Lexus is a changed brand of late with strikingly styled cars including some real hot rods to get your blood pumping.
Nestled in among them is the large GS-F sedan or saloon car as Lexus prefers to call it.
It’s not front of mind with people who buy this sort of executive express as they tend to focus on the Benz E63AMG and BMW M5 but they should broaden their horizon and check out this classy Japan-made super sedan.
You’ll save tens of thousands as well and have absolutely no reliability grief.
It’s big and heavy at 1825kg but comes complete with just about every luxury feature you can think of including a noise cancelling and exhaust note enhancing audio system from Mark Levinson.
Plenty of room is provided for four adults (five at a pinch) along with a large boot.
It’s safe too with a swag of driver assist technology and the usual array of safety kit.
Along with luxury, the GS-F is all about sporty driving and an engaging drive feel which it delivers in spades.
UNDER THE BONNET
The 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated, V8 petrol engine comes from other Lexus sports models, the IS-F and RC-F.
It kicks out a handy 331kW/530 Nm – not the stratospheric numbers in GS-F’s two main German competitors, but sufficient to propel the imposing four door from 0-100kmh in a rapid 4.6 seconds.
It runs like clockwork and is over-engineered to billyo with forged internals and a conservative output for the capacity.
Drive goes to the rear wheels through a torque vectoring differential after running through an eight speed, direct shift auto transmission with paddle shift using one of four drive modes, Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport +.
There’s a fruity V8 rumble percolating from quad outlet exhaust tips to accentuate the muscle car feel of the GS-F.
And make no mistake, despite being Lexus-refined, smooth and luxurious, this is a muscle car by any measure, not `hairy chested’ but sophisticated.
Handles well too with precise steering and a firm ride when a sports mode is selected. The gearbox has a clever G sensor that `feels’ when you want to get going and recalibrates accordingly.
It is never caught out in the wrong gear.
There are huge Brembo brakes and sticky Michelin tyres along with a complex double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension to keep everything tracking true at the limit.
The interior is typical classy Lexus dominated by a large 12.3-inch info’ screen through which most car functions are controlled.
The Bluetooth can be annoying sometimes needing a reselect of your phone for no apparent reason and the sunroof – who wants one, not me.
As expected, the GS-F is a hoot to drive with oodles of get-go readily available complemented by sharp dynamics. You can hook around corners at warp speed and jump hard on the picks with confidence.
Then, push a button and the GS-F becomes a sophisticated luxury cruiser.
On test it achieved the claimed 11.3-litres/100km thanks in part to the high tech engine that uses economy-boosting Atkinson cycle to save fuel when cruising. Goes back to `normal’ Otto cycle when you’re up it for the rent.
And in the looks department the GS-F nails it with a dominant spindle grille about as big as Lexus should ever go….
- Awesome engine performance
- Impressive eight speed auto
- Can be economical for what it is
- Sounds fantastic
- Crammed with luxury kit
- Superb audio
- Unexpected level of handling dexterity
- Comfortable over a long run
- Big boot
- Plenty of driver assist features
- Rear wheel drive feel
NOT SO MUCH
- Sunroof superfluous
- Space saver
- No recognition on the road
ENGINE: 5.0-litre petrol V8 351kW/530Nm
TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed auto
0-100KMH: 4.6 seconds
ALTERNATIVES: Mercedes-Benz E63AMG $210,000