HIGH PERFORMANCE WITH FOUR DOORS
Can a new high performance model in their GS lineup spark a jump in sales? Lexus sure hopes so. But it will be a tall order. The new GS F has to go up against icons like the BMW M5, the Mercedes E63 AMG and the Audi S6. Yet, this new Lexus is impressive, and a worthy competitor.
At the heart of the GS F is a 5.0-liter V-8. It cranks out a massive 467 horsepower and 389 pound feet of torque. The engine note from this V-8, which is enhanced through the audio system, might be reason alone to buy the GS F. It delivers a melodic rumble at idle that turns into an angry roar when the pedal meets the metal. Completing the power train is an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. Lexus says that the GS F will rush up to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. Having nailed the accelerator once or twice, I have no reason no doubt it. If you’re the type that likes to select the gears yourself, shift paddles on the steering wheel will accommodate that.
Out on the road, the GS F is a very engaging car to drive. Lexus firmed up the suspension and quickened the steering on this model. They also equipped this GS with a torque-vectoring differential. This system sends power to the outside rear wheel to assist with cornering. The result of all this is that the GS F steers precisely, and feels well planted negotiating turns. However, the ride is a bit stiff. Yet, a firm ride is not uncommon on high performance sport sedans, and most GS F buyers will likely find this a reasonable tradeoff for the handling precision this car provides.
The GS F gets distinctive styling touches to separate it from other GS models. Most notable on the exterior is the black mesh treatment to the spindle-shaped grille. When you see that coming at you in your rearview mirror, you’re likely to get out of the way. Also distinguishing the GS F from lesser models are larger 19-inch wheels and a carbon fiber rear-deck spoiler.
Inside, special high-backed sport bucket seats hold the driver and front passenger snugly in place during vigorous driving. An “F” model gauge cluster with a prominent tachometer transmits critical info to the driver. A head-up display in color on the windshield tells you how fast you’re speeding, and carbon-fiber accents on the dash, doors and console hint at the serious performance that this car delivers.
Of course, The GS F comes with all the luxury and safety features common to other GS models. LED headlights, keyless entry/start, leather upholstery, 12-speaker audio and Enform Remote are standard. Enform Remote can do cool stuff, like start the engine, adjust the air conditioning and set driver limits from outside the car. Lexus also equips the GS F with its Remote Touch interface with a 12-inch screen. This system, which uses a mouse-type controller to program navigation, audio and more, has a lot of eye appeal, but can be distracting to operate. Not a good thing in a high performance car.
As for safety, Lexus equips the GS F with all the latest systems to insure that you make it to your destination. The list of features is extensive, and includes blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruse control and forward collision mitigation and braking. This last item detects if you are about to rear end the car in front of you, and applies the brakes to lessen the impact. This is something every car should have.
Lexus has done an excellent job in creating a capable high performance sport sedan. The power is awesome; the handling is superb and did I mention the marvelous engine sound? Now, Lexus has to find a way to entice potential buyers to come in for a test drive. That may be their biggest hurdle. However, if they can do that, they are bound to attract new customers to the brand.
The Lexus GS F is not cheap—the starting price is $85,390. However, that is about $10,000 less expensive than a BMW M5.
Safety Features Galore