The 2019 Lexus GS F has been part of our long-term fleet for around four months now, clocking up nearly 2000 kilometres.
It’s also been driven by more than a few colleagues, and it's always the same story when they drop it back: “How much do you think I could get one of these for?”.
So, here are five things that we either like or dislike about this car after commuting with it, taking weekend trips, and doing school pick-ups and sports events.
1. Honestly, the more time you spend behind the wheel of this buffed-up Lexus four-door, the more you settle in and realise just how easy it is to live with as a daily.
It simply delivers an 8-plus/10 score on so many fronts, from comfort, performance, exhaust note, stance, space and equipment. It’s also got plenty of street cred if the number of head-turning looks is anything to go by, as well as being a fun car to drive.
And, it does so while providing total peace of mind with Lexus’s envious reputation for top-shelf build quality and reliability.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d kill for the latest BMW M5 Competition, because even with its huge reserves of power and torque, it’s still totally liveable as a daily driver. But, it's nearly $100,000 more than the Lexus, and that folks is a deal-breaker for so many buyers.
As a true daily, one of the highlights of the GS F has to be those highly bolstered sports seats upholstered in ultra-soft Nappa leather.
The balance between bolster and cushioning is almost perfect, and you’re sitting nice and low, too – to the point where long drives such as Sydney to Melbourne seem to just fly by without any aches or pains.
2. My favourite part of the day is when you first hit the start button and awaken that 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8, which snarls into life before settling into a far too subtle burble. To get the sound back, you need to dial up Sport mode and drop the windows, otherwise it’s a tragic waste of acoustic bliss.
The problem with that is, though, the throttle becomes a bit too trigger happy (worse still in Sport+) for the everyday commute. Why isn’t there an exhaust button like so many performance cars are equipped with today?
After all, I believe this is the very last of the naturally aspirated V8 sedans on the planet and we want to enjoy that – to the bleeding max.
3. And, as I’ve said so many times before, it’s not a massively powerful unit compared with its barnstorming twin-turbo German rivals, but what it does have is 100 per cent exploitable. That's every kilowatt and Newton-metre without it ever overwhelming the chassis, which is why we had so much fun in Japan chasing down superbikes at the Hakone Skyline.
It’s because the performance is so evenly matched to the car’s handling and ride assets – remembering this is a rear-wheel-drive car, not all-wheel drive as those rivals now are. Although, I’d argue there’s as much mechanical grip in the dry as those all-wheel-drive competitors.
4. And that’s the thing with the GS F: unless you’ve experienced a Lexus track day or been lucky enough to drive one of these on one of the world’s celebrated mountain passes, you’re never going to know the extent of its handling prowess, and thus realise just how well Lexus's engineers have balanced the front and rear of the car – even when you’re punching it in the bends.
That’s where this thing will surprise even the most ardent enthusiast.
Sometimes, even on the way home, I’ll come across a deserted string of bends, dial up Sport+ and give it the beans just to remind myself what this thing is truly capable of, as well as putting a big smile on my face, of course.
5. If anyone says they don’t mind this god-awful infotainment system in the GS F, they’re flat-out lying or they work for Lexus. It’s bloody dreadful and something you’d like to forget, or even better yet rip out and replace with an aftermarket unit.
It’s unintuitive and a pain in the backside. And please, Lexus, if you’re not going to get rid of it, at least give us Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And soon.
Lexus GS F 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8
Kilometres since previous report: 1500km
Fuel Consumption:(indicated) 16.5L/100km