Toyota’s prestige division is continuing to expand its range of F Sport variants that are pitched as sportier-looking and more dynamically focused models in a particular Lexus range.
The F Sport models are effectively Lexus’s answer to M Sport and AMG packages offered respectively by BMW and Mercedes, bringing dynamic and visual upgrades such as modified suspension, quicker steering and body kits.
The badge was first introduced on the IS350 in late 2010 locally and has become the dominant trim level of three offered, accounting for 58 per cent of the 3.5-litre V6-powered sedan’s sales.
F Sport is also proving to be a success on the Lexus CT200h hatchback, with the sportier variant comprising more than a third of sales.
The new Lexus GS range launched this year also includes F Sport variants, and the badge will move to the Lexus RX SUV in June as the company heads towards a total of 11 F Sport models by the end of the year. F Sport versions of the IS250C convertible and LS limo will be among that number.
Lexus Australia boss Tony Cramb says the models prove there’s clear demand for more exciting luxury cars.
“The public has obviously been waiting for these [sportier Lexus] vehicles that engage the driver and have a slightly more sporty appearance and handling characteristic,” says Cramb.
“It really does seem to resonate with the customer base. And there will be more to come.”
The F signifies Fuji Speedway, the famous Japanese racetrack where Lexus has been honing its performance models such as the BMW M3-rivalling Lexus IS F – the first Lexus to wear the F badge – and the LFA supercar.
Lexus has yet to confirm whether it will build the Lexus LF-LC concept, its striking sports coupe from the 2012 Detroit motor show, saying its chances of production are “50-50” at the moment.
A Lexus GS F is anticipated in the near future to give the Japanese luxury brand a direct rival for the Audi RS6, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
In the Lexus performance pyramid, the GS F will join the IS F as the filling in a sandwich topped by the LFA with the F Sport models underneath.