Lexus IS-F K&N Typhoon air intake dyno test

Project Lexus IS-F Part 1:  We Test the K&N Typhoon High Flow Air Intake

By Mike Kojima

We got an IS-F as one of our daily drivers around the MotoIQ office, because of all things, we wanted a low key performance car that does not attract unwanted attention, an automatic transmission to deal with Southern California bumper to bumper traffic and most importantly, the Lexus famous build quality and reliability.

The IS-F is an interesting machine; it has an 8 speed transmission which uses planetary gears like a conventional automatic.  It also has a torque converter like an automatic; however it has a computer controlled clutch inside the torque converter that locks up solidly when engaged much like a manual transmission.  Lexus call this SPDS or Sport Direct Shift.

Lexus IS-F K&N Typhoon air intake dyno test
The K&N kit is complete with quality non rusting stainless steel hardware, silicone couplers, a mandrel bent tube which probably flows a lot better than stock and a heat shield.

In first gear the car drives on the torque converter from a dead stop for effortless starts.  The clutch locks solid except for shifts after that, so the transmission is not a slipping slush box.  The transmission can shift extremely fast, in sport mode when shifted manually; it can rip off shifts in under 100 milliseconds, faster than you can with a manual transmission, to the tune of more than twice as fast as a speed shift done by a really coordinated person!  In sport mode you have full manual control over the shifting through the stick or steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and the car will burn out in the 1-2 shift and chirp the 2-3 shift.  It also blips the throttle like heel and toeing to smooth downshifting.

Lexus IS-F K&N Typhoon air intake dyno test
Our baseline run on the typically very conservative when compared to a Dynojet Superflow was 302 hp and 287 lb/ft of torque.

The 5 liter 2UR-GSE engine pumps out 416 hp and 371 lb/ft of torque with titanium valved cylinder heads designed by Yamaha’s F1 team.  It has variable cam timing, a 2 stage variable tract length Yamaha designed intake manifold and a compression ratio of 12:1.  Fuel injection is two staged, with direct port injection at low speeds and direct cylinder injection at higher loads.

Lexus IS-F K&N Typhoon air intake dyno test
We first removed the stock airbox and intake tube which was easy thanks to the very well thought out clear and concise instructions.  We were pretty careful digging into this $65,000 car.  Take a look at Kojima's infamous Pineapple head haircut which was the result of a bad trip to the barber.


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Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:43 PM
That's an amazing gain for just an intake! Now if I only had an IS-F.... lol
Scott Helmer
Scott Helmerlink
Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:52 PM
Indeed! Shoot, I'd take just the engine any day of the week! That thing blows my friggin' mind. Toyota needs to make more exciting cars with head design by Yamaha (Still waiting for the "new" AE86). For example, this engine in a 2 seater/2+2 with some hot cams and an optional supercharger would make an excellent Supra. Just keep it away from Hulk Hogan's son, and it'll be all gravy.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:37 PM
Mike, what's up with that New Kids On The Block look?.....lol
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, January 21, 2011 4:52 AM
I went to the barbershop around the corner and one of the old times cut my hair. It was so bad, he scaled 1/3 of the top of my head and the rest was all uneven and patchy. To fix it I had to shave a lot of my head. Some parts are still messed up as you can see, the worst haircut in my life!
Friday, January 21, 2011 5:41 AM
Holy snap! I didnt think Lexus left much of anything on the table with the IS-F now I am left wondering what else it has in store for you guys, look forward to reading about what happens when you get a less restrictive exhaust on it! Also can you guys post a vid of how it sounds with the new air intake?
Tarik Laaraj
Tarik Laarajlink
Friday, January 21, 2011 7:08 AM
Thats crazy, the is-f.is notorious for not gaining power with mods the last time I looked on club lexus.

If u wanna see sick gains for an intake, look at the 300zx, compare the stock intake to the dual intake from selin, I think the gains were 40 whp and 30 odd ft-lbs

Look on twinturbo.net or specialty z's blog.
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:23 AM
@rsmotors, I'd say Lexus left a lot on the table. This engine is 5.0L? Making just over 400hp. A BMW M5 5.0L is making 500hp. So, there's certainly room for improvement in there and I guess this intake is proof of that.

The typical Lexus customer wants a very quiet car... so i bet the stock intake was quite restrictive due to this requirement. It'll be interesting to see what an exhaust will do to the car.
Tarik Laaraj
Tarik Laarajlink
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:29 AM
That 5.0 in the M5 is also a V10.
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:50 AM
A few of us on the Lexus forums are wondering why you chose to dyno in 3rd gear when 6th gear is the 1:1 ratio? Also many members have shown that the intake actually loses power after a while so I'd be curious to see a follow up dyno down the road to see if your results agree with this.

As a side note the secondary intake flap mod was popular when it was first brought up however many of our experienced drag racers have found that it actually hurts performance in both 1/4 mile times and trap speeds.

For an exhaust the PTS/Joe Z exhaust is highly recommended and is in use by many ISF owners. Excellent fitment and amazing sound! One of our forum members has an ISF with a Joe Z exhaust and sikky headers and managed an 11.91@120 mph!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Friday, January 21, 2011 9:42 AM
Maybe I've watched CARS with my kids too many times, but I want every every sporty V8 to have that NASCAR sound, side exit exhaust and all! Might be a little much for the IS-F though.

Infinus - I know you're talking about the ECU readjusting after mods but I think it came out this year that K&N and/or AEM were the two big intake companies that are tuning with a particular emphasis on MAF placement for this very reason.

Mike - I only cut my 3 year old and 18 month old kids hair but I think I'm a BIG step up if you need some help in 2 or 3 months once it's grown back out. Worst case scenario, I'll give you the Loyd Christmas cut with the help of a kitchen cereal bowl!
Friday, January 21, 2011 10:13 AM
Hey Mike, since you mentioned the transmission and the manumatic mode I thought I'd ask your opinion on the matter. You can use the paddles, or the shift lever to actuate the upshifts and downshifts. How do you prefer your paddles to behave and how do you prefer your shift lever to behave?
And how does the Lexus IS-F do it?

For example, I prefer my paddles to be large or an continuous loop that doesn't move with the wheel and I like to pull back on the hoop (or large paddles) for upshifts and push them forward for downshifts. Barring that, buttons on the wheel should behave like so: upshifts for buttons on the back of the wheel and downshifts for buttons on the front of the wheel.

I like my shift lever to upshift when pulling backwards towards my body and downshifts to happen when I push forward on the shift lever away from my body.

Reasoning is that G-forces during acceleration make pulling things easier and so upshifts should happen in a pull-toward-your-body motion which to me is more intuitive. Downshifts happen during braking or deceleration (negative acceleration for you Mike) and thus pushing something away from your body is easier and more intuitive during those moments so downshifts should require a pushing motion.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, January 21, 2011 12:56 PM
infinus- We tested in third because K&N tested in third and I was not beliving the numbers they had so I wanted to be in the same gear. The sheet they sent me seemd too good to be true. I think if we tested in 6th, the numbers would have probably been even higher as there is less loss in the drivetrain there. We are going to baseline test again when we get the exhaust so if it drifts we will know. The car feels a lot faster.

Ben- The paddles move with the steering wheel and I kinda don't like that because I sometimes lose the paddles, especialy if the car gets sideways and I have to let go of the wheel drift style and caster steer it. I don't use the stick in manual mode because the paddles are more fun and I like playing F1. I probably should experiment and see.

The car deos shift fast and hard and it stays in gear. The ECU only overides if you request a downshift that it can't do or slow down too much in too high of a gear.
Friday, January 21, 2011 1:43 PM
How the hell did you guys get an ISF for a daily office driver? Some guys have all the luck!
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, January 21, 2011 2:51 PM
I would totally rock an IS-F as my next car, but it's kind of $30K above my price range.

You know, some people think K&N products were overpriced. But I think you get what you pay for. K&N actually dyno tunes their products and puts engineering into them.
Friday, January 21, 2011 3:12 PM
Looking forward to more updates on this one, I really like the IS-F!
Saturday, January 22, 2011 2:55 AM
hope to see vids in the next segment.
yo vanilla
yo vanillalink
Saturday, January 22, 2011 5:21 AM
wow, you're right. that IS a bad haircut!!
Saturday, January 22, 2011 8:17 AM
Mike, so I'm assuming if you can "lose" the paddles that means one is pulled back for an upshift (the right one?) and the other one is pulled back for a down shift (the left one?)?


Left/right stuff (paddles or shift lever) never made an ounce of sense to me.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, January 22, 2011 8:41 AM
No, it means when I get really sideways, I let go of the wheel and let the car caster steer, basically I let go with both hands and let the wheel feed through them until the gets to it's drift angle and then grab the wheel again. Sometimes I lose track of the wheel center as when the car comes out of the slide, I am winding in normal lock again and if this is near the corner exit, I have to upshift sometimes as this car is fast and it goes thorough the gear pretty fast. In that case I sometimes can't find the paddle and I hit the rev limiter. I would prefer the paddles to stay in one place like my buddies Maserati for this reason instead of being attached to the steering wheel.
Saturday, January 22, 2011 9:38 AM
Man, the last time I got a horrendous haircut like that, it was also at the corner barber shop for like $7.... and then I didn't get a haircut for the next 1.5 yrs or so. "Screw you hair cutting industry!" hahaha. now it's all GreatClips or Supercuts for me... it's not worth $7 for the occasional messed up haircut.

As far as the IS-F, you make me like the car more and more each time you write about it. Looking really sweet. Are you going to install that AEM MAF sensor trick thing to keep the power from dropping (if you see if drop when you do the exhaust)? I also like how they have both direct and port injection...sounds like that'd solve the problems that VW was running into with oil from the PCV gunking up the intake valves. Good stuff!
Saturday, January 22, 2011 11:12 AM
This is a highly controversial intake. It can dyno big gains, but heat soaks easily and can dyno losses just as easily. much more concerning this can be found on ISF forums.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, January 22, 2011 6:34 PM
I don't trust a lot of what I read on forums. There are a few members on the forums that get good results with their mods and others who have lots of mods and zero gains.

We will probably modify the heatshield for better sealing and more direct air intake from the factory scoop.
Saturday, January 22, 2011 8:26 PM
That's true Mike, there are so many variables that its hard to make a direct comparison, every car, and dyno react differently. Plus opinions play a heavy role in what is good and what isn't.

Hopefully As the ISF gets more mainstream attention more manufacturers will be willing to dedicate time to make parts as now pickings are rather slim.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, January 23, 2011 7:26 AM
I don't think the ISF will get very much aftermarket attention. It is a very low production car and it doesn't have the pedigree of something like M or AMG.

People who buy these sorts of cars tend to leave them stock as well. The car is really good stock and mods have to be carefuly considered to avoid messing up the car.

We probably will do some suspension stuff with parts we scavanged from Dai's Discount Tire drift car.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:51 AM
Looking at the engine bay pictures I can't help but wonder how an OTR intake would work for this car. If the factory location for the air intake can be worked into an almost straight shot to the TB, it would certainly add to the throttle response and I don't think heat soak would be as great an issue. Just thinking out loud I guess...
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