The new IS-F sedan has shown that engineers at Lexus can build performance cars that can go head-to-head with sport saloons from their German rivals, but convincing buyers the new ‘F’ brand can equal the more established ‘M’ and ‘AMG’ marques is a much tougher challenge. There’s no doubting the IS-F is a solid car. Unfortunately, many agree its stock interior, awkward bodykit and ungainly bonnet bulge doesn’t meld to form a complete package.

Toyota’s design chief Wahei Hirai acknowledged that there were such complaints during a recent interview with Ward’s, but said in defense that the goal with the IS-F was to create a feel for all F performance models rather than focus on the single IS-F.

One way Hirai hopes to differentiate F cars from its German rivals is by creating cars with more aggressive styling. “They appreciate consistency, or continuity, very much. We like to make (our vehicles) a different way,” Hirai explained. “We have to establish our own identity as a Lexus premium brand.”