Reports of its coming stretch right back into the previous generation, but at long last it exists, and now it is upon us: the 2016 Lexus GS F performance sedan is finally on sale in Australia.
For nearly a decade, there has been talk of a larger companion to the IS F sedan. And while that badge no longer exists, the V8-powered GS F enters as the four-door performance offering of choice for those that prefer a Japanese flavour - and a more affordable entry price than the average in this segment.
Those focussed on the latter point will find the sort of saving that puts a second premium car in your driveway for the difference: priced from $148,800 plus on-road costs, the GS F is $53,750 more affordable than the cheapest of the two BMW M5 models and a full $102,623 kinder than the ‘regular’ one.
And, although it will soon be superseded by an all-new model, the Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG S would have liberated an additional $101,100 from your spendings account.
Of course, all bar the S6 are more powerful offerings. The M5 packs a 423kW/680Nm turbo 4.4-litre V8 (412kW in the cheaper ‘Pure’) and the E 63 S has a 430kW/800Nm turbo 5.5 V8, while the RS6 and RS7 siblings both get the same 412kW/700Nm turbo 4.0 V8. Only the S6 hides a less impressive hand with its pricey poker face, its 4.0-litre V8 offering 331kW and 550Nm.
Go for the GS F and you’ll get the same big 2UR-GSE quad cam 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 that features in the RC F coupe, belting out 351kW at 7100rpm and 530Nm of torque between 4800 and 5600rpm.
With power sent to the rear wheels through an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission and a torque vectoring differential, the GS F claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 270km/h. Fuel consumption is listed at 11.3 L/100km on the combined cycle.
The big 5.0 V8 boasts lightweight forged connecting rods, titanium intake and exhaust valves, Otto and high-expansion Atkinson cycles both, and three driving modes are on offer: standard, slalom and track.
The GS F of course also features a specially tuned chassis, to the point that beneath the skin this hero Lexus is more closely related to the RC F (itself derived in part from the GS) than the regular sedans on which it is based.
Torsional rigidity is increased by around 20 per cent through new bracing front and back, and new mounts for the multilink rear suspension. The double wishbone front suspension also gets lightweight forged upper and lower aluminium control arms.
The whole package rides on 19-inch forged alloy wheels, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres measuring 255/35R19 at the front and 275/35R19 out back.
On the styling front, the GS F is based on the facelifted 2016 GS range, which gets new-look headlights, a new grille and bumper, and new tail lamps. In GS F form, there’s also flared guards, a tall gill vent behind the front wheels a stacked exhaust design at the rear - both coming as a nod to some of the IS F’s more memorable tweaks.
Two barely separated trim grades are featured for the GS F, but both are equipped with the following:
- 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre V8 engine
- eight-speed transmission
- four-mode drive mode select system
- Active Sound Control system
- SACHS shock absorbers
- Sport Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)
- Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD)
- 19-inch forged alloy wheels
- Brembo brakes with orange callipers
- LED headlamps
- etched aluminium ornamentation
- 12.3-inch high definition display screen
- 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system
- three-zone climate control
- colour head up display (HUD)
- heated front seats
- heated leather-accented steering wheel
- power rear sunshade
- smart key card
- 10 SRS airbags
- Lexus Safety System+ (includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Active Cruise Control System (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Adaptive High-beam System (AHS))
Options include high-grade polished versions of the 19-inch wheels at $2500, and carbon-fibre interior trim, also at $2500.
The GS F is available with four interior seat trims: one heated Alcantara option for the regular model and three heated and cooled semi-aniline leather-accented trims (available in red, black and Moonstone light grey) for the ‘high grade’ model.