There’s something under your bed. Don’t look, it has a hunger for flesh; you, your children, even your dog. It’s not the Boogeyman, if that’s what you were thinking, it’s a Lexus; the meanest Lexus on the whole damn planet, and it doesn’t care what you think about it.
The Lexus GS F is a monster. A big, hulking thing with a bunch of power and a bunch of personality. It’s endearingly ridiculous, especially with its bright orange paint job and look-at-me front fascia. It draws attention from onlookers like a drunken Nicholas Cage on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s literally one of the most ludicrous cars money can buy. And I love everything about it.
Performance-wise, the GS F feels mostly like a grown up RC F. They share the same naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8. They share the same amount of horses at 467. They share a lot of things, including the retina-searing orange paint job which Lexus affectionally calls “Molten Pearl.”
But there’s a significant difference between the two.
The most obvious of which being the number of doors. I’ll give you a second to count them all out. Four; it has four doors. Meaning you can comfortably frighten anyone dumb and/or willing enough to get in the back seat.
This car likes to corner. At the right speed, it conquers them gracefully. Push it a little harder and you start to feel its age—getting a little too bottom heavy, not necessarily finessing its way around; like trying to shove a triangle peg into a square hole.
A five-year old platform and a non-active suspension will do that. Especially when you’re trying to toss around over 4,000 pounds. It’s not particularly ancient, per se, but it maybe doesn’t have the same gung-ho attitude some of its competitors do. That being said, it’s an upgrade over the RC F performance-wise. I like to think that the line of expectations between the two is blurred, meaning the RC F isn’t as good as it should be, nor is the GS F as bad as you’d expect.
Power isn’t immediate, but comes in a wave. When it finally does hit you, the electronic roar of the naturally-aspirated V8 deafens you and anyone in the cabin. It’s hilariously fun, whether it’s a real engine noise or not.
Like the suspension, the V8 feels aged. Naturally-aspirated is great and all, but when your competition is putting out close to 150 more supercharged horses for the same price (See: Cadillac CTS-V), it’s hard to justify. Turbocharging is in the future for Lexus, whether they like it or not.
And then there’s the gearbox. You like speeds? Lexus has eight of ‘em. They occasionally lag and leave you wishing there was some way you could control the gear change yourself—manually, if you will. If you put it in track and use the paddle shifters, though, those eight speeds start to come to life. But on the road, in automatic, anything under 3,500 RPM feels like a chore.
Pair the GS F’s old-school performance with some super comfy sport bucket seats, and it truly does feel like you’re in something not from Japan—or at least, not from the same company that makes things like this.
The interior of this car is an extremely nice place to be. If you like to feel sporty, but not roll cage, no air-conditioning, endurance car sporty, the GS F excels above all others. The cockpit contours central to the driver, making the car feel much smaller than it actually is, and the infotainment screen, per usual Lexus, is huge and easy to read.
At the end of the day, the GS F is a big, aggressive addition to the sporty saloon segment courtesy of a company looking to do just that. It’s extremely hard to hate. The in-your-face design, the look-at-me paint job, even the overly-aural engine note inside the cabin makes you want to take it home.
At $86,770 as tested, it’s not all that tough of a pill to swallow either. Compare that the nearly $100,000 offerings from BMW and Mercedes and it doesn’t seem all the bad for what you’re getting. The GS F is a car that just wants to be different, it wants to be loved—even if it is a monster that keeps your children up at night.
Engine: 5.0L V8
0-60: 4.5 Seconds
Price (base): $84,440
Aggressive yet handsome design
Fun to drive
Extremely comfortable cabin