REVIEW: 2016 Lexus GS F – Fast and fun, yet comfortable and luxurious

 Lexus is expanding its midsize luxury portfolio with the addition of the fire-breathing, top-performing GS F.

If you are looking for comfort and luxury wrapped around a serious sports machine, the GS F may be your answer.

While it’s not as track ready as some of its rivals, such as the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E 63 S, and Cadillac CTS-V, the GS F makes up for it with a reasonable price and reputation for reliability.

The 2016 is the first year Lexus has offered the GS F. This year the entire GS range receives a facelift with a more aggressive style.

Design

Historically, Lexus sedans were criticized for being too conservative – but not anymore. The current generation GS, with its bold styling, has been making headlines when it comes to exterior designs.

Featuring the next evolution of Lexus’ L-Finesse design language, the GS F’s massive front grille immediately grabs your attention. It sits between two highly sculpted and distinctive headlights. There are still aggressive lines up front, like last year’s GS, but the awkward surfaces have been smoothed for the facelift.

The side profile hasn’t changed, and still boasts smooth, curvy lines with a tear-drop shape highlighted by GS F’s standard 19-inch wheels. Rich and varied paint options enhance the sporty and in-your-face themes.

The carbon fibre spoiler that rests on the trunk lid and stacked quad exhaust outlets below remind you this is no ordinary car.  Everything about the GS F gives it a presence that raises your pulse far more than any Lexus from
the past.

Despite its edgy exterior, the cabin is classic Lexus with all the comfort and technology expected from a luxury sedan.

The high-quality materials look good and have a solid feel throughout.

Performance

While the GS F has a modern, contemporary look, Lexus took a more traditional approach under the hood. Most car makers are switching to smaller displacement engines boosted by turbochargers, but the GS F features a proven 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V-8.

The big V-8 is a joy to drive and because of it, the GS F offers a unique appeal that is a rarity in today’s marketplace. And, thanks to its 467 horsepower and 389 foot-pounds of torque, it’s mighty fast too, sprinting to 100 kilometres/hour in just 4.6 seconds.

However, the GS F is not just fast in a straight line. Lexus has reworked the suspension setup of the standard GS to give the GS F its own character. You never forget about the sheer size of the GS F, though, but the body roll is subdued and contained.
Lexus gave the GS F a new traction control and electronic stability program. This helps it achieve maximum grip throughout the corner by varying the amount of power sent to the two rear-drive wheels.

A dynamic drive system offers four different drive settings. The eight-speed automatic transmission feels like a sequential manual when in Sport Plus mode, with lightning quick gear changes while using the steering wheel-mounted shifters. The other settings, Eco, Normal and Sport, also alter throttle response and steering weight.

Powered by a big V-8, it’s not surprising that the GS F doesn’t have the best fuel economy. Also, keep in mind it will be difficult to match Lexus’ claimed 12.5 litres/100 kilometre combined rating if you happen to run into heavy traffic or fancy a spirited run.

About the only downside is that the ride can be surprisingly firm and stiff, to the point where you would likely not drive this vehicle too often in the stiffest suspension mode.

Environment

As mentioned, the cabin of the GS F is highly comfortable and allows you to drive for hours without getting tired or bored. The standard 17-speaker premium audio system helps pass the time.

Lexus has earned a reputation for making some of the most luxurious interiors in the industry, and the GS F doesn’t disappoint. The front seats hold you firmly and the thick leather steering wheel feels great in hand.

Thanks to its fairly large body, the GS F is quite spacious inside, too. There is plenty of room for rear-seat passengers and it still offers 14 cubic feet of cargo space. One of the main attractions of the GS F is its mix of sports car-like performance with the practicality of a sedan.

The GS F receives some exclusive technology features that are advanced and ahead of the curve. The easy-to-read gauge cluster has different themes depending on drive mode, and there are some interesting displays including G-force meter and lap timer.

A 12.3-inch high-resolution colour display works in conjunction with second generation of Lexus’ Remote Touch Interface. The system is quite comprehensive, but it’s still awkward in general to use.

Features

Prices for the Lexus GS F start at $95,000.

As the GS F is the top of the GS range, it comes with all equipment as standard. Highlights include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate control, voice recognition controls, navigation, head-up display, back-up camera, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, heated exterior mirrors, and a moonroof. Fuel efficiency numbers (l/100 km) are 14.9 city and 9.7 highway.

Thumbs up

The Lexus GS F can compete with the world’s best while still providing a beautiful interior and comfortable ride.

Thumbs down

However, if you are looking for the most performance-oriented vehicle in this class, the GS F is not as aggressive as other competitors.

The ride can be harsh.

The bottom line

The extra performance of the GS F doesn’t take away from what Lexus does best, and therefore it should appeal to the brand’s loyal fans as well as draw in new ones.

Source: http://www.nsnews.com/living/auto/review-2016-lexus-gs-f-fast-and-fun-yet-comfortable-and-luxurious-1.2307445#sthash.m2lFBttW.dpuf

Jul 25th, 2016