Lexus GS F saloon (2016-2018)
"The Lexus GS F loses out to more advanced rivals in terms of outright speed, but its old-school blend of speed, comfort and charm still appeal"
- Luxurious interior
- Very comfortable
- Very fast
- Pretty poor economy
- Rivals technologically superior and quicker
The Lexus GS F is the high-performance version of the more sedate Lexus GS saloon. It competes with similarly fast executive saloons like the BMW M5, Audi RS6 and Mercedes E63 AMG. While it can’t quite match the performance or fuel economy of these cars, it still manages to stand out thanks to its engine.
Most carmakers these days fit their performance-orientated cars with smaller engines boosted by turbocharging, but Lexus takes a more traditional approach. The GS F features an old-school large 5.0-litre V8 that produces 467bhp and gives the car a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds.
The fast Lexus can’t quite match the speed and power of the BMW M5, Audi RS6 or Mercedes E63 AMG, but that big V8 engine and luxurious cabin give it a unique appeal – although its emissions and fuel consumption aren’t great.
If you’re after V8 performance and not too worried about interior ambience and luxury, the Vauxhall VXR8 is almost £20,000 cheaper – although its residual values are likely to be far poorer than the GS F’s.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Lexus GS F has a large, powerful 5.0-litre V8 engine, so its fuel economy figure of 25.2mpg shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise – although the Audi RS6 offers greater performance and manages nearly 30mpg. It’ll also be a very difficult to achieve the GS F’s claimed fuel economy in reality: getting stuck in traffic or driving the car with any kind of enthusiasm is likely to see the figure plummet. The GS F’s CO2 emissions stand at 260g/km, meaning the car falls into the top tax bracket and will cost £505 a year as a result.
Engines, drive & performance
The GS F is very quick, managing 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds. It’s not just fast in a straight line, though – Lexus has reworked the setup of the standard GS on which the GS F is based to improve the way it performs in corners, and the results are impressive. However, its old-fashioned automatic gearbox can be slow to change down when you accelerate, for example when overtaking. A different rear axle to the standard car is one of the most important changes, allowing the car to achieve maximum grip throughout an entire corner by varying the amount of power sent to the two driven rear wheels.
The GS F also has a dynamic drive system, offering four different settings – Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ – allowing you to incrementally sharpen throttle response, increase steering weight and reduce the effect of the car’s traction control and electronic stability program. This system is best left in Normal mode, which offers a nice blend of comfort and sharpness. The car’s semi-automatic gearbox can also be adjusted to make it quicker or more relaxed, depending on how you want to drive.
Adjustable Adaptive Variable Suspension is fitted as standard, which allow the driver to make the drive more comfortable or more racy at the flick of a switch. It uses sensors to analyse steering, speed and G-forces and can adjust the suspension through 30 levels. Impresssive stuff.
The sound of the big V8 engine is glorious and addictive, particularly above 4,000rpm, and the car’s responses feel very natural. However, you never lose a sense of its sheer size and weight. For ultimate pace and driver involvement, the BMW M5 has the GS F beaten, too.
Interior & comfort
Lexus has a deserved reputation for making some of the most luxurious interiors on the car market and the GS F doesn’t disappoint – there are more stylish and modern cabins around, but for plush comfort, the GS F is hard to beat. The seats are comfortable while holding you in place and the thick leather steering wheel is a pleasure to use.
The materials used around the cabin look good and feel solid and high-quality: suede-effect Alcantara and sporty trim inserts blend well with the soft leather and premium cabin materials we’ve come to expect from Lexus. The car’s dynamic drive system means it’s able to strike a balance between a firm ride (better for cornering) and a softer ride (better for comfort).
The GS F is spacious inside too, with plenty of room for rear seat passengers. Lexus has a deserved reputation for making some of the most luxurious interiors on the car market and the GS F doesn’t disappoint – there are more stylish and modern cabins around, but for plush comfort, the GS F is hard to beat. The seats are comfortable while holding you in place and the thick leather steering wheel is a pleasure to use.
The materials used around the cabin look good and feel solid and high-quality: suede-effect Alcantara and sporty trim inserts blend well with the soft leather and premium cabin materials we’ve come to expect from Lexus. The car’s dynamic drive system means it’s able to strike a balance between a firm ride (better for cornering) and a softer ride (better for comfort).The GS F is spacious inside too, with plenty of room for rear seat passengers.
Practicality & boot space
Just like the standard GS, the GS F offers 480 litres of boot space and plenty of storage and room for passengers inside. One of the main attractions of a car like the GS F is that you get sports-car performance with the practicality offered by a regular saloon body.
Reliability & safety
Lexus as a brand is very popular with its owners – in fact it came top in our 2015 Driver Power manufacturer rankings. It finished first in the seat comfort and in-car technology categories, but more importantly it was also a winner in the build quality and reliability charts. For that reason, we expect the GS F to prove very reliable. It’s also worth noting that the standard GS came an impressive 20th out of 200 cars in our 2015 Driver Power cars chart, ranking 12th and 25th for build quality and reliability respectively.
Price, value for money & options
At £70,000, the Lexus GS F is expensive, but it does at least come with plenty of equipment. The only options available on the car are a sunroof and an upgraded Mark Levinson stereo; all the other bells and whistles you could really want come as standard, so it’s definitely worthy of the ‘luxury saloon’ tag.