Lexus’ strategy to F-ifying its GS sedan is… attention-grabbing. The GS F could be considered one of Lexus’ sportiest choices, however evaluating it to top-of-the-line Germans just like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 is unfair, as a result of these automobiles pack a extra substantial wallop. Yet its worth is nearer to those autos than the tier-below Germans that extra carefully match the GS F’s efficiency specs, the M550i and E53.The 2019 Lexus GS F is sort of a PG-13 reduce of John Wick. Sure, most of what you tuned in for is there, but it surely does not fairly really feel such as you’re getting all the things you paid for.Aging with somewhat graceEven although it is simply three mannequin years previous, the GS F is working on Lexus’ last-generation design, predating the slimmer, sultrier seems to be of latest fashions just like the LC and LS. It’s not a nasty look, per se — the perimeters are uncluttered with pointless character traces, and I just like the aggression that comes from the entrance fender cut-out alongside some sharp creases on the hood. But, on the identical time, the bumper produces an awkward-looking entrance overhang. It’s look, simply not recent.
On the opposite hand, the Lexus GS F is now the second automobile to command the eye of my mail service, partially because of its distinctive matte paint. In this case, it is a part of the $5,000 10th Anniversary Edition package deal. Limited to only 100 models, this particular GS F will get the aforementioned matte grey paint, 19-inch black BBS wheels and blue Brembo brake calipers. The package deal itself is certainly particular, and it will flip heads in a approach the usual GS F doesn’t.The rear is the GS F’s greatest angle. You cannot see the entrance overhang from again there.
The package deal additionally provides dig-it-or-despise-it blue leather-based and suede into the combo. Blue suede covers the dashboard and gauge cluster encompass, whereas blue leather-based lands on the steering wheel, heart console, shift knob and entrance seats, limiting itself to seat belts and different accents within the second row. I feel it is unhealthy, however not everybody agrees. The blue carbon fiber trim seems to be misplaced, although, as it is a totally different hue than the leather-based and suede and, frankly, it seems to be like an affordable 3M vinyl overlay.The remainder of the inside is fairly respectable, although. There’s a great deal of area within the second row, and the adjustable headrests within the again add an additional diploma of passenger consolation. The beltline is somewhat excessive, leaving me feeling claustrophobic, however I respect the straightforward structure of the dashboard, and there is appropriate bauble area beneath the middle console’s armrest. Out again, the trunk will eat up absolutely anything — its 14.1-cubic-foot capability outshines the Mercedes E-Class by a couple of dice.Sufficiently sprightlyCredit the place it is due, I commend Lexus for sticking to its weapons and turning into the final automaker to supply a sport sedan with a naturally aspirated V8. The 5.0-liter eight-cylinder won’t match the facility put down by the big-boy AMGs and Ms, with simply 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque on supply. But since all the things else has turbochargers, the GS F has an old-school attraction that its competitors cannot match. The V8 is responsive and blissful to stay excessive up on the tachometer — because it must, as a result of peak torque does not arrive till 4,800 rpm.The eight-speed computerized transmission does not precisely let the engine have all of the enjoyable it will probably, shifting far too shortly, even in sportier modes, by no means absolutely relenting in its pursuit of effectivity. The transmission places the slush in slushbox, too, feeling somewhat janky in each upshifts and downshifts.The aural expertise is… unusual. There’s a sound synthesizer that provides a touch of aggression to the inventory exhaust be aware, but it surely’s simply turned off with a single button press and by no means actually provides that a lot to start with. My actual difficulty is with the consumption valve that opens between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm, dramatically growing the cabin quantity and giving the automobile a sound I feel it ought to have always. But there is not any option to go away it open on a regular basis, presumably to maintain your passengers sane. If you are on the monitor, you may by no means drop the revs low sufficient to have the system reduce out and in, however on the road, it is jarring and awkward and I want it might be left open completely. The automobile may desperately use some kind of constant theater; the engine deserves as a lot. There’s not even any overrun from these sharp-lookin’ quadruple tailpipes.It won’t really feel like the most recent automobile on the block, however there’s one thing to be mentioned about somewhat throwback in a high-tech time.
