Luxury and performance are two words not always found together when describing sedans, and when they are it is usually being used as adjectives to describe German automobiles. Lexus wants to prove it can offer serious competition to the luxury sport sedans from Europe, and it arrives in the form of the new GS F.
Lexus first brought a beefy V-8 engine to the IS platform several years ago, but that vehicle suffered from the performance aspect being an afterthought. The new GS sport sedan platform Lexus re-introduced a few years back was a much better candidate to handle a higher output engine. In fact, the new RC F coupe utilizes some of the GS architecture in its underpinnings, and we have seen just how well that vehicle performs with more than 400 ponies under the hood.
The GS F features the 467hp 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine that features a redline of 7,300 rpm. It has optimized intake and exhaust manifolds as well as high-performance-tuned variable valve timing. Direct injection is utilized, and the cylinders have a high-compression ratio of 12.3:1. There is also a high-function baffle near the exhaust tips which themselves have a stylish yet sporty integration into the rear fascia. The power is sent to the rear wheels via Lexus’ 8-speed sport direct shift automatic transmission for solid, smooth shifts. The gearbox also features Lexus G force artificial intelligence shift control to keep the engine in the optimum operating range in all driving situations.
As with the RC F, the Lexus GS F features driving modes of Normal, Eco, Sport S, and Sport S+, the latter of which should be reserved for track operation. Standard is the torque vectoring rear differential that enhances traction control for better handling and performance. There are three modes for the TVD including standard, slalom, and track. The vehicle chassis features high structural rigidity and uses performance-tuned double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension systems. Lexus engineers have also beefed up brake components to Brembo gear while also adding front brake duct cooling and the electric power steering system is enhanced for performance.
The GS F features some distinct styling escapes from GS 350 and 450h hybrid sedans by way of more aggressive front-end design with functioning air inlets, carbon fiber rear spoiler for improved downforce and high-speed stability, driver-focused cockpit enhancements with unique F seating, and advanced onboard technologies. Standing still this car looks aggressive, and driving it feels like it was built specifically to take from street to track at any given moment.
Some of the driving and safety technologies that are included in the 2016 GS F are pre-collision system including pre-collision brake, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beam/adaptive high beam system, auto location tire pressure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, a rear view monitor system, and intuitive parking assist.
The cockpit features the Lexus remote touch interface for accessing infotainment via the 12.3-inch electro multi-vision touchscreen display with dual display capability. The GS F also offers the premium 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system with 17 speakers and 7.1-channel digital sound reproduction. The dashboard features Alcantara suede across the top along with some carbon fiber trim elements throughout the interior. The F-exclusive sport bucket seats up front hold driver and front seat passenger firmly in place for those times when the vehicle is pushed closer to its limits yet they are comfortable enough for everyday driving as well as long road trips.
While the Germans have the upper hand in terms of overall power output from supercharged and turbocharged powerplants, Lexus is doing just fine with the V-8 used in the RC F and GS F models, and pricing is much more affordable. The final sticker for our tester GS F was $87,175. Fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway and there is no gas guzzler tax.
The 2016 Lexus GS F is a blast to drive. Think of it as refined performance, as it manages to never forget there is luxury in this luxury sport sedan. The GS is not Lexus’ biggest seller and this GS F is going to be very niche in sales, but for those of you tired of your luxury sport sedans speaking with German accent, here is a viable alternative that won’t let your forget cars are all about being driven.