The Lexus GS F is an embodiment of everything that’s great about a V8 sports sedan
What is it?
The Lexus GS F, Lexus’ second model from its high performance F division. The GS F is an indirect rival to the Mercedes-AMG E63 and the newly launched BMW M5 and it shares the same basic recipe as its German rivals – a large luxury sedan fitted with a thumping V8 drivetrain, rear wheel drive, a shouty attitude and a thrill a minute driving dynamics.
What’s it cost?
The Lexus GS F range is fairly simple really. There’s one model and that’s priced from $153,351 plus on road costs.
Key standard equipment includes that 5.0 litre V8, heated and cooled front sports seats, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, heads up display system, a 17 speaker Mark Levinson sound system, multiple drive modes, satellite navigation and a huge suite of airbags.
Although there is only one model in the GS F range, customers can choose from a number of Enhancement Packs for their GS F, which largely focus on extra carbon fibre trimmings, polished alloy wheels and partial leather and suede seating.
What’s it go like?
The Lexus GS F is a hoot to drive. It may not have the tech of its German rivals, but it feels like an angry, balls out V8 bruiser and to an extent, reminds us of the much loved and sorely missed Holden Commodore SSV.
Power comes from Lexus’ 5.0 litre V8 that produces 351kW @ 7100rpm and 530Nm @ 4800-5600rpm. This engine is also found in the slightly underwhelming RC F and the brilliant LC500. Lexus’ V8 donk is an unusual one.
All of the engine’s power and torque is close to the top of the rev range, meaning that down low the GS F can feel sluggish and lethargic, once you get used to the engine, though, you notice that it has a few surprises up its sleeve. The engine note starts off as a lowly grumble and as the techno needle climbs toward the redline that grumble turns to a properly loud bellow, and then finally to an enraged scream. It’s intoxicating.
The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic – with steering wheel mounted flappy paddles – that sounds power to the rear wheels. The GS F’s multiple drive modes greatly influence how the car’s drivetrain behaves. Economy blunts acceleration and softens gearshifts, and a graphical display on the instrument cluster encourages the driver to drive as efficiently as possible.
Incidentally, we found that Economy mode was actually the best mode for everyday driving. It offered just enough noise and grunt, but at the same time it was comfortable and relatively fuel efficient.
Flick the GS F into Sport + mode, and it becomes, loud, angry and hard. The gear shifts are held for longer and are more aggressive. The engine revs furiously and the GS F feels like it’s ready to wiggle its ass. The overall effect is hilarious. However, Sport + mode isn’t recommended for everyday driving.
Lexus claims an official 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds. Not blisteringly quick, but more than brisk enough. Official fuel consumption is a claimed 11.5 litres on a combined cycle. We managed around 15, not horrendous for a car of this size and performance.
In terms of handling, the GS F is more sledgehammer than scalpel. It feels big and heavy, but as aforementioned, it feels tail happy without being intimidating or scary. The steering is well weighted, communicative and engaging.
Body roll is well controlled and ride is firm but always comfortable.
What’s it like inside?
Big, spacious and well built. The interior is hewn from high quality materials and everything is laid out logically. That said, it is starting to feel a little dated. That large colour infotainment screen doesn’t offer touchscreen screen or Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability. Granted, that Mark Levinson stereo is excellent, and those front sports seats are true butt huggers and the seat heating and cooling that synchs to the climate control is a clever feature.
Head, leg and shoulder room at the front is great. Up the back, though, those sports seats encroach on rear legroom and impinge on rear passengers’ forward vision. The two outermost seats are plush and comfortable, in contrast to the centre seat which is a little raised and quite hard. Perhaps this executive express is best suited to four passengers.
The boot is also capacious, with an electronically opening lid for greater convenience.
What we like:
- That bonkers V8 and its exhaust note
What we don’t:
- V8 lacks torque low down
- Can feel heavy and cumbersome
- Some of the technology is starting to feel dated
- Big cabin is only suited to four people.
Sale or no sale?
We’d have ourselves a Lexus GS F. It’s fast, sounds epic, is a hoot to drive and is a little different from the usual mainstream performance car clique.