What stays of the driving expertise is definitely fairly swell. The adaptive dampers make for a reasonably comfortable experience in Comfort mode, though they might be higher with out the skinny (255/35 entrance, 275/35 rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer season tires from the anniversary package deal. In Sport mode, the suspension stiffens up and delivers the communicative kind of feeling you’d count on in a automobile of this caliber. There’s nonetheless some lean within the corners, however I consider it extra just like the physique roll within the Miata, which provides to the enjoyable issue by providing you with suggestions by way of physique motion. The steering is direct and simply heavy sufficient, however low on precise suggestions. The GS F may get walked left and proper by equally priced Germans, but it surely’s nonetheless rewarding for individuals who need to maintain onto that V8 somewhat longer. It’s additionally rear-wheel drive, which purists will dig, and its commonplace torque-vectoring rear differential has no downside handing out controllable slides when my proper foot asks properly.
The EPA charges this V8 at 16 miles per gallon metropolis and 24 mpg freeway, numbers that I had no downside reaching, which places the GS F simply 1-2 mpg behind the 2019 BMW M550i. However, the M550i additionally has turbochargers and two extra pushed wheels, so maybe the Lexus might be higher, given its relative lack of advanced powertrain tech.Woof, this techTech is well the sorest spot for the GS F. Its infotainment system is previous, damned previous, with its antiquated map graphics reminding me of automobiles I reviewed in 2014. This infotainment system has actually adopted me for my whole profession, laughing at me with its too-awkward usability and sluggish responsiveness.Some Lexus fashions allow you to manipulate the 12.3-inch nontouchscreen with a trackpad, however the GS F makes use of a mouse-like contraption. Not solely is it older than the trackpad, it is tougher to make use of, consistently slipping previous its force-feedback detents and clicking on issues I did not need it to. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, so if you wish to play music out of your telephone, it is best to keep away from the mouse and use your telephone (safely, after all).It’s not all unhealthy, although. The $900 colour head-up show is right-sized and gives up no-nonsense info like pace limits, the present pace and a tachometer. The $1,380 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system is price each penny, offering a number of the greatest audio throughout your complete business. The infotainment system additionally gives Alexa integration and different apps, however the latter requires a separate utility on no matter telephone is plugged into the USB port.One technological area the place Lexus nails it’s security. The GS F (and nearly each different Lexus mannequin) comes commonplace with Lexus’ Safety System Plus, a set that features computerized braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise management, computerized excessive beams, lane departure warning and lane-keep help. It’s not a heavy-handed system, both, solely interfering when I’m actually near mucking it up, and the adaptive cruise setup is good and easy.Lexus actually wants to revamp the infotainment in its entirety. Not solely is it previous, it was by no means actually that nice to start with.
How I’d spec itWith what few choices exist for the GS F, together with the foolish restricted anniversary package deal, my tester prices a virtually inconceivable $93,080 together with vacation spot.Starting with a base worth of $84,600, I’ll spend $1,380 to improve the sound system, $300 to improve the brakes and $600 to improve the wheels, leaving the head-up show on the desk. That leaves me with a way more palatable, however nonetheless form of nutso $87,905 window sticker, together with $1,025 for vacation spot.Down to brass tacksPerformance-wise, the GS F can’t be in comparison with absolute bangers just like the Audi RS7, BMW M5 or Mercedes-AMG E63. Instead, it is smarter to check it to automobiles a tier decrease, that means the Audi S6, BMW M550i and Mercedes-AMG E53. When I do this, although, the GS F’s price ticket is about $10,000 larger than any of these automobiles, leaving me questioning why anybody would purchase it, contemplating its tech and cabin choices fall behind these rivals, as nicely.There’s actually just one cause to get the GS F: the naturally aspirated V8. It’s a hell of a worth to pay, however then once more, rear-wheel-drive V8 sport sedans are an almost-dead breed in 2019. If you need to relish the previous, it is a nice option to do it, however it’s important to settle for a complete host of trade-offs to make it occur.
Andrew’s Comparable Picks