2016 Lexus GS F, a top performer for the lucky few



The 2016 Lexus GS F opens new territory for the brand. Lexus is known for luxurious, elegant sedans, but the all-new GS F is a true performance sedan. While many Lexus models are available with F-Sport packages, the performance-focused F models are singularly designed to give customers a luxury sports car experience in a car that?s as at home on the track as it is on the street.

Styling is bold with that signature Lexus spindle grille that you either love or hate. We love it as it gives the GS F presence and makes it look like it could eat the road for lunch. The rear is just as eye-catching with sharp angles and a unique stacked quad exhaust. There are also plenty of chrome accents to make sure no one misses you coming or going.

Open the doors and the interior gives a hint at what?s in store when you turn on the engine. There is nothing subtle about the GS F inside or out. You eye is greeted by colorful leathers, lots of soft Alcantara surfaces, and bright digital displays. The message: This four-door sedan has some performance chops and it wants to be sure you get the idea.

The engine is what really makes the Lexus GS F a superstar with a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 good for 467 horsepower and 389 lb.-ft. of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. There is no turbocharger and no manual transmission option, but there are at least paddle shifters. Sorry, manual fans. Lexus says it will do 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and after recently taking this out for a spin on the track in California, it is easy to believe. The GS F is fast.

The GS F?s track drive experience is all the better for its well-tuned suspension and a torque vectoring differential. Torque is distributed to where power is needed, moving to the inside wheel on entering a corner and the outside wheel on exit. It lets you push the GS F harder than you might otherwise so you can be more aggressive on the throttle without losing traction.

Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes with 14.9-inch brake rotors and 6-piston brake calipers in front and 13.5-inch rotors with 4-piston brake calipers in the rear. Brembo is the gold standard of brakes and is often a pricey option in other cars. These brakes are what you?ll get on every GS F, but you can pay extra and have them painted orange if you like. This is one of only two available options. The second is a Mark Levinson surround system.

The lack of myriad options might sound like a negative, but it?s a good thing. The 2016 Lexus GS F has a base price of $84,440 and that price gives you a car in top form. You won?t be spending big bucks to turn your dream car into an actual dream. It pretty much starts that way the minute it?s finished being built.

There are several drive modes to play with and each makes a noticeable difference in the car?s driving dynamics. Eco brings everything down by reducing throttle inputs and even air conditioning, all in the name of fuel economy. Normal is the next step up and it?s perfect for driving around town and turning your performance sedan into a grocery getter.

Keep spinning the dial and there?s Sport mode. Now the GS F starts to strut its stuff with a true sports car dynamic. It doesn?t stop there, however, but moves right on up to Sport Plus, which is where the GS F, and you, will be happiest. This mode provides maximum throttle response which, combined with active sound control, brings the sound of that powerful V8 right into the cabin. Anyone on the street will hear that glorious sound, too, so be careful not to wake the neighbors.

Lexus doesn?t plan to sell these by the boatload, expecting sales of around 2,000 units. That?s a small number, but the GS F is a beginning. It sets the stage for the brand to compete with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes in a new way. Those guys should be looking in their rearview mirrors, and buyers should be looking at the GS F as a whole new kind of sedan from Lexus.