkered suspension that makes the ride slightly stiffer for improved handling. But here's the thing: With a kerb weight of about 1,600kg the IS 300 isn't a light car. Furthermore, the fact that the 228bhp 3.0-litre V6 engine doesn't produce enough horsepower, only scuppers this car's chance of being defined as something even remotely sporty.
On the upside though, the ride, despite an injection of additional sternness, is still supple and the amount of kit and build quality are what you'd expect from a Lexus.
The extra Dh18,000 (over the standard IS 300) also buys you a smattering of F-sport badges in the cabin, but stylistically everything, especially the centre console and the gear lever, looks about as modern as a mullet at a Kraftwerk concert. Having been around for six years — that's getting on a bit in car age — the IS 300 is in its last throes and it's beginning to show.
That said, the aura is suitably luxurious and handling is still Lexus roly-poly.
Other bits? You also get a Mark Levinson 13-speaker stereo, keyless entry — bad for your OCD — and all the goodies from the standard car's options list. In essence, it's a plain vanilla IS 300 with a mildly exciting topping. But then you pay a not insubstantial Dh183,000 for the privilege — a serious amount of money for a small saloon.
So, you have to view this car like you would a Mercedes-Benz C-Class with an AMG body kit; go-faster body bits, but little additional go. Actually no additional go, as is the case here.
Make no mistake, the IS 300 F-sport is a great car, but as long as there's the double-edged damnation of those exhausts and the lazy motor, you're not fooling anyone into thinking you're behind the wheel of an IS-F. But then you probably knew that, too.
Model IS 300 F-sport
Engine 3.0-litre V6
Transmission Six-speed auto, RWD
Max power 228bhp @ 6,200rpm
Max torque 300Nm @ 4,400rpm
Top speed 235kph
Plus Ride and build quality, amount of kit.
Minus Not exactly sporty.