Spain’s former Grand Prix Circuit, Jarama, just outside Madrid, has played host to the international dynamic launch of the all-new 2016 Lexus GS F, which will arrive in Australia in February.
The GS F makes its presence known with an unmistakeably tougher stance with more attitude than its less powerful siblings. There’s a huge front grille that stretches from the bonnet to the extra-low carbonfibre splitter with additional air intakes feeding the massive Brembo brakes.
Aerodynamics are also said to play a key role in the GS F’s overall shape. It’s longer, wider and sits 15mm lower to the ground than regular GS models. The more aggressive look is highlighted by flared guards and a tasty set of forged alloy wheels shod with low-profile Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (255/35-front, 275/35 rear). Around back, there’s a carbonfibre rear spoiler and the F brand’s trademark quad exhaust tips.
Underneath, the GS F gets specially designed undertrays below the engine and midsection of the car, which direct cooling air toward the rear differential.
Based on the updated fourth-generation GS that's due to hit Australian shores in December, the GS F is armed with the same 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine found in the RC F, only this version is dynamically balanced after assembly.
Lexus claims the GS F will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, while its top speed is listed at 270km/h.
Also carried over from the Lexus coupe are the Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive setup with a torque vectoring differential fitted as standard. The system is designed to improve the car’s dynamic performance by controlling rear-wheel torque distribution during cornering. Drivers can choose between several settings: Standard, Slalom and Track for optimum performance depending on driving conditions at the time.
Importantly, the engine note has been enhanced for the GS F with the inclusion of the new Active Sound Control (ASC), which electronically synthesises the engine sound and exhaust note in response to throttle pressure and paddleshifts. The sounds are then piped into the cabin through the speakers: front and rear speakers operate together in Sports S+ mode, while the rears operate during Sports S mode. The system is inert when driving in Normal and Eco modes.
Additionally, extra baffling is also employed to further enhance the V8 burble, utilising stainless steel wool, as well as glass wool to achieve a deeper exhaust note.
The GS F’s chassis tuning is more closely related to the RC F than the standard GS, particularly when it comes to suspension geometry. Torsional rigidity has been increased by around 20 per cent over the regular models through a host of changes including front and rear body bracing and newly developed mounts for the rear suspension.
While there is no adaptive damper option, the GS F employs a sophisticated double wishbone front suspension with lightweight forged upper and lower aluminium control arms, and a multi-link system for the rear.
The GS F’s electric power-assisted steering system has been calibrated for more a more dynamic feel than the standard GS model, though the steering ratio remains the same.
Inside, the GS F benefits from the regular model’s mid-life revision (the current generation launched in 2012) including a less cluttered design with a more driver-centric cockpit and improved functionality.
Taking centre stage is still the ultra-wide 12.3-inch infotainment screen with high-resolution and high-colour definition graphics for all functions. There’s a large TFT tachometer in front of the driver, with speedometer to the right and information display to the left.
There’s also an extensive inventory of creature comforts for Australian-delivered GS Fs including a 17-speaker 835-watt Mark Levinson sound system.
Materials are especially high-grade, with Alcantara covering much of the dash (reducing windscreen glare), centre console bin and some door trim.
Australian buyers can also choose between carbonfibre and aluminium accents, as well as semi-aniline leather-accented or Alcantara sports seat trim. Interior colour schemes include Flare Red, Moonstone and black.
As the range-topping model, the GS F also receives a suite of active and passive safety kit including 10 airbags, active cruise control, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist and adaptive high beam.
Additionally, there’s a tyre pressure warning system, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, back guide monitor and Drive Start Control, which, when sensing an abnormal shift while accelerating will reduce power output, helping to avoid a collision.
Lexus is positioning the GS F well under rivals such as the twin-turbo 423kW/680Nm BMW M5 and 430kW/800Nm Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S and more in-line with models such as the 331kW/550Nm Audi S6.
The updated GS model will arrive in December, while the GS F is expected to hit showroom floors in February 2016, with pricing expected to be between $150,000 and $160,000 plus on road costs.