The GS F is Lexus’ sportiest sedan, a large four-door that offers unexpected performance and versatility.
With a powerful V8 engine routing its torque to the rear wheels, this car is a legitimate sports machine, competing with other speedy sedans like the Cadillac CTS V-Sport and Audi S6 to name a couple. Here are nine important things to know about this go-fast four-door.
In a world chockablock with downsized turbocharged engines the GS F’s high-winding naturally aspirated V8 is a breath of fresh air, a characterful reminder of the good ol’ days. Displacing an even 5.0-liters, this two-by-four is both creamy smooth and incredibly muscular, rated at 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Pounding its chest, this engine can rocket the car to 60 miles an hour in as little as 4.5 seconds, it can tear up the quarter-mile in less than 13, aided by a smooth and responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. Not bad for a car that weighs more than two tons (4,043 pounds/1,830 kg)!
But when you’re not burying the accelerator the engine is relatively placid, delivering plenty of low-speed torque for effortless around-town motoring.
ALSO SEE: Where is Lexus Made?
Giving it the bark to match its bite, the Lexus GS F is equipped with a clever bit of under-hood kit that allows it to produce some truly glorious noises as engine revs build. Nail the accelerator and at around 3,500 rpm a small flap in the intake system opens, which allows it to broadcast some real V8 sound and fury. A smooth and powerful engine that makes beautiful music is undoubtedly the best part of this performance machine.
And if you drive with even a modicum of care, this husky sedan will deliver incredible fuel economy. Indeed, it’s only rated at 16 miles per gallon (14.9 L/100 km) in the city, 24 (9.7 L/100 km) on the highway and 19 mpg (12.5 L/100 km) combined by the U.S. EPA, but in this author’s hands it delivered just shy of 28 miles per gallon on a 600-plus-mile road trip. That’s incredible for a car with nearly 500 horsepower! And no, I wasn’t hypermiling.
Having both port and direct fuel injection, a high compression ratio of 12.3-to-1 and the ability to selectively run on the Atkinson cycle as conditions permit, are a few reasons for this impressive efficiency.
The GS F rolls on forged, staggered-width, hand-polished 19-inch BBS wheels that are wrapped in sticky Michelin tires. Meaty Brembo brakes are standard, an arrangement comprised of six-piston mono-block front calipers and 15-inch rotors; four-pot binders with 13.6-inch discs service the rear.
Lexus’ Linear Adaptive Variable Suspension system is standard, providing a controlled though tolerably firm ride. If you’re looking for the car to waft along like a land yacht of decades past this is the wrong luxury sedan for you.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Mercedes-AMG S 63 Review – VIDEO
A relatively large and heavy piece of equipment, the GS F is nonetheless engaging, behaving like a smaller car. The steering is crisp without verging on twitchy, while friendly sightlines instill driver confidence. Of course, body motions are well controlled.
Giving owners yet another feature to play with is a standard torque-vectoring differential that offers three driver-selectable setting, though, honestly, it’s completely unnecessary for normal street usage.
By now you should be getting the impression that this Lexus is a well-rounded luxury sedan. Even so, it does have a few annoying quirks.
And one of the most significant is the interior. Yes, it’s spacious and of course the assembly quality is top notch, but the design and materials could use an overhaul. The multi-tier dashboard looks out of step with current trends and much of the switchgear seems like it was pulled directly from a lower-priced Toyota. This is not what you want to see in a luxury vehicle stickering for nearly six figures. Out the door this particular car went for $86,725, including $995 in delivery fees (est. $114,816 CDN).
The GS F’s interior didn’t even feel as nice or well thought out as the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s I tested a few weeks before, a much more mass-market model that stickered for around half as much.
But you can live with a less-than-stellar cabin, what’s far more inexcusable these days is poor infotainment technology, and this Lexus’ offering is disastrous.
Their Remote Touch Interface puts a mouse-like control nub on the center console that you use to move a cursor around like you would on a computer. But what works well on a desktop PC is simply not appropriate in a car. As you might imagine, this arrangement is challenging to use while driving and the interface is completely unintuitive. Even simple tasks like entering an address in the navigation system or managing radio presets is a chore. At least the large, 12.3-inch screen is bright and colorful.
Another complaint about this car centers on the GS F’s climate-control system. Its air conditioning was surprisingly ineffective, at least in the model tested for this review. It struggled to keep the cabin comfortable in late-summer with temperatures no greater than the mid-to-upper 80s. During my time with the car, I pretty much left it as low as it would go with the recirculation button pressed but it never really got cold. This could have been a quirk with one particular car but if you’re shopping for a GS make sure the AC works to your liking.
The GS F is a large car though it’s still unexpectedly versatile. Its front seats are supportive and well contoured, plus its back bench has lots of stretch-out room, plenty of space for two lanky adults. Even the trunk BIG (in capital letters), offering 14 cubic feet (396 liters) of storage space. Who needs a crossover when a four-door car can be this versatile and fun to drive?
Discuss this story on our Lexus Forum.