Lexus GS among world’s fastest sedansNov 1th, 2016
At a quick glance, it’s not easy to tell that this car is anything special. It could be the Lexus anyone’s grandmother drives to the hair salon.
But look closer, and you’ll see a few carefully chosen bits that most grandmothers would consider garish — the orange brake calipers, the carbon fiber rear spoiler and the slightly larger vent openings to cool those huge brakes.
That’s when you realize this isn’t an ordinary Lexus GS. It’s the much rarer and faster GS F, a high-performance car designed to compete with some of the best sports sedans around the globe, all without drawing undue attention to itself.
If Lexus wanted to make the GS F look flashier, more like the head-turning but controversial RC F, it’s certainly got the mechanical credentials to back it up. A 5.0-liter V8 that revs to a glorious 7,300-RPM redline would be a perfect match for a more exotic body.
I like the fact that Lexus took the tasteful road, though, and made this car one of the greatest “sleepers” I’ve ever driven. The super-fast sedans it competes with — the Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG — all like to flaunt their quickness with bulging fenders and racier styling.
The GS F lets its performance grab the attention.
Its engine makes 467 horsepower and does so without a turbocharger or supercharger. It’s naturally aspirated, which is becoming more unusual with each passing year as performance cars are increasingly switching to forced induction.
There’s an honesty to the way a big, high-revving V8 sounds and feels that you just can’t replicate in any other engine. I like the fact that Lexus is taking somewhat of an old-school approach with this powerplant.
Granted, the GS F does augment the sound from under the hood with Active Sound Control in the cabin. It uses electronics to make the engine sound even better, with the front speakers emphasizing the whirr of the air intake and the back speakers putting out a low drone like the exhaust note that rises and falls with the RPMs.
How does it drive? Of course it’s mind-blowingly fast thanks to that much power on tap, combined with a great sport-turned suspension and monster brakes. But beyond the unbridled speed, my biggest surprise is just how refined it feels. The GS F in Sport+ mode isn’t as raw as the CTS-V I drove a few months ago, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you prefer in this type of car.
I love the digital display that shows you where torque is being split to the rear wheels. That’s a cool touch. And I like all the carbon fiber trim and especially those orange brake calipers, a $300 option on my test car.
The one thing I wish it had was an adjustable suspension. You can change drive modes that make it shift faster, hold gear longer and sound more aggressive in the cabin, but you can’t actually change the suspension rates and dial in the amount of body roll like some of its competitors allow.
How much does all this cost? The GS F starts around $84,000, and I’ll admit that’s a lot of money. But it’s almost exactly the same price as the CTS-V and $10,000 less than the M5.
It’s among the fastest sedans on the planet, and it just happens to come with Lexus’ bulletproof reputation at no extra charge.