2019 Lexus GS-F Review: Turbo Engine and Luxury Interior
One technological arena where Lexus nails it is safety. The GS F (and just about every other Lexus model) comes standard with Lexus’ Safety System Plus, a suite that includes automatic braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist. It’s not a heavy-handed system, either, only interfering when I’m really close to mucking it up, and the adaptive cruise setup is nice and smooth.
The GS 350 has a muscular 3.5-liter V6 that produces 311 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with a six-speed automatic. The V6’s combination of direct fuel injection and additional port fuel injectors ensures ample power and crisp responsiveness. The GS 450h hybrid model features an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine and an electric motor that produces 338 total system horsepower, channeled through a continuously variable transmission. The car with 7” reflector headlamp also features 18- and 19-inch machine-finish wheel designs as well as various interior color and wood trim selections. For even more power, Lexus introduced the all-new GS F model to the lineup in 2016. This high-performance four-door sedan is equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 467 hp and peak torque in excess of 389 lb.-ft. The powerplant is mated to a quick 8-speed automatic gearbox with manual-shifting capabilities and three different driving modes.
The Steering Wheel
The steering wheel has the traditional Lexus layout for buttons to access info on the most full-color LCD screen and again the ergonomics is spot on. Said screen changes look and color depending on which driving mode you select, however, there’s a slight oddity. Semi-tucked away to the bottom right is the speedo. It’s an analog dial, not digital. At the bottom, left are an LCD display that shows lap times, torque split, and G-Force readings.
Under the RC F bonnet lies a 5.0-liter V8 with old-school charm. It neither has turbos nor electric motors and the V8 needs to rev to 7,100rpm to achieve its peak power of 471 hp The 391lb ft of torque is available over a narrow rev range between 4,800rpm and 5,600rpm. Compare that to the 500 lb-ft of available from 2,000rpm in the BMW M5 and you begin to see just how different the Lexus engine is – turbocharged rivals offer more brutal acceleration. In terms of performance, though, it’s not too far behind rivals with a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 186mph. Its aforementioned rivals are limited to 155mph, but all are quicker from 0 to 62mph.
Without any aid from boosters, the GS F’s V8 doesn’t have the same firepower as its European or American competitors. It is bound to lose any instrumented performance test against its rivals. But what many makers of sports saloons today forget is that it’s not instruments that drive their cars. It’s real human beings with high-octane petrol flowing through their veins who take the wheel. And that’s where the Lexus GS F blows its competition out of the water. If the rest of today’s super saloons are precision-guided ballistic missiles, the GS F is a loud black powder cannon. It leaves it to you, the driver, to wring the most out of it, rather than let force-feeding and a million on-board computers serve up tailor-made fun, and give you an inflated impression of your own piloting skills. Here, you reap what you sow. Nothing more, nothing less.
The standard features of the Lexus GS F Base include 5.0L V-8 467hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 19″ BBS forged aluminum wheels, cruise control, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control distance pacing, ABS and driveline traction control.
The GS 350 F Sport offers 18-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, an upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment display, 19-inch wheels, navigation, a Torsen rear limited-slip differential, and variable steering setup. A similarly optioned 2019 BMW 540i costs close to $65,000.