The beauty of living in Southern California is the location. Within a few hours of driving from Los Angeles you can find yourself in San Diego, Big Bear, or even Las Vegas. Often the toughest decision is selecting a place to go. So with work projects beginning to pile up a weekend escape was in order.
As a follow-up to the original Lexus GS F review, where I was able to test the vehicle on the track with a short stint on the road, I had the chance to take the vehicle out for a few days, but the question remained where to go. With my wife in tow we decided to trek towards Central California. The longer drive gave ample time to get reaquainted with the vehicle as headed up the coast.
The vehicle is a stunner. The sharp and sleek body lines and muscular curves of the GS F immediately draw attention. The low and wide stance coupled with the angular headlamps mean business. The Ultrasonic Blue paint coupled with carbon fiber accents and dark metallic paint along with the big brake package hidden behind the polished aluminum forged 19” wheels is one sexy color scheme. If you’re going to travel you might as well do it in style.
Using the Hotel Tonight app, we found a last minute deal for the Cliff House Inn located in Ventura. The charming hotel sits next to the Pacific Ocean with picturesque views of the horizon. Rather than leave the hotel we elected to stay on property for dinner and enjoyed a great meal with the setting sun as our view.
The following day with bags packed and stored in the truck, which had ample room for several bags and gear, we headed up to Santa Barbara to pick up a couple friends, before heading to explore the Danish Village of Solvang. This quaint town was featured in the movie, “Sideways,” and is packed with tourists. But we couldn’t resist the urge to sample some of the famous pastries. The drive up was mainly through open roads where the powerful 5.0 liter V8 engine roared at speed. Often I would glance at the heads-up display to see that I would be just a tad over the speed limit, yet inside the cabin was smooth and surprisingly quiet aside from the harmonious notes of the exhaust, while in Sport S+ mode, and the music from SiriusXM satellite radio.
If you go a little past Solvang you’ll find yourself in Santa Ynez. Using Yelp, we found a restaurant, SY Kitchen, that received good reviews that was within the area and away from the crowds. After setting the navigation using the Remote Touch Interface to control the beautiful 12.3-inch Electro Multi Vision display, we headed to the restaurant for an Italian lunch. I have to admit the Remote Touch Interface’s control is a bit slower than I would like and the voice activated command is also a bit laggy and often frustrating to use.
The afternoon was then filled with more exploration and lots of snacking. We found ourselves in Los Olivos and wandered into Sarloos & Sons for Enjoy Cupcakes just in time to get a sampling of their little delightful desserts. Note the half dozen mini cupcakes are great for sharing, however you can easily finish off a dozen yourself (from what I’ve heard.)
We finished our day with a nice dinner at the Hitching Post II, famous also for being in “Sideways.” I’m still upset they no longer serve Ostrich, despite being next door to an Ostrich farm, yet the food has never disappointed. With our bellies full we drove back to Santa Barbara. Our passengers must of been impressed by the ultra comfortable leather seats and spacious room, as they fell asleep to the soothing ride courtesy of the responsive suspension.
The Lexus GS F is a contender with other vehicles in its class. The refined luxury component compliment the sport aspect in a gracious and highly-developed driving package. The price is a bit high with the base model starting off at slightly over $84,000. This vehicle has everything and more that you could possibly want out of a “practical” sedan.