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Lexus GS-F: An AutoChoose Review

With a Set of Keys and a Sunny Afternoon We Experience the Best Lexus has to Offer

Lexus GS-F Front ¾
Since its launch in 2006, Lexus’s performance F-Division has been nipping at the heels of BMW’s M-Division and Mercedes AMG eagerly trying to prove to the world that the Japanese can make sports sedans just as well as the Germans. The “F” brand name, derived from the famous Fuji Speedway in Japan’s Sunto District, has enjoyed mixed results ranging from the less than impressive last generation IS-F to the cult-forming LFA supercar that claimed the lap record around the Nurburgring for over a year. The latest and only the fourth vehicle to emerge from Lexus’s skunkworks, the GS-F is Lexus’s performance variant of the popular GS sedan.

Lexus GS-F Close up Front

The GS-F is distinguished from the standard model by a number of exterior modifications including the use of carbon fiber on nearly every panel. The front fascia has been totally redesigned and includes a larger front grille featuring an octagonal pattern reminiscent of the one found in an RS-Model Audi. Lower air intakes direct cool air to the forward brakes thus preventing progressive brake fade. Aggressive three-element LED headlights provide a wide beam of illumination and feature a self-leveling system that adapts to the road ahead for better visibility. In the GS-F’s aerodynamic design, large vents behind the front wheels allow air to exit the wheel wells for reduced lift and improved downforce. A carbon fiber front splitter and rear deck spoiler complete the athletic exterior styling. Care should be exercised when approaching a curb or leaving a steep driveway, since replacement of the carbon fiber front splitter will prove to be a costly proposition. The large exhaust tips and small actual outlets of the quad exhaust system might make you think that the GS-F is compensating for something.

Lexus GS-F Side view

The interior of the Lexus GS-F is truly first class. Sitting in the driver’s seat is an experience that invites relishing in the moment. The stylish use of carbon fiber throughout the cabin ranging from the standard trim lining the doors to the entire center console trimmed in carbon fiber and sport Alcantara comes together as a complete picture of styling. The center multimedia display has been totally replaced by a massive 12.3-in high-resolution display for quick and clear access to all vehicle systems and diagnostics. A second-generation mouse is much more responsive than the previous system for better access to vehicle systems on the go. For drivers who are mouse-adverse, the GS-F’s voice command system gives you the option to minimize your need to use the mouse if you so choose. Even the climate control can be changed on the go. Decreasing the temperature in the cabin requires simply saying “cooler” and the vehicle command center will automatically lower the cabin temperature by 4-degree increments. As with most high-end Lexus models, the GS-F features an 850-watt Mark Levinson stereo system complete with 17 different speakers arranged strategically throughout the cabin. Becoming more common in the Lexus sport models, the GS-F is equipped with a full digital instrument display inspired by the LFA supercar. It is configurable to your preferences and vehicle settings. The seats are very well supported and feature a unique stitch design. The headrest cutouts instantly let you know you are about to experience a ride above the one found in your standard Lexus model. While the rear seats are similarly equipped, the added bolstering limits the legroom for anyone who might be stuck sitting in the center bench seat.

Lexus GS-F Seats

Giving it a clear distinction above the standard GS and GS F-Sport models, the GS-F is equipped with a 5.0L V8 producing 467-hp and 389 lb/ft of torque while also having a soaring redline of 7,300 rpm. Curb weight is a claimed 4034lbs, which is only 200lbs greater than the Lexus RC-F coupe. After putting the vehicle in full track setting (by changing stability and traction control settings), the GS-F is capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and will continue to accelerate until reaching a top speed of 155 mph (govt. Limited). An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power through an electronic torque-vectoring differential before reaching the rear wheels and can be configured between a number of different settings for added comfort or track-ready behavior. Keeping you firmly planted to the road is a set of staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 255/35-19 up front and 275/35-19 in the rear. Beefy 6-piston calipers clamp down on the massive 15-inch forward brake rotors letting you come to a halt quickly and safely.

Lexus GS-F Engine

The first thing you will notice when driving the GS-F is the aggressive rumble you hear from the stacked exhaust out back. We might want to warn you however as the GS-F’s exhaust note can be a bit intoxicating and climbing in the rev range to find that symphony will put you well above the speed limit. Acceleration is very linear as expected from a naturally aspirated V8 (which are becoming more and more rare these days). However, an unexpected distinct intake sound resembling that of a supercharger whine is heard as you climb towards that 7,300 rpm redline. Overall, ride comfort is firm but still easily comfortable enough to handle in everyday driving. Remember- just because the GS-F is a Lexus, don’t expect it to ride like a Mercedes S-Class.

Lexus GS-F Standard Dash

While the GS-F is certainly qualified to lead the sport-sedan pack, a couple of less-than ideal features were noted; namely, the artificial steering feel and the lack of throttle response (seen in recent Audis as well sadly). Unfortunately as more and more vehicles are being equipped with electrically assisted steering, it becomes harder for the driver to truly “feel” the road. The lack of throttle response is the largest mark against the GS-F as there is a significant delay between power demand and delivery - especially in the “Standard Comfort” setting. While this issue can be resolved, for the most part, by putting the vehicle in either the “Sport” or “Sport +” mode, this leads to other drawbacks. In the “Standard Comfort” mode, the 8-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts opting for easy transitions over crisp changes. In the “Sport” settings, shifts are fairly forceful yet still take longer than expected. Perhaps a dual-clutch transmission would be able to resolve these problems (Audi has a dual-clutch standard on the S6, the GS-F’s direct competitor).

Lexus GS-F Track Dash

Lexus has had a hard time gaining ground in the performance sedan market currently flooded with German sedans that have been claiming crowns for years. However the introduction of the GS-F gives Lexus the footing it needs to truly stake its own claim. With the distinguished exterior styling, a naturally aspirated V8 in a world full of turbocharged competition, and that glorious exhaust note following you wherever you go, Lexus has finally made a vehicle that is a true alternative against popular European sport sedans such as the Audi S6 or BMW550i M-Sport. And that’s about as high as praise gets.

Now if they would only drop the 550-hp V10 from the LFA in the GS to take on the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG…

Lexus GS-F Rear 3:4

Lexus GS-F Close up Lights and Intake

Lexus GS-F Exhaust

Lexus GS-F Spoiler

Lexus GS-F Wheels and Brakes

Lexus GS-F Close up Headlights

Lexus GS-F Slalom Dash

Lexus GS-F Sport Dash

Lexus GS-F Sport+ Dash

Lexus GS-F Standard Dash

Lexus GS-F Center Console

Lexus GS-F Mouse

Lexus GS-F Rear Seats

Lexus GS-F Review IS-F

Lexus GS-F Review LFA

Lexus GS-F Review RC-F
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