BMW M5 too mainstream? Lexus now has your answer, albeit with a twist to the current über sedan formula
Since the formation of Lexus’ F division in 2004 and their first creation, the IS F, hitting dealership floors in 2008, the performance arm of the company has quickly gained recognition for producing dream machines using the old-school recipe of a brawny V8 engine paired with rear wheel drive, but infused with the tech-laden sophistication that the Japanese are so well known for.
First impressions of the GS F can be polarizing, with the sharp lines of standard GS enhanced by a gaping front maw with a mesh grille and vented fenders flowing into swooping side skirts, as well as a diffuser, quad pipes and a carbon-fiber lip spoiler out back. The front and rear light clusters have also been redesigned. While some may find it overkill, this writer finds the enhancements well suited to the GS shape, adding a good dose of presence.
The GS F also has the mechanicals nous to match the looks, with a stiffened body structure supported by suspension that was developed at Fuji Speedway, and then further refined on the demanding Nürburgring circuit. The usual performance upgrades that seem class homogenous are also present, with forged 19 inch wheels shod in staggered Michelin Super Sport rubber, an active torque vectoring differential and big 6-piston front brakes all at the driver’s disposal.
The similarities with competitors end there however, the biggest difference being a naturally aspirated 5-liter V8 that revs up to 7,300 rpm in place of the turbocharged engines other manufacturers prefer. It is no dinosaur however, being blessed with niceties like variable intake runners and titanium valves to yield 467 hp and 527 Nm of torque. Though down on the 550+ hp and 700+ Nm that rivals like the BMW M5 put out, weight is up to 140 kg less than some portlier German entrants, which should help make for a thrilling drive.
Inside, the GS F is traditional Lexus – cleanly designed and well built. However the F turns the level up on the poshness scale, with fine leather and Alcantara lining the doors, seats and extending up to the dashboard. The interior is finished off with wavy contrast stitching patterns and carbon fiber trim throughout the cockpit. Functional changes include sports seats both front and rear as well as Lexus LFA-esque digital instruments that change according to whichever drive mode the car is in.
Though Lexus’ F division doesn’t have the pedigree of BMW M or Mercedes AMG, it is still a respected name amongst enthusiasts in creating desirable performance cars. With the only naturally aspirated V8 in the class belting out a soundtrack that no competitor can match, the promises of fun yet easy handling, lighter weight and limited production numbers mean the GS F could be a refreshing alternative to the Germans, and the most desirable F-badged model yet.