To ensure that nothing is lost in translation, Yukihiko Yaguchi pulls out his iPhone and scrolls through the photos. The chief engineer of the 2016 Lexus GS F stops on a pic of a mid-90s Toyota Chaser-a Japanese-market mid-size sedan-sporting a tiger decal on the hood and orange stripes across its roof and flanks. It's a Japanese Touring Car Championship racer in which Yaguchi scored seat time back in 2000, but the experience sticks with him today as one of several race cars that inspired each of the Lexus F cars he's developed.
A proper race car, Yaguchi says, is easy to drive fast. And that is exactly what he wants drivers to say about his new GS F.
Yaguchi doesn't obsess over top speeds and quarter-mile times. Like the engines in the original IS F, the stratospheric LFA, and the RC F coupe, this 5.0-liter V-8 makes power without assistance from blowers. That's a polite way of saying it's down on oomph-in a big way-relative to the competition. The engine, shared with the RC F, makes its power with revs, churning out 467 horsepower at an elevated 7100 rpm and 389 pound-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. The BMW M5 produces 560 horsepower; the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, 640 horsepower.
The satisfaction Yaguchi aims for is of the back-road variety, the kind that lets you blitz a two-lane without fear of ending your ride in someone's living room. It's stability and predictability-the confidence to approach the car's limits. If the RC Fs we've driven are any indication, it also means a safe chassis setup that prefers to keep the tail behind the nose of the car.
In keeping with current Lexus style, the GS F makes its presence known with a yawning hourglass grille stretching from hood to asphalt. Around back, there's a carbon-fiber lip spoiler, gloss-black diffuser, and stacked exhausts. The cabin is dressed with carbon-fiber accents; the parts-bin F steering wheel; and a huge, centrally mounted tachometer. The new seats are contoured, stitched, and perforated to look like skintight athletic apparel.
Whether or not the GS F cracks open a niche for luxury sports sedans that favor finesse over outright power, Yaguchi will soon have fresh photos on his iPhone for inspiration. At the Detroit auto show, the GS F shared the stage with his other project, the fat-fendered RC F GT3 race car that will likely compete in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Europe's FIA GT3 series. At 2800 pounds and with its 5.0-liter V-8 cranking out 550 horsepower, it has the weight-to-power ratio of a hypercar. Progress is well and truly underway.
Vehicle Type front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base Price $75,000*
Engine Type DOHC 32-valve Atkinson-capable V-8, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement 303 cu in, 4969 cc
Power 467 hp @ 7100 rpm
Torque 389 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
- Wheelbase 112.2 inches
- Length 193.5 inches
- Width 72.6 inches
- Height 56.7 inches
- Curb Weight 4100 lb
- 0?60 mph 4.4 sec
- 0?100 mph 10.0 sec
- Standing 1/4-Mile 12.9 sec
- Top Speed 171 mph