It’s fast, it’s sexy, and it hauls four full-sized adults around with such poise and swag that you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative. The 5 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine produces the right amount of rumble down low, but howls and screams when your foot demands it. This is not something from Germany though. I’m talking about the 2016 Lexus GS F. Take a class leading chassis, the GS, and put in the performance engine that powers the flagship RC F, and you have a mouth-wateringly good sedan. In addition to 467 HP, you also get the Brembo sourced brakes, an upgraded transmission, and a completely redesigned suspension.
Initial impressions are familiar. People not too familiar with cars will have trouble spotting the differences from a base GS powered by an inline 4 or V6, which costs almost half as much. But when you really look at it for a while you start noticing things. The quad exhaust tips are stacked on a diagonal, much like the IS F and RC F before it. The car seems slightly more muscular yet the difference is subtle. The hood is a little more bulky due to the engineers working hard to cram in such a massive engine. The front fenders are slightly wider and adorned with functional ducts to help cool the engine and brakes. The giant 19” wheels are stuffed with brakes so big they could stop a freight train. Connecting those wheels to the ground are Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, and man do they look sticky.
Then you step inside. You’re immediately welcomed by gorgeous yet familiar seats. That’s because they too were sourced from the RC F. I have no complaints however, because I fell in love with them during my RC F review. Some other finishing touches that remind you you’re driving the high performance variant include the well-padded F steering wheel, carbon fiber trim pieces, gauge layout, and other tiny touches. Regardless, the base GS has a glorious interior and the GS F takes everything right about the GS and makes it sportier. It’s tastefully done and perfectly complements its brawny yet classy exterior. The only add-on package available is a 17 speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson sound system (Nav is standard). Everything else in this well-equipped sedan is standard. That includes the heated seats, blind spot monitoring, collision avoidance system, radar-adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, electronic differential, and more. Take everything you can add to an RC F, and make it standard. Then add some more features. That’s how well equipped this car is.
This car is more about the entire experience than what a spec sheet would suggest. It’s not too extreme in a single way, yet nothing is dull about driving it. The big V8 sounds right, from idle to redline, where it screams through the firewall. Handling is well planted and balanced, thanks to the near 50/50 weight distribution and a completely new suspension system. The chassis is remarkably stiff and predictable, which installs confidence and a positive driving experience. I can’t help but compare it to the crispness of some older BMWs where the chassis just felt right, and perfectly connected to the road. This is one of, if not the, only modern sedan of this size that I have driven where handling feels as good as it does. If it were any more extreme, it would take away from the solid and well-dampened feel that you expect from a Lexus. With that being said, I cannot think of many ways to change the handling or chassis for the better. It’s that good.
This was easily the best time I’ve had in a long while. The track day was at track called Chuckwalla Raceway. The pit lane was littered with GS Fs in every color you can imagine, along with a few RC Fs for comparison. The RC F is one of my all-time favorite vehicles. Having gone to this track for the first time, I started out in a familiar RC F. The RC F is extremely easy to drive fast, and it let me focus on learning the track first before I departed in a new GS F. Having familiarized myself with the track, it was finally time to step into a gorgeous Molten Pearl (eye bleed orange) GS F. Make no mistake, this isn’t a dumbed down performance sedan. It felt nearly identical to the RC F. Here’s the kicker though; The GS F has a longer wheel base and a more mature suspension system. That directly translates to a more composed ride at high speed, one with a more stable rear end. It was actually easier to drive the GS F at high speeds than the RC F! I pushed harder and harder into each turn before stabbing the brakes with full confidence that I wouldn’t be let down. The car is only slightly heavier than the RC F, but because of the longer wheel base, more of that weight is shifted towards the back. The end result is a chassis that’s more neutral than tail happy, although you can certainly kick it out if you want to. It’s hard to find a fault with a car that does everything so exceptionally well. The sound, steering feel, acceleration, and endless braking performance makes this family sedan an incredibly capable track car.
When a track day ends, you usually step out of the track car, load it up on a trailer then drive your truck or street car home. With the Lexus GS F, the same vehicle that brought smiles to your face on the track will take you and your family home in the quiet luxurious ride you expect from Lexus. That feat is something incredibly difficult to achieve, yet here it is.
Base Price: $84,440 / As Tested: $86,760
Engine: 5.0L V8 467 HP/389 lb-ft Torque
Drivetrain: 8-Speed Sport Direct Shift RWD w Torque Vectoring Differential
Brakes: Brembo 6-piston calipers with 14.9″ rotors front, 4-piston calipers with 13.5″ rotors rear
Fuel Efficiency: 16 city/24 highway/19 combined
0-60: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 168 mph
Turning Radius: 36.8 FT
Wheels and Tires: 19″ – 255F275R/35
Construction: Welded-steel unibody
Curb Weight: 4,034 lb
Headroom (Front/Rear): 38.0 / 37.8 in
Legroom (Front/Rear): 40.6 / 32.8 in
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear): 57.2 / 55.7 in
Hip Room (Front/Rear): 54.4 / 54.2 in
Fuel-Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal