The 2016 Lexus GS F has launched locally, marking the Japanese marque’s first shot at a large sports sedan and the third car from the its high-performance F division to hit the showroom.
Heavily based on the four-year-old GS sedan that rivals the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class for size, the GS F flagship likewise rivals the S6/RS6, M5 and the E63 respectively.
With those heavy hitters as competition there comes extra expectation from Lexus’ first-time effort, but the allure starts with a big carrot waving in front of buyers – its pricetag.
Starting from $148,800 (plus on-road costs) the GS F costs $36,200 less than its nearest rival, the M5 Pure Edition. Unlike that stripped-back model, however, the GS F is as loaded with equipment as any other high-spec Lexus.
The GS F’s 5.0-litre V8 engine gets lightweight forged connecting rods and titanium intake and exhaust valves that Lexus claims helps combine high revability with durability. At its core, it’s the same engine as used by the GS F’s two-door stablemate, the RC F.
Utilising both port- and direct-injection, the V8 makes 351kW of power at 7100rpm and 530Nm of torque between 4800rpm and 5600rpm – identical outputs to the smaller, lighter RC F
It shifts the 1825kg rear-wheel drive sports sedan from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds, which is three-tenths slower than the M5 Pure Edition and identical to BMW’s outgoing $160k 550i.
An eight-speed automatic is the only choice of gearbox, and the transmission uses a short first ratio to provide initial response along with tightly packed middle gears and a tall eighth for cruising.
Shifted in manual mode via either the steering wheel-mounted paddles or stubby gear selector, the eight-speeder’s upshifts are claimed to be delivered in three-tenths of a second with downchanges in just two-tenths.
Driver selectable Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S+ modes are also available, the latter two of which “provides dynamic acceleration and maximum steering feel by adjusting engine output, throttle opening and steering assistance”.
In Sport S and above the transmission uses a G-sensor to automatically downshift and rev match, hold gears during cornering and then monitor throttle to select a particular gear on exit.
In Sport+ the stability control switches to a less restrictive mode called VDIM SPORT. Drivers can also independently engage a VDIM EXPERT mode in Sport+ that disengages traction control, ESC and pre-collision braking.
Joining the standard sports exhaust is Acceleration Sound Control (ASC) that through the speakers, “help create a deep tone up to 3000rpm, a higher-pitched tone as revolutions rise and the sensation of the engine soaring freely above 6000rpm.
Compared with a regular GS sedan, the GS F uses extra high-strength steel in its body and extra under-body braces (among others) to enhance torsional rigidity. On the nose of the Lexus super-sports sedan sits a Carbonfibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) lower molding to reduce weight; likewise the spoiler is made of CRFP.
The rear-wheel drive sports sedan claims to also save weight and increase stiffness through the use of forged aluminium suspension arms – not featured in the related RC F. A standard Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) claims to be able to electronically pass drive between each rear driven wheel.
Fixed monotube dampers made by Sachs are standard, as are Brembo brakes with slotted rotors (380mm six-piston front/345mm four-piston rear) and 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (255mm front/235mm rear).
As expected from a Lexus, the GS F comes loaded with standard equipment.
Beyond the aforementioned 19-inch alloy wheels are: full LED headlights, power sunroof, keyless auto-entry and start, heated leather steering wheel, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, 12.3-inch high-definition colour display with satellite navigation and concierge connectivity, colour head-up display, tri-zone climate control air-conditioning and power rear sunshade.
Safety features include 10 airbags, pre-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, lane-keep assistance and auto high-beam.
Optional for $2500 each are “high grade” polished 19s and carbon interior ornamentation.
The standard “motorsport inspired” Alcantara seat trim with heating for front and rear passengers can be replaced with semi-aniline leather trim with front ventilation for $2900 extra.
The GS F is priced at $148,800 plus on-road costs, while Lexus are calling the model with leather trim a “high grade model” that costs $151,700 (plus orc).
In camp Audi, this pricetag is closer to that of the S6 sedan at $169,510 (plus orc) that claims 0-100km/h in 4.4sec, rather than the RS6 Avant priced from $229,110 (plus orc) that claims 0-100km/h in 3.9sec.
BMW polls the aforementioned M5 Pure as a close competitor for the Lexus, while we eagerly await the next-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class pricing – due later this year – before finding the GS F a competitor from Stuttgart.