A few weeks back I had the opportunity to go behind the wheel to drive the all-new 2016 Lexus GS F and it quickly became my favorite vehicle from the marque. With elegant and sleek styling, innovative technology, and performance packed into a big bodied sedan at a price that rivals that of Audi, Mercedes, and BMW – see why this decision came easy.
Palm Springs, CA set the perfect backdrop with picturesque desert views, open roads, and Chuckwalla race track nearby. Upon first glance the GS F may look like any other sedan, but upon closer inspection the design details begin to shine. The signature Lexus spindle grill adds a sporty look to the front fascia, the wider front fenders and sleek panels combined with lowered suspension and 19″ wheels round out the performance stance. In the rear the quad exhaust tips, carbon fiber rear spoiler, and bold taillights with jet black plated moldings let you know this is no ordinary sedan.
On the open desert roads, the GS F held its own as a perfectly suitable daily driver complete with the luxury and refinement that has been expected from the Japanese car maker. The car handles smoothly at speed and provides comfort making it ideal for the daily commute and long road trips alike.
Inside the cockpit, the supple leather seats are accented with refined materials such as carbon fiber and Alcantara, while detailed blue contrast stitching of the GS F make for a nice touch. While driving the seats are comfortable and highly adjustable. Technology is certainly not lacking as the car is equipped with all the bells and whistles that can be expected. What stood out was the futuristic look of the multi-information display complete with choice of lap timer, navigation info, fuel consumption, and even tire pressure and rear wing position. One feature that I feel has been addressed slightly is the addition of a touchscreen functionality to the display screen, which allows access to the map, audio, ECO mode, telephone and air conditioner and hands-free phone operation. However, it’s still not a fully operating touchscreen to input daily things such as an address. Lexus still requires users to use their Remote Touch Interface (similar to a computer mouse), which I find to be slow and not as intuitive as a touchscreen. It has been improved over older models and is a step in the right direction.
The GS F boasts 467-hp under the hood from a V8 engine, enough power to comfortably hold your own on the track. For a sedan the vehicle felt nimble, yet graceful, which is quite the accomplishment combining the best of performance with that of luxury. On the track and in Sport mode, the GS F accelerated fiercely as the throaty exhaust notes filled the cabin. Lexus engineers have recognized the importance of the auditory experience while driving and have added their Active Sound Control (ASC), which electronically synthesizes and assists the sound to the engine and the exhaust note in response to accelerator and shift lever operations and then disperses a sonic note via the speakers in the front of the Lexus.
After a couple laps I progressively felt a bit more confidence to push the car – testing my limits. The vehicle responded agilely with each turn through the apex, while the performance brakes provided the necessary stopping power when needed. Through the inclines and declines of the track, I noticed how smooth a ride it provided, but what really stood out was the speed once on the straightaways – 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, which demanded a bit of respect as the next turn quickly approached.
The Drive Mode Select control offering NORMAL, ECO, SPORT S, SPORT S+ modes provides a dynamic driving experience for commuters and more seasoned drivers. NORMAL mode provides a balanced ride for daily driving, ECO enhances fuel optimization, while SPORT S adds a bit more performance with quicker acceleration and controlled engine output, and SPORT S+ includes all the performance of SPORT S mode, but with an added modulation of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) steering assist for the greatest degree of communicative feel to the driver.
On the track we were able to test both the GS F and the RC F to compare the sedan and the coupe. Both were amazingly fun to drive and you can’t go wrong with either vehicle, however for me personally the GS F felt more balanced and I was more comfortable behind the wheel. The RC F did feel a bit more nimble and agile, but that could be expected from the lighter and smaller vehicle.
With the GS F and the rest of the GS line-up, Lexus has outdone themselves and has been able to strike a balance between luxury and performance in one stunning package at a price that can be considered a bargain in its category.
Additional images provided by Lexus