Goes So Fast: The 2016 Lexus GS-F

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus GS-F
The 2016 Lexus GS-F.
No, of course that is not what GS-F stands for.  What we have here is essentially the Lexus GS sedan, which we have reviewed many times as the GS 350, given the full Lexus F Performance, as opposed to F SPORT, treatment.  F SPORT is a package that, depending on the Lexus model it is applied to, brings cosmetic enhancements and/or refinements and improvements to the car's handling capabilities.

F Performance brings power.  More than you'll find in any other non-F Perfromance Lexus.

Rear 3/4 vies of 2016 Lexus GS-F
2016 Lexus GS-F.
A GS350, even in F SPORT trim, has a 3.5-liter, 306 horsepower V6 under the hood.  The GS-F exchanges that for a 5-liter 32-valve V8 which makes 467 horsepower.  Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the all-natural V8---no turbo, no supercharger---is capable of going from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds and doing the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds.  That is a number---along with the EPA estimate of 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway---that would shame most 60s-era muscle cars, but it is actually a shade slower than some luxury sedans stuffed with supercharged and turbocharged engines that can knock a second off of each number with 550, 600 or more horsepower under their hoods.

And so, Lexus plays to its strength.  Luxury.

The objective of the GS-F is to create a car that is blisteringly fast in its own right, without punishing the driver with a race-car ride or creating a car so powerful as to be treacherous. And so, the rest of what makes this GS a GS-F is involved in making all that power useful and not a threat to life and property:  A dual-wishbone multi-link suspension with Sachs-sourced shock absorbers, Brembo ventilated disc brakes with high-friction pads and a torque-vectoring differential.

Interior view of 2016 Lexus GS-F
2016 Lexus GS-F interior.
Inside, the GS-F interior trim says sport and business as much as luxury, with smooth leather-trimmed F Spec sport seats (10-way power adjustable for the driver, 8-way for the passenger), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, water-repellent front door window glass, Alcantara trim for the doors, armrest and upper instrument panel, F exclusive scuff plates and sport pedals, rain-sensing automatic wipers, a power tilt and slide moonroof, auto-dimming inside and outside rear-view mirrors, power folding exterior mirrors, a 12.3-inch color screen for navigation and audio, the Lexus Enform app suite, a single CD/DVD player, a color heads-up display and carpeted floormats.

The price for the power and the features:  $84,440.  Our test vehicle had only two options, an upgraded 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system, which was well worth the additional $1,380 expense, and a carpeted trunk mat for $105.  With $950 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $86,875.

Whether the GS-F is for you depends on your pocketbook and your assessment of whether Lexus has the balance of power, predictability and luxury right.   But one thing is clear:  Those who rule Lexus out as anything other than a maker of cushy luxury cars are working from an old script.