Words: Kevin C. Limjoco
Pictures: Isabel N. Delos Reyes
The tach pegged at just over 7,200 rpm with the screaming Michelin Pilot Super Sport rear tires fighting for grip, accompanied by the combined deep cacophony of both mechanical and synthetic (in case the Active Sound Control bothers you, you can manually disable it) roars; these are not the expected characteristics of a fine, mid-size Lexus sedan! Sure, we have tested the Lexus GS-F before under mostly controlled environments but never this long through a variety of driving conditions over such distances, consuming three tanks of premium fuel, and enjoying every second behind the steering wheel. Once you get passed the higher sticker price of US$10,000.00 more than the RCF coupé, and the fact that it carries about 80 pounds more weight over a 4.7-inch longer wheelbase, you may come to the realization, like we did, that the GS-F is actually a better and more well-rounded performance car. With a more balanced chassis, along with the trick standard selectable three-stage rear torque-vectoring differential, the GS-F attacks the corners at a more aggressive pace and at even better angles without compromising the ride comfort. I expected the GS-F to have adaptive suspension; instead, it uses straightforward non-adjustable ZF Sachs dampers that function admirably despite the sporting demeanor and aggressive rolling stock.
The RC-F, though still a great and entertaining coupé, feels unnecessarily big and even lumbering while the GS-F drives like it was purpose-built. The GS-F reminds me a lot of the old IS-F in the way it looks, the way it sounds, and even the way it feels and interacts with the driver. However, the larger GS-F is exponentially better in every respect. The extra ballast is effectively dispatched by the same basic 2UR-GSE powerplant that motivated the old IS-F, which generated 417 bhp @ 6,600 rpm and 373 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm with a 11.8:1 compression ratio, but has now been re-engineered for the RC-F, GS-F and upcoming RC500 with a higher 12.3:1 compression ratio that delivers 50 bhp and 18 lb-ft more torque over a wider 4,800 to 5,600 rpm curve. The upcoming LC500 coupé will actually have a touch more power at 471 bhp through different intake and exhaust systems combined supposedly with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Compared to its direct force-fed Teutonic competition, on paper, the GS-F looks deficient with the BMW M5 making 560 bhp and the Mercedes-Benz E63S making 577 bhp, both at 1,000 less revs on the tach. The torque figures tell an even bleaker story with the Germans making way more over a much wider powerband but keep in mind that depending on selected trim levels, both these super sedans could also easily cost over US$20,000.00 more, drink way more fuel while also weighing 300 to over 400 pounds more, too. You really have to experience the GS-F to appreciate how good it really is notwithstanding the more modest performance figures. Its everyday functionality with its lusty, free-revving power delivery will win you over. I feel, short of the LFA supercar, the sleeper GS-F is currently the very best handling, braking, and accelerating car that Lexus builds.
I may not be completely sold on how the Lexus GS-F looks on the outside even with the invigorating Ultrasonic Blue Mica paint, brilliant LED lighting, excellent Brembo® brakes, and handsome, forged 19-inch mixed alloys, but the interior, with its subtle F-Spec model-specific improvements combined with the 835-watt 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system is at Lexus’ current finest. Still an authentic Lexus throughout, the GS-F is a rewarding luxury sedan with deep sporting abilities that can be shared with three happily secured and entertained adult passengers.
Specification – 2017 Lexus GS-F
Engine: V8, 4969 cc, dohc 32V, Atkinson-capable, Direct Injection, Dual-VVT-i, 8-speed AT
Max power: 470 bhp @ 7100 rpm
Max torque: 391 lb ft @ 4800-5600 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 4.6 sec.
Top Speed: 274 km/h (171 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 16 mpg City & 24 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 87,470.00
C! RATING 10/10
+Master stroke of attainable high performance, form and function, still luxurious
-Painful price tag