In the high-end world of sports sedans there are a number of choices making those that can afford them very happy, very happy indeed. With vehicles that are set up to provide more horsepower than most of us would ever deem necessary (unless pulling something like a mobile home behind them) as with a workhorse truck, this segment is becoming ever more popular.
For the commoner there are things like the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang and to some extent the Dodge Challenger, that have been deemed muscle cars with aftermarket additions that will make them very fast. Then there is the market of high-end luxury that has the abilities via horsepower, torque vectoring, turbo-charging and all types of other wizardry to get the maximum power from their engines that are available today.
Such vehicles in this segment are the likes of the Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M5, Audi S6 and Mercedes E63 AMG. These are some very lofty names that Lexus has chosen to compete with and some that have been around with high-powered sedans for a very long time. So how is the Lexus different from the rest, and how does it really stack up? A great question for those that have the kind of dollars it takes to own and maintain a high-performance vehicle such as this.
In this world Lexus is not the fastest, only able to get to 60 in a very compelling 4.5 seconds. OK, this is a very quick 60 for a mid-sized sedan and would keep anyone we know happy no matter how many times they hit the throttle and made the jump to light-speed. The engineers at Lexus have chosen to keep the turbochargers off of the 5.0-liter engine up to this point to give a more natural feel to the ride and of course there is zero turbo-lag.
The GS-F also comes with a naturally aspirated motor, meaning it’s just a motor and regular exhaust system — no extras to funnel fumes back into the system or anything like that. We would hit the gas the eight-speed transmission kicks down a couple of gears and off we went as it pushed us back in our seats. The GS will hold that low gear as long as possible before shifting up. This alone makes it a very fun car to drive and also a nice, grown up adult sedan with an animal as its inner self.
There are so many different ways to configure this vehicle in drive mode it was almost as confusing as setting up a new smart-phone. There were four choices tied to the engine, transmission, and electric power steering, three for the stability-control system, and another three for the torque-vectoring differential.
In the easy-to-understand category that most of us would tend to use, there was eco mode, and why it is even included was something we could not understand but maybe there are those that would like to act somewhat green in the GS-F at times. Then, there was a normal driving mode, which was great for around town, and finally the occasional quick start; this was the mode the car would start up in.
Give the dial one quick twist to the left and Sport Mode would come into play in the huge LED screen tachometer in the center of the dash would change color new gauges would appear, and when we really wanted all the power available another twist to the left brought about Sport Plus Mode causing another change on the tachometer of course. This was of course the best way to get power and keep that transmission holding onto a lower gear as long as possible.
Even though the Lexus only has 467 horses under the hood, almost 100 lower than the nearest competitor, it will hang with the best of them. It even comes with a selectable LED gauge that will show g-force and where it is being applied, side to side through turns or straight to the rear if accelerating straight down the road, even to the front during heavy breaking.
Since the GS-F is really designed to go fast, take turns as quickly as possible and through a very unique torque vectoring system hold to those turns and not loose traction, it seemed only fitting that there was a timer for lap speed and time. Seemed very cool if we could only have been able to take the Lexus out on the track!
The front comes complete with the brand’s signature spindle grill along with a couple of smaller secondary grills on each side that actually functioned to cool the oil and transmission fluid. Just in front of the first doors was the exit port for each of these coolers, other than that from the side it appears to look like any other Lexus although it does sit a little lower than most. From the rear, one can tell it is something out of the ordinary as the dual exhaust ports on each side are stacked with an offset that adds a great accent letting those behind know they are following something special.
Inside all the Lexus extras were included of course from the extra-large 12.3 inch-screen to an included standard color heads up display. The seats that were beyond comfortable and fit us like a glove and were clad in a beautiful deep red leather that continued to the door panels with fine stitched designs in the seats. They looked more like they belonged in a race car that what we would have expected from the sedan but the design works in the GS-F.
There were also the kind of extras that came standard that we would have expected from Lexus, like a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and eight-way adjustable passenger seat that were both heated and cooled, blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, forward collision alert and avoidance with pedestrian detection. They also included lane departure warning and assist to keep the GS-F in the lane, along with rain sensing wipers and automatic high beam headlights.
Our only complaints if we really could complain with such high performance luxury vehicle in the driveway would have to be the Lexus mouse that controls all the functions on the large screen we still find it very hard to use and can be a large distraction when driving.
Base Price $84,350
Price as Driven $87,